California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at 2-1-1 San Diego / Photo by Megan Wood

This post originally appeared in the Feb. 21 Sacramento Report. Get the Sacramento Report delivered to your inbox.

Gov. Gavin Newsom delivered his State of the State speech last week, and took the unusual step of devoting most of the address to homelessness.

“Every day, the California Dream is dimmed by the wrenching reality of families, children and seniors living unfed on a concrete bed,” Newsom said.

Senate President Pro Tem walked a fine line between praising Newsom’s attention and urgency on the issue and being wary of any solutions that might bypass local governments.

“Coming out of local government, I believe we need to respect local control, but with that control must also come responsibility from local officials to actually provide services and build housing. And, at every level of government, we need to provide more of the certainty that will enable more affordable housing units to be built,” Atkins said in a statement. “Clearly, with all the challenges involved, this is not a time for the Legislature to be either a rubber stamp or a bottleneck.”

Republicans walked their own line: They too offered tepid praise of Newsom while emphasizing that money spent to address homelessness must come with strict accountability measures and chiding the governor that homelessness has worsened under Democratic rule.

“What Governor Newsom presented today was another expensive vision, but, before he proposes more, where did last year’s $1.2 billion go, and when can Californians expect to see results?” Sen. Brian Jones wrote in a statement.

“The governor is right when he says it is disgraceful that the state is failing to address homelessness and noted many contributing factors to the crisis. Those factors combined with recent soft-on-crime measures and more than nine years of one-party control of state government have led us to where we are today,” said Sen. Pat Bates. “However, I look forward to working with the governor on solutions that will provide shelter and services to those in need and making our streets cleaner and safer.”

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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