Gavin Newsom admits homelessness in California is 'disgraceful'

 June 13, 2023

California governor Gavin Newsom (D) called the homelessness problem in his state "disgraceful" during a confrontational interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity.

The governor said he inherited the issue, which he blamed on a combination of high housing costs, regulations and local opposition to new building.

"This state has not made progress in the last two decades as it relates to homelessness," he said.

"Housing costs are too high, our regulatory thickets are too problematic, localism has been too impactful, meaning people locally are pushing back against new housing starts and construction," he went on.

Newsom's confession

The governor has fueled speculation of presidential ambitions with his aggressive culture war attacks on Republican Ron DeSantis (R).

Newsom seized the chance to confront some of the issues plaguing his state, conceding it is "disgraceful" that California has some 171,000 homeless.

But he rejected comparisons to Florida, a state with similar warm weather, saying there are "different dynamics" at work.

“Dynamics are very different. That said, we own this, Sean, I’m not here defending this,” he insisted.

Downplaying dysfunction

The governor said he is bothered by the homeless encampments that have come to symbolize dysfunction in the Golden State.

"I love this state. I don't like what's happening with encampments, I don't like what's happening to streets and sidewalks," he said.

Still, Newsom downplayed the quality-of-life issues that are driving people and businesses out of the state, saying crime-ridden San Francisco, which Newsom used to run, isn't as bad as it appears.

"I don't like the bashing of my old city San Francisco. Whole Foods did shut down one business, but that was a bad location to begin with. They're opening a new one," he said.

2024 speculation

Elsewhere in the interview, Newsom was challenged to defend President Biden's cognitive capability.

"I would bet on a daily basis there are people urging you to run for president and primary him," Hannity told Newsom.

Newsom said his phone is "lighting up" with praise for Biden from Democrats as well as Republicans. He called Biden a "man of decency and character" and said he would not challenge him in 2024.

The governor dismissed DeSantis, telling Hannity that his rival has "bellyflopped" and that former President Trump will "clean his clock" in the Republican primary.

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