FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – The campaign trail for the hotly contested recall election of California governor, Gavin Newsom is picking up speed.
On Wednesday, Fresno saw visits from both Newsom – and Republican rival and gubernatorial candidate John Cox.
Cox and Newsom highlighted their plans to help clean up California, and help those experiencing homelessness.
First to arrive in Fresno was Republican candidate John Cox, who highlighted his plan to combat homelessness – showcasing a giant ball of trash to symbolize what he said is the mess created by homelessness in California. Cox feels the state is wasting money providing housing – and not providing resources to help prevent homelessness.
Newsom joined a team of Caltrans workers to clean up a Highway 41 on-ramp, where the highway intersects with Herndon Avenue, to highlight a new $1 billion statewide cleanup plan called Clean California. Newsom says the plan would create thousands of jobs and prioritize positions for those exiting homelessness, at-risk youth, and formerly incarcerated people.
“Treatment first. The politicians are all about housing first,” Cox said.
Cox believes rigorous mental health and addiction treatment should be a top priority for those experiencing homelessness. While highlighting his new Clean California plan, Newsom responded to Cox’s stance on the issue of homelessness, saying California is putting billions of dollars into fighting the issue.
“The biggest investment in state history on homelessness was last year, $1 billion,” Newsom said. “This year we’re investing $12 billion. $3.5 billion to board and care homes for conservatorships, real strategies, real plans.”
Cox feels bolstering law enforcement and getting those experiencing homelessness into treatment is what the state needs.
“If we have to, we’ll have to create more conservatorships to force people to do this. The plan would force people into treatment as a last resort,” Cox said. “I mean let’s face it, a lot of the people that are on the streets are addicted to substances, they’re mentally ill.”
According to Newsom’s office, about $8 billion of the $12 billion proposed for combatting homelessness will go to Project Homekey this year, creating 46,000 new homeless housing units. Homekey is a program where the state awards grants to cities and counties to purchase motels to convert into affordable housing. Cox said he would do away with Homekey and invest in addiction and mental health treatment programs. Newsom stands by the success of Homekey.
“Homekey itself has created 6,000 housing units in 5 and a half months,” Newsom said. And we want to replicate that success.”
The recall election is set for Sept. 14. of this year.