Gov. Newsom says California will intervene in court case blocking San Francisco from clearing encampments

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday that the state will intervene in a federal court case that has barred San Francisco from cleaning up homeless encampments until more shelter beds are available, claiming that the judge has gone too far and is preventing the state from addressing a critical issue.

“I hope this goes all the way to the Supreme Court,” Newsom said. “And coming from a progressive Democrat, that’s quite a statement.”

Newsom made his remarks during an interview with the Sacramento-based news outlet Politico. In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, he blasted U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu, but he did not reveal his administration’s intention to file an amicus brief in support of the city’s efforts to overturn the ruling.

Ryu issued the injunction in December after homeless advocates claimed the city was breaking the law by clearing homeless encampments without providing shelter and improperly discarding people’s belongings such as cellphones and medication.

Her decision has been chastised by Democratic leaders in San Francisco, who argued in appellate court last month for the decision to be reversed. They claim that the ruling has made cleaning up the city’s streets nearly impossible, and that more people are refusing shelter even when it is available.

Former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom said he personally worked on cleaning up three encampments near the city, but that a court ruling prevented him from cleaning up a fourth. More broadly, Newsom claimed that federal judges are applying a “perverse interpretation” of a court decision stemming from a case in Boise, Idaho, which stated that cities cannot prosecute people for sleeping on the streets if they have nowhere else to go.

“I think they’ve gone too far,” he concluded.

California is home to roughly one-third of the country’s homeless population, a problem that has plagued Newsom since he took office. Newsom boasted that his administration has spent billions on street cleaning and housing, but he acknowledged the issue’s persistence.

“People’s lives are at risk; what’s happening on the streets and sidewalks is unacceptable,” he said. “We’re now complicit, all of us, at all levels of government and all branches of government,” he added.

During the extensive interview, Newsom reiterated his support for Democratic President Joe Biden’s reelection bid. He has repeatedly stated that he has no plans to run for president or challenge Biden, instead traveling the country as a surrogate for Biden. He’s also been raising funds and campaigning alongside Democrats in Republican-led states, which helps him build his national political network.

Newsom also stated that he intends to visit China in the coming weeks to discuss joint efforts to combat climate change. He didn’t say anything else about the trip.

Newsom was asked about the recently revealed Silicon Valley billionaire effort to build a new city between San Francisco and Sacramento. He stated that the project’s leaders must regain the trust of officials if they are to move forward after keeping the project secret for years while purchasing vast amounts of land in Solano County.

“They start a little behind in my book” because of the intrigue and questions raised by their secrecy, according to Newsom. “There’s a lot less trust and a lot more doubt now.”

People were asking him, “What the hell is going on?” he said. and that he discovered who was behind the project just minutes before the New York Times reported on it.

He declined to comment on the proposal’s substance and stated that he will meet with one of the project’s representatives next week, but did not specify who.

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