Embattled Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom this week invited homeless people from around the country to come pursue "new beginnings" in California, prompting criticism from one recall election opponent.
Gov. Newsom, who is set to face the recall election on Sept. 14, made the remarks while he was in Sonoma County on Monday to sign a $12 billion bill intended to combat rampant and growing homelessness in the state.
The bill, which is part of Newson's California Comeback Plan, aims to make homeownership more affordable by requiring that at least 20% of state-owned property be made available to lower-income and very low-income individuals and families.
According to Politico KABC-TV, during the visit, the governor was asked if he was concerned about California becoming a potential "magnet" for homeless people from other states given all the money it's spending to address the issue.
"To the extent that people want to come here for new beginnings and all income levels, that's part of the California dream," Newsom responded, going on to say that Californians "have a responsibility to accommodate and enliven and inspire" newcomers.
Newsom defended the plan by adding that "the California dream is still alive and well."
After hearing of Newsom's remarks, former Republican mayor of San Diego, Kevin Faulconer, took to social media to slam the plan.
"This is crazy," tweeted Faulconer, who is one of 40 candidates challenging Newsom for his gubernatorial seat. "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."
Faulconer told KABC-TV that he wants to debate Newsom publicly to force him to "stand up and try and defend his record."
California's homelessness crisis was already bad — in 2019, the Golden State's homelessness increase was higher than all other states combined — but the situation was made even worse during the pandemic.
Cities across the state experienced enormous rises in levels of homelessness as pandemic-related lockdowns slowed the economy. And the crisis was not subverted by liberal initiatives like one in San Francisco where free alcohol, marijuana, and cigarettes were provided to homeless people.
Newsom, for one, should be trying to make his state less attractive for homeless people. After all, the governor was attacked by a homeless person in Oakland last month.