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Gov. Newsom pushes for Prop 1 in San Francisco

Governor Gavin Newsom spent Monday morning in San Francisco talking with union workers and city leaders campaigning for Prop One.

It’s an issue he says he’s worked on for five years, but one that’s been decades in the making.

The governor joined other political heavyweights, including Mayor London Breed, to lobby voters on two of the city’s biggest issues — mental health, and homelessness.

“We need to stabilize people. We need to deal with the underlying reasons they’re out on the streets and sidewalks in the first place, the reasons they’re self-medicating with drug and alcohol addiction,” said Newsom. 

Proposition One would authorize the use of $6.38 billion in bonds.

That money would be used to build mental health treatment facilities. It would also build permanent and supportive housing for the homeless, and help homeless veterans.

“Our jails should not be a place for those struggling with mental illness, well unfortunately that’s all we have right now,” said Breed. “And we have a very very limited number of locked facilities of people who really need that kind of care and that kind of support.”

Newsom said it’s a problem Democrats have been trying to fix since Ronald Reagan was California’s governor.

“By the time Reagan left office in his second term as governor we were down to 7,500 beds,” said Newsom. “[We had] 37,000 beds in the 1960s, down to in the 70s, 7500 beds. Today, just over 5,500 beds.”

The governor says the proposition would create 11,000 new treatment beds. But the idea also has some fierce critics.

In fact, Monday’s press conference was briefly interrupted by a few people who were against it.

The California Senate Minority leader Brian Jones is among those urging voters to reject the plan.

“This state has a dismal track record of actually taking the bonds approved by the voters and spending them on the things that they’re supposed spending them on. Water infrastructure, high-speed rail, are just a few of the examples of where the state has dropped the ball,” said Jones. 

He said he generally agrees with most of the items the governor wants to fund, but says this proposal is simply too expensive, especially now, with the state facing a daunting deficit.

“If they had made that investment a couple years ago like we encouraged them, we wouldn’t be having this debate here today and we would already have a year or two years worth of these services already happening,” said Jones.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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