A valley city getting what some are calling “misplaced” criticism from Governor Gavin Newsom

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“It’s a crisis folks, we all need to step up.” 

Governor Gavin Newsom speaking last week, about what he says could be the most “overwhelming challenge” facing the state: affordable housing.

“61 percent of young adults in California said, they can’t afford to live here,” Newsom said during his State of the State.

The governor also promising accountability for cities that don’t provide more affordable housing.

“Some cities, are trying, like Clovis,” Newsom said. 

We spoke with Clovis City Manager Luke Serpa.

“It was actually somewhat relieving to hear the governor say, ‘We’re trying,’ because at least he recognizes the efforts,” Serpa said.

According to Serpa, the city has taken action with more high-density zoning, but points out, the city’s approved thousands of new homes in the past five years. 

“If every city in California was building houses, as many houses proportionally as Clovis, we wouldn’t have a housing shortage in our state,” Serpa said.

Serpa says Clovis is also providing affordable housing in other ways; like working with Habitat for Humanity, affordable senior housing and the Clovis Cottage Home program.

“It’s kind of a one-size-fits-all from the state, and I understand, they’ve got 450 cities out there,” Serpa said. 

Republican State Assemblyman Jim Patterson says, the governor needs to be careful about jumping to conclusions.

“I hope the more he gets to know the Clovis way of life, that he’ll recognize that instead of threatening Clovis, he should be turning to Clovis as a real example,” Patterson said. “Clovis has a low crime rate, they have a fantastic school system, they have a lot of very affordable housing.”

Serpa says, the city isn’t arguing, just trying to fix the problem.

“But this is one that, we’re doing a whole bunch of things right, and we’re doing this one thing wrong, and we got in trouble for it,” Serpa said. “But we’ll get it corrected.”

Several other valley cities are out of compliance, including smaller cities like Dos Palos.

Their city manager tells us, it may take two fiscal years to get back into compliance, because of the costs.

However Governor Newsom did say in his State of the State, monetary support will be available to help cities comply.

Reporting in Clovis, Megan Rupe.

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