In this polarized climate, there may be only one issue in the state that can bring together Republicans and Democrats.

That issue? Homelessness.

Gov. Gavin Newsom stood shoulder to shoulder with Kern County’s liberal and conservative politicians at an affordable housing complex in Bakersfield on Thursday to display a united front against the homeless crisis facing the state.

“What is it about this state that’s allowed this crisis to fester, to get worse and worse and worse, and grow as it has?,” he said during a press conference at the affordable housing complex, Park 20th Apartments. “I think that’s a question we’re all asking ourselves every single day, but that question now needs to be answered.”

The state hopes part of that answer will come from a $1 billion budget allocation that will be made available to local agencies combating homelessness. The governor also announced that the state had created a type of contest known as the 100 Day Challenge, in which local governments will receive state funds to develop unique solutions to the homeless crisis.

Mayor Karen Goh was on hand Thursday to formally accept the challenge, and the $3.3 million that comes along with it.

“Homelessness is a tragic reality that’s affecting our entire state. This universal problem goes beyond political boundaries, beyond jurisdictions,” she said. “And I am so grateful that the governor is here visiting and really is paying attention to what is unique in Bakersfield.”

Municipalities that come up with effective solutions to homelessness may be eligible to receive part of $35 million in reward funds from the state.

Goh said Thursday that the city and county had not yet come up with their strategy for the 100 Day Challenge, but would aim for the entire prize.

She may only have been half joking.

Also in attendance were State Senators Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, and Melissa Hurtado, D-Sanger, along with Assemblymen Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, and Vince Fong, R-Bakersfield.

“I do applaud the governor for coming down,” Grove said. “We have a lot of disagreements that we debate on policy issues, but one of the things that we can come together on is homeless issues.”

She went on to say that county leaders had been sharing innovative solutions to homelessness with the governor before he decided to come down and see it for himself.

As part of his visit, Newsom and Goh visited the apartment of Vietnam War veteran Robert Thomas, who was homeless for eight days before finding a bed at Park 20th.

Thomas, 68, said he was elated to have the governor in his apartment and said they laughed and cracked jokes in addition to discussing homeless issues.

“I just told him how I felt, that the homeless need help,” Thomas said.

He said he gave Newsom a medallion he received after returning from Washington D.C. on an honor flight, and asked the governor to look at it and remember Kern County when considering legislation on homelessness.

“Kern County needs help,” he said. “We’ve got not only homeless veterans, we’ve got too many regular people that are homeless. America wasn’t built on that.”

Kern County continues to battle a homeless epidemic. More people without shelter have been seen on city streets than ever before, according to local experts, who say more must be done.

But while Republicans and Democrats seem to be cooperating on finding solutions to homelessness, each side acknowledged the divisions they face when it comes to oil and agriculture. The state has instituted policies under Newsom that could lead to devastation to the two Kern County staples.

Newsom said he was aware of the difficulties faced by the county if the state’s plans go through, but he said he hoped to help local residents through what could be a difficult future.

After discussing the state’s plan to, among other things, close private prisons and decarbonize the economy, Newsom said Kern County would be disproportionately impacted.

“We have to recognize that,” he said. “So I am here, substantively, but also symbolically in that recognition, with a desire to address that in real time and not wait for those issues to fester and magnify, but to advance some solutions.”

You can reach Sam Morgen at 661-395-7415. You may also follow him on Twitter @smorgenTBC.

(37) comments

ccaliban

Stop killing oil and ag jobs and there will be less homelessness. Problem solved.

Veritas

You guys are sure makin’ the ol’ Bag mad. Couldn’t even spit out the ‘vote blue in 2020’ this time.

yorkies2014

dang....like a bunch of Rabid Russian Bots..one mention of Gavin and the comment section explodes with a mess of GMO republiKans.....where is the love?

Inconvenient Truth

Jerry Brown & Navin Gruesome have done much for the "Homeless:"

1) Raise Gasoline taxes (the most regressive tax of all)

2) Limit Development of new housing

3) Welcome Illegals into the state to compete with citizens for already inadequate housing supply

4) Mandate Solar on all new residences (adding >$10,000 to the cost of a new home)

5) Put millions of free-lancers out of of work with AB-5

6) Gut Prop-36, making it Illegal to treat drug addicts against their will

7) Decriminalize Drug & Property Offenses to ensure vagrants can't be removed from the streets

8) Subsidize drug abuse by handing out free needles

9) Empty the Prisons and Jails with AB-109 to dump Criminals onto the streets

Yes, Brown and Gruesome have done much for the "Homeless"...

They helped put most of them on the streets to begin with.

Vico17

Excellent points made Inc.Truth.

mrdwm1

This man and the political system he represents have been systematically destroying jobs and economic opportunity wherever it exists in our part of the world. Consider: shutting down the lumber industry with the fake science of the spotted owl; shutting down much Ag with the fake science of the delta smelt and a corrupted activist judge; shutting down the trucking & warehousing industry using fake data generated by a CARB researcher who had faked his credentials; now shutting down the oil industry using the fake data of CO2 driven climate.

What does he see for us? Beds in a homeless center? Perhaps just a convenient place for his ilk to dump their sewage sludge and trash? Someplace for the prisons to hold his undesirables & deplorables? Time for a New California State!

RedRover

The Governor was in Bakersfield on an opportunistic stop before heading on to Los Angeles to attend the Democratic debates being held at LMU. It was for optics - Bakersfield lays between points A (Sacramento) and B (Los Angeles). If he was here to help he wouldn't be wearing a suit - this was a photo op moment only.

Moardeeb

I like Newsome. In spite of the redneck In which we live, California is blue, and he's a very progressive Governor, more in line with the rest of the State.

He's been accused of doing nothing about the homeless problem. Here he is, in your face trying to solve the problem, so shaddup.

Boris25

His progressive ideas have really improved the living standards in California. Higher taxes, more homeless, San Francisco (the human poop on sidewalk capital of the United States), more illegal aliens , more welfare recipients (with only approximately 12% of the United States population, California has about 30% of all welfare recipients)> Yeah, his as well as other progressive ideas have made the State a cesspool.

Inconvenient Truth

To be specific:

California has approximately 1/8 (12.5%) of the Nation's Population

As of 2015 (the latest numbers available) there were:

4,170,107 TANF/SSP (Cash Welfare) Recipients in the United States

1,803,873 TANF/SSP (Cash Welfare) Recipients in California

That works out to 43.26% of the Nations' Welfare Recipients.

Here are the official numbers for anyone who doesn't believe it:

https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ofa/resource/twelfth-report-to-congress

Gene Pool Chlorinator

We'll see what he does- I for one am not going to hold my breath.

Throwing more and more taxpayer dollars at the problem is not going to solve anything- remember something called the "War on Poverty"?

Patricia Edna

He’s here to plot out land he can try to take.

ReefRanger

Yeah. He's here to look at the homeless problem. Symbolically. Why did he have to come to Bakersfield? He doesn't have enough homeless people in Sacramento?

Buck77

In other words ladies and gentlemen, get out of Bakersfield before Newsome lays waste to our home.

Lilyrose

He was here for the homeless. The homeless are here because of the waste land Bakersfield is.

Gene Pool Chlorinator

You complain more about Bakersfield than any other person posting on these pages.

If it's so bad for you, MOVE!

Your incessant whining has gotten stale...

Lilyrose

I'm trying to move, but you keep insisting on ruining this area and keeping the home values too low to afford to move away.

So seeing someone of power wanting to improve this area is refreshing. For unfortunately, people like you are determined to keep the cycle of crime, homelessness, trash, pollution going.

I'm tired of you winning about government officials who have the balls to take on difficult issues and actually help, instead of the current officials that want to keep status quo.

So we have 100 days to submit a proposal. And your response is?

Gene Pool Chlorinator

My response if for you to just go away.

Your comments don't make any sense; it's like your neural network isn't firing as it should- you fly off on tangents and make accusatory and inaccurate remarks about other people in this forum.

Please tell me how I'm depressing home prices- that would be rich.

Tell me how I'm ruining the air and have turned this town into a cesspool- I'd love that part.

I assume your meant "whining" about government officials; I don't really do that here, but if I did, I have every right to- I help to pay their salaries and benefits, I vote and they are here to represent the will of their constituency. If I have a disagreement, I don't name call (like you), but I try to present my dissension in a respectful and logical manner- something that appears lost on you...

Good day.

Chad Hathaway

You can’t pin this problem on the Republicans or even tout it as a bring together moment. Dems made this happen. They control this state.

Churchillis1

If this governor keeps treating the oil and Ag industry like he has been, the whole of Bakersfield will be one enormous homeless encampment.

Lilyrose

No, Bakersfield will become a clean, desirable place to live, unlike now. And we won't have to beg for money.

So embarrassing.

Churchillis1

Agriculture doesn’t work without water and it employs roughly 1 out of 5 Kern County residents. Oil provides Kern County with over 21,000 jobs and over $2 billion in economic benefits. Newsom and his ilk threaten both of these industries. If he gets his way, you’ll see “begging for money” the likes of which has never been seen before in this County. But hey, we’ll have that bullet train to Merced, so we got that going for us, right?

Embarrassing is right.

Lilyrose

Agriculture employs who? The jokes on you. Build the wall?

Oil does what? Employs just enough to extract what they need to live on financially ( Hathaway) but not enough to get the H out of here. Filthy business. But hey, the medical community sure benefits. The third big business for Bakersfield.

I hope Governor Newsom stays strong in negotiation with these industries. Because a stronger , healthier business will want to invest if and only if Bakersfield becomes cleaner.

The governor is giving you an incentive to stop " smoking" . So let's take it and breathe again.

ReefRanger

You're new here, aren't you? In case you haven't noticed, Bakersfield's population has exploded in the last two decades because it IS such a desirable place to live. People move here from the Southern Sinkhole to get away from the crime-infested and over-priced mega-toilet that is the southern third of the state. You can hate on Bakersfield all you want, but maybe you should just move if you hate it here so much. The sewer of San Francisco would probably suit you better. Talk about embarrassing.

Patricia Edna

@ReefRanger amen. People complain about Bakersfield when they move here but they left even worse conditions or else they wouldn’t have even come here. If they don’t like it they can move again. Our city is doing things just fine, thank you.

Lilyrose

The home value shows the desirable of a town.

This is the filthiest city I have ever seen !

More people would rather live in l.A. Or San Francisco than here !

Supply and demand. People ended up here only because of lack of money. Field work. Dairy. Oil. Medical. All feed on each other.

All these comments demonstrate why , in spite of " new business" in down town area, Bakersfield will never be desired .

Filthy roads, air and people. A drive down Rosedale is a soul sapping endeavor. Downtown is riddled with drug users. ( Sure new business are trying ). But until the pollution and street drugs are removed few will drive off lovely 99 and visit . Nope. Instead they just press on hoping to get past this disaster.

Abby

Maybe you should start begging for a job instead of money? Or is that too embarrassing also?

Gene Pool Chlorinator

Lilyrose, you've obviously never lived anywhere else. Your comments are inane and completely inaccurate.

Edify us please- WHERE HAVE YOU LIVED BEFORE?

I'd love for you to show all the uneducated knuckle-draggers in Bako where the unicorns farting rainbows live... SMH

Gene Pool Chlorinator

Lilyrose, your comments demonstrate a complete confounding of an economy or how it works.

You claim our property value is depressed, yet also claim that more people would rather live in LA or SF? Do you have any clue how much it costs to purchase a home in those areas?

If your reason for not moving is depressed property values in Bakersfield, you'd never be able to afford a nice place in SF or LA.

Also, that LA air quality is SO good isn't it?

Since you are also complaining about traffic, ever hear of SigAlerts? Yeah, those are an LA special as well...

Lilyrose

Thank you Governor Newsom. Please help us. There are some who say they will bite your hand, but in reality they need your help in the form of money and knowledge.

Come again.

cmo325

Agreed, with California 58 counties and contains 482 municipalities, he chose to visit us to gain knowledge and input from a challenge that is collectively being addressed.

Lilyrose

True, true.

Buck77

The guy just comes out and says he's gonna lay waste to your town and you thank him? Fascinating.

Lilyrose

We are a waste land !

My God open your eyes.

ReefRanger

You probably should open your eyes. Petroleum is in almost everything in your house. It makes up the bulk of materials in your car, not to mention fueling and lubricating it. The tires you drive on are almost entirely petroleum based. the roads you drive on, the toys your kids/grandkids play with, your records/cd's, furniture, flooring in your house, even some of the things your house is built from...all petroleum products. some clothing materials, bicycles, car parts, food containers, laundry detergent, refrigerators You want to take a bath? Your soap. shampoo, bubble bath. Cosmetics, most plastics...the list goes on and on. So, unless you want to go back to the wild west days where you walked or rode horses everywhere, and where you made your own clothes out of home spun cotton (a tedious and long process), and where you hunted, fished for, or raised your own food and kept it in a root cellar, you ought to be grateful that this "wasteland" exists. Also, I suspect that the termination of carbon fuels that Newsom wants would affect more than a few people that you know in a very negative way...as in...joining all those homeless people that you seem to be so concerned for. It won't just be the oil industry that suffers here. Think of the economic disaster that would happen when the people that lose their jobs (over 24,000 directly, and an unknown number indirectly) cant afford to buy houses, food, clothing, gas (or whatever replacement Ding Dong has in mind). Grocery stores begin closing, restaurants, financial institutions.Prices rise, taxes rise to cover city/county services because the people that were paying all of those taxes are moving (or are now homeless). It's all connected. You haven't seen the "wasteland" yet. Think, "The Great Depression" Newsom style.

Bodysnatcher

Lilybud, your choice of refusing to educate yourself means you’re just stupid. Proof read your posts. That smell you think is Bakersfield is your upper lip. 👋 👋 👋

Lilyrose

Bodysnatcher:. Yes. You are correct. I am stupid. Completely. I didn't listen to others who warned me not to move to Bakersfield. I gave myself financially and emotionally to this agricultural area.

My upper lip is no different than yours. It's just that you think it normal. It's not.

The article was about winning a grant. Basically Bakersfield has won. Just apply and on the grounds of Bakersfield being Bakersfield the entire state of California will continue to give.

At least we can be creative and help come up with productive means to " house" those who truly need. Send in a proposal with architectural designs and the state you hate will give.

Bye

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