Will California ‘Meet the Moment’ on Homelessness? – GV Wire

Will California ‘Meet the Moment’ on Homelessness? – GV Wire

California Governor Gavin Newsom likes — maybe an excessive amount of — the phrase “meet the moment.”

Dan Walters with a serious expression

Dan Walters



It roughly interprets to a willingness to deal with urgent points and, in fact, he makes use of it largely to explain his willpower.

So, one may ask, are Newsom, the Legislature, and metropolis and county officers actually able to cope with California’s worst homelessness epidemic as a substitute of giving its cities a 3rd-world ambiance? ?

Whether or not Newsom intends to pursue his political profession past the state, he is aware of his gritty city imagery undermines his oft-expressed characterization of California as a shining mannequin of progressive governance.

Despite the billions spent, 200 thousand nonetheless homeless in the state

The stark actuality is that regardless of billions of federal, state and native taxpayer {dollars} being spent on packages geared toward defending and enhancing the root causes of homelessness, the variety of homeless folks on the streets, sidewalks and parks of California’s cities continues to develop and at the very least approaching 200,000.

Repeatedly, California voters disgusted by filth and/or moved by compassion inform pollsters that homelessness is a disaster that politicians should deal with. Los Angeles voters simply elected a mayor, Karen Bass, on her promise to wash up the metropolis and permitted a brand new actual property transaction tax that might increase lots of of tens of millions of {dollars} to make it occur. A newly elected Newsom says that will likely be the prime precedence of his second time period.

The specifics of what they or different political figures may do are murky, as there’s little or no consensus on which approaches could be handiest and the traces of accountability between totally different ranges of presidency are equally blurred. One apparent drawback is that whereas homelessness is extra seen inside cities, well being and welfare packages are largely administered by counties, utilizing state and federal funds.

Cities and counties battle homelessness

This battle is most seen in Sacramento, the state capital, the place metropolis and county officers have repeatedly squabbled over who’s in cost. Sacramento metropolis voters simply permitted a brand new legislation that bans homeless tenting on public property — however provided that the metropolis and county can agree on new shelters or encampments.

It’s one among a collection of recent legal guidelines handed by voters or native officers to restrict the place the homeless can camp. Newsom, in the meantime, is cracking down on camps alongside state-owned roads.

The intergovernmental rift got here to the fore shortly earlier than the election when Newsom rejected all plans to scale back homelessness put ahead by native officers who had been making an attempt to qualify for a brand new pot of state cash.

He complained that the plans would solely require a 2% drop in homelessness, including, “Everyone needs to do better – cities, counties and the state included. We’re all in this together.”

Coordinated motion or extra finger pointing?

He was much more emphatic in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, saying, “Put rattling outcomes. … It’s a disaster. Act like her. Everyone will get up. I’m not the mayor. Do you need me to come back in? I’ll do the work. I’ll do it. Fortunately. I’ve gone to the cities to wash up the camps. Did anybody get the trace? If somebody did that to me once I was mayor, I’d be like, “OK, I get it.”

Later, he met with a delegation of native officers and so they got here out with guarantees to turn out to be extra aggressive in coping with the concern. However, native officers are nonetheless reluctant to decide to packages with out ensures of lengthy-time period monetary assist.

California officers could also be prepared for a serious campaign in opposition to homelessness. But will it reply to the second, or will it proceed to throw cash at the drawback – a bit of right here, a bit of there – with out coordinated and sustained motion, whereas distress, human distress and political finger-pointing proceed?

About the Author

Dan Walters has been a journalist for almost 60 years, spending all however just a few years working for California newspapers. He started his skilled profession in 1960, at the age of 16, at the Humboldt Times. For extra columns from Walters, go to tranquilizers.org/commentary.

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