What Mayors in California Say About Trump’s Effort to Fix Homelessness


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My colleague Thomas Fuller wrote about in-state reactions to some news out of Washington on Tuesday:

The news that Trump administration officials are on a fact-finding mission in California to explore solutions to homelessness was greeted with skepticism, to put it mildly, by mayors of several of the state’s biggest cities.

A spokesman for the president, Judd Deere, said Tuesday that President Trump had “taken notice of the homelessness crisis, particularly in cities and states where the liberal policies of overregulation, excessive taxation and poor public service delivery are combining to dramatically increase poverty and public health risks.”

Three mayors — Libby Schaaf of Oakland, Sam Liccardo of San Jose and Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento — said they saw the administration’s foray into the state’s homelessness crisis as 2020 presidential politics.

[Read more about President Trump’s effort to crack down on homelessness in California.]

“Homelessness is not a partisan issue and we shouldn’t make it one,” Mr. Liccardo said. “Both Democrats and Republicans are dying on our streets.”

But the ballooning crisis in the state — the number of homeless people in San Jose, for example, is up by 42 percent from two years ago — has happened on the Democrats’ watch and Mr. Trump appears to see political vulnerability for them in the issue.

Ms. Schaaf, who clashed with the administration last year over raids by immigration enforcement officials, said the president’s interest in homelessness was “infuriating” given his proposal last year to cut $8.8 billion from the budget of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

[Read more about why the state’s homeless populations have continued to grow, despite spending on services.]

“From my vantage point, the federal government has been causing homelessness, not helping it,” Ms. Schaaf said. “Year after year, we’ve seen tremendous reductions in housing programs.”

Mr. Steinberg, who is the head of a homelessness task force recently established by Gov. Gavin Newsom, said he wasn’t sure what to make of the president’s initiative. But he offered an idea: The federal government could help by offering facilities such as military bases or National Guard armories to house people.

“We could use the constructive help of the federal government,” Mr. Steinberg said.

At an event hosted by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California in Los Angeles on Tuesday evening, Mayor Eric Garcetti echoed that.

He emphasized the idea of “sweeping people up” was not only bad, but most likely illegal. Still, he said he welcomed federal investment to address a difficult issue.

“Any day the commander in chief is talking about homelessness — that’s a good thing,” he said.

We often link to sites that limit access for nonsubscribers. We appreciate your reading Times coverage, but we also encourage you to support local news if you can.

Assembly Bill 5, which aims to give more rights to gig economy workers, passed the Legislature on Tuesday night. It could change the future of work not just in California but across the country. [The New York Times]

A landmark rent cap and eviction protection measure, Assembly Bill 1482, has almost made its way through the Legislature. The bill has been negotiated at length and landlords have opposed it fiercely. [The New York Times]

A judge decided not to halt the construction — which is already underway — of a homeless center in San Francisco’s Embarcadero. Neighbors had sued, hoping to stop the project. [Curbed San Francisco]

California’s top insurance regulator has apologized for taking campaign donations from the industry after he said he wouldn’t. He said his campaign had set up meetings. But newly released records show he knew he was meeting with insurance industry representatives for fund-raising purposes. [The Sacramento Bee]

If you missed it, the insurance commissioner, Ricardo Lara, has the authority to regulate an industry that’s in flux amid rising wildfire risks. [The New York Times]

Apple has unveiled an iPhone 11 that will be $50 cheaper than last year’s comparable model. Here are more highlights of Tuesday’s Apple event. [The New York Times]

Uber laid off 435 workers in product and engineering this week as the company continues to struggle to make money. [The New York Times]

There are active volcanoes along the West Coast — including, yes, California — that are not being watched closely enough to predict eruptions. And while some say putting in monitoring equipment is an unnecessary intrusion on wild lands, scientists believe the consequences could be dire. [The New York Times]

It’s Sept. 11. And for almost two decades there have been discussions about whether seeing the Twin Towers onscreen is a tribute, or too painful. [The New York Times]

Jennifer Aniston is starring in the biggest new show from Apple as a morning show co-anchor navigating a #MeToo story. She said she wouldn’t have been ready to take on the role earlier in her career, but the now-longtime Southern Californian is digging into new things. [The New York Times]

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that California isn’t the only state where you can get great tacos. And now Texas Monthly, the magazine that already has a barbecue editor, just hired a taco editor to keep tabs on the scene in the Lone Star State. “Context makes things tastier,” he said. [The New York Times]

This week, we’re adding one more song to our California Soundtrack that came up during my conversations with readers and my colleague Jon Pareles, our chief popular music critic.

It’s a song that was everywhere in the Bay Area when I first moved to Berkeley for college. And, frankly, I can no longer abide its absence from the playlist.

The song is “Tell Me When to Go,” a hyphy classic by E-40, featuring Keak Da Sneak.

Even today, it’s physically impossible for me to hear that beat without closing my eyes and nodding my head.

But I’m no hyphy expert, and I’m certainly no authority on Bay Area hip-hop. If you are either of those things, send us your song recommendations at CAtoday@nytimes.com.

Click here to listen to the California Soundtrack on Spotify.

California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com. Were you forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here.

Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from U.C. Berkeley and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles — but she always wants to see more. Follow along here or on Twitter, @jillcowan.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.