SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Less than a week before the APEC conference in San Francisco the governor and mayor announced a plan to beautify San Francisco streets with a new program to plant young trees in urban neighborhoods.
It's part of the Clean California program and comes at a time when many have voiced concerns about homelessness and dirty streets in California cities like San Francisco.
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"We're cleaning up this state!" said California Governor Gavin Newsom as he touted Clean California. He spoke during the unveiling of a street tree nursery in San Francisco.
"I know folks are saying, 'Oh they're just cleaning up this place because all those fancy leaders are coming to town.' That's true because it's true, but it's also true for months and months and months prior to APEC we've been having conversations," said Newsom.
Conversations about ways to clean up and beautify cities in California like San Francisco. Newsom says this is now a $1.2 billion Clean California program. Part of that has gone to Caltrans clearing 3,275 encampments across the state since 2021. Other funds will go to buying, growing, and planting these trees in urban areas of San Francisco.
"It's the most significant commitment of any state in the nation. Even on a per capita basis to begin the process of at least turning things around," said Newsom.
Public works crews tell ABC7 that in six months the trees in the new nursery will be planted in the Tenderloin, SOMA, and Bayview neighborhoods.
Newsom says red tape having to do with the liability of city officials operating in a location like this on state property is part of what had previously pushed this clean initiative project, and many others back.
The governor said that since 2021, Caltrans has also cleared more than two million cubic yards of garbage from California roadways, "enough litter to span the length of the Golden Gate Bridge 670 times, and the program has employed 8,700 people."
Newsom addressed numerous questions about the timing of the project before APEC.
"I mean anytime you put on an event, I mean you have people over your house you're going to clean up the house you're going to make sure the kids make their beds," said Newsom who later continued by saying, "I was just with President Xi, first thing he talked about was San Francisco, first thing he remembered was the Golden Gate Bridge when he was here in 1985. You should have seen the smile on his face, this place is beloved and it's best days are in front of it not behind it!"
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