California Governor Gavin Newsom recently encouraged homeless people from around the country to go to California to pursue “new beginnings.” The remarks came while Newsom was in Sonoma County to sign a $12 billion bill designed to tackle the state’s homelessness crisis. The bill is part of the governor’s “California Comeback” plan and aims to make homeownership attainable for low-income individuals and families.
The Blaze reports, while in Sonoma, Newsom was asked: “if he was concerned about California becoming a potential magnet for homeless people from other states?”
The governor responded, saying, “to the extent that people want to come here for new beginnings and all income levels, that’s part of the California dream.” He went on to say, “Californians have a responsibility to accommodate and enliven and inspire newcomers. The California dream is still alive and well.”
Newsom, who is facing a recall election in September, was slammed by Republican opponent Kevin Faulconer. Faulconer took to Twitter to voice his disapproval of the statements made by the governor, saying, “This is crazy. I have incredible compassion for homeless Californians. But no, we should not be encouraging homeless people from other parts of the country to move to California.”
This is crazy. I have incredible compassion for homeless Californians. But no, we should not be encouraging homeless people from other parts of the country to move to California. https://t.co/a5zfUcO0A1
— Kevin Faulconer (@Kevin_Faulconer) July 19, 2021
ABC 7 has reported that Faulconer wants to debate Newsom but believes the governor will not accept the challenge. Faulconer stated, “I’m absolutely challenging Gavin Newsom to stand up and try and defend his record. I’m happy to stand up and defend mine, and I think that’s the debate that Californians expect. I think that’s one that they deserve.”
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who has struggled to keep crime and homelessness at bay amid a $145 million cut to his budget, also discussed Newsom’s messaging on homelessness. He said, “As a private citizen, I support the recall” and went on to say, “When he invites the rest of the nation’s homeless to California, that is the death wish.”
As governor, Newsom has faced plenty of criticism for his handling of the pandemic, most famously his night out at The French Laundry after requiring Californians to stay home. But his misdeeds date back much further than covid-19. As mayor of San Francisco, he slept with one of his staffers’ wives and went into treatment for alcohol abuse. He also once said, “the vast majority” of homeless people in San Francisco came from Texas, which Politifact gave a “pants on fire” rating.
California has struggled with homelessness for many years. Three of the top five cities in the country with the most homelessness are in California, and in 2020 San Francisco saw twice as many overdose deaths as covid-19 deaths. More recently, the state has dealt with a sharp uptick in assaults and retail theft. However, mask mandates and vaccine incentives remain the highest priority for California politicians.