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Is California’s Homeless Problem Newsom’s Achilles Heel?

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference after meeting with students at James Denman Middle School on October 01, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Harry Wilmerding Contributor
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  • California gubernatorial candidates, including Republican state Sen. Brian Dahle and environmentalist and independent candidate Michael Shellenberger, plan to use Californians’ anger with the state’s homeless problem to unseat Gov. Gavin Newsom in November’s election.
  • “I think that people are waking up and realizing that we don’t have a money problem. We have a policy problem,” Dahle told the Los Angeles Times.
  • “The reason we have so many homeless people is because we spend so much money on homelessness,” Shellenberger told the Los Angeles Times.
  • Recent polling has emphasized the growing frustrations around the homeless problem, with two thirds of registered voters saying Newson is doing a poor or very poor job addressing the issue.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s forecasted victory in the state’s upcoming gubernatorial race could be less than certain as the Democrat’s opponents hit his biggest weakness  — failing to curb rampant homelessness.

Two of Newsom’s most prominent challengers, Republican state Sen. Brian Dahle and environmentalist and independent candidate Michael Shellenberger plan to use voter’s frustration with the state’s homeless problem to beat the governor in the upcoming November election, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Both candidates highlighted what they see as Newsom’s failed homelessness policies and pledged to crack down on the state’s homeless camps and rampant drug use, the Los Angeles Times reported. Shellenberger and Dahle instead want to provide improved living situations and treatment facilities for drug addicts and the mentally ill.(RELATED: Gov. Newsom Calls LA Area ‘Third World Country’ Because Of ‘Gangs,’ Then Apologizes For Saying ‘Gangs’)

“There’s no lack of money in California. I’ve never seen so much money in politics, but I’ve also never seen so many people unhappy with what the government’s doing at the same time,” Dahle told the Los Angeles Times, adding that the state’s budget could exceed nearly $30 billion in 2023. “I think that people are waking up and realizing that we don’t have a money problem. We have a policy problem.”

Shellenberger sees the problem stemming from government overspending on programs promoting drug use, homeless camps while lacking treatment for addicts and the mentally ill.

Pedestrians walk past tents housing the homeless on the streets of Los Angeles, California on February 24, 2022. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Pedestrians walk past tents housing the homeless on the streets of Los Angeles, California on February 24, 2022. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

“The reason we have so many homeless people is because we spend so much money on homelessness,” Shellenberger told the Los Angeles Times. “That’s how you created the problem.”

“You advertise to every homeless drug addict and mentally ill person in the United States that they’re going to get a free home in Venice Beach and, if not, then they can just stay on Venice Beach and [its] open drug scene,” he added.

Newsom and California Democrats directed $12 billion to combat the state’s homeless problem which led to 58,000 people being sent to shelters or homeless housing, according to the LA Times. Meanwhile, Newsom called for an additional $2 billion over the course of two years to combat the homeless problem, which included more housing programs and mental health services.

Recent polling has emphasized the growing frustrations around the homeless problem, with two thirds of registered voters saying Newson is doing a poor or very poor job addressing the issue.

Shellenberger plans to run for governor with a strong focus on addressing the homelessness and drug problems experienced throughout the state.

“I am heartbroken by the human tragedy that is unfolding every day on our streets, our sidewalks, and our parks,” Shellenberger previously told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “It’s a gross mistreatment of people with mental illness and suffering substance use disorder to let people live in open-air drug scenes.”

Shellenberger wants to create a system modeled after those in Netherlands, Japan, Germany and France called Cal Psych that seeks to address mental illness and drug addicts.

“I want to create a statewide psychiatric and addiction care system that is modeled after the best in the world,” he told the DCNF. “You need to have vibrant, livable, walkable cities that are safe for people to walk all times of day if you’re going to have a functioning civilization. We don’t have that now.”

Newsom’s office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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