Gov. Gavin Newsom has effectively killed for now a bid by the City of Manteca to expand upon its successful endeavors over the past three years that has succeeded in getting almost 300 homeless individuals off the streets.
The governor declined to sign Assembly Bill 1732 that would have allowed the City of Manteca acting as a successor agency to sell the redevelopment owned Qualex photo procession building to a non-profit for the expressed— and restricted — purpose of establishing a more robust resource center to accelerate efforts to help reduce the city’s homeless problem.
In an Oct. 12 message explaining why he sent the bill back to the legislature, Newsom stated, “Combatting the homeless crisis requires coordination at all levels of government as well as with nonprofits and the private sector. The state has stepped up with a historic $1 billion investment in the budget and a suite of tools to make it easier for local governments to build emergency shelters and supportive housing. While I am supportive of additional local tools to address homelessness, this bill provides for an increase in state costs and reduction in local revenues outside the budget process.”
Assemblyman Heath Flora, R-Ripon, who sponsored the bill at the City of Manteca’s request and was able to get it through the legislature with no opposition said he was “disappointed” in the governor’s action.
Flora indicated Thursday he was willing to work with the governor’s staff to try and address their concerns for the next legislative session based on the wishes of the Manteca City Council.
Unlike Newsom’s solution that the governor described as “historic” because of the dollar amount set aside to help communities build housing and shelters for the homeless, the Manteca approach in working with the non-profit Inner City Action is to address the underlying issues of why individuals are homeless, house them while they are in their program, and then help them secure jobs and housing on their own while at the same time assisting them with the setting up of their households.
Local leaders — as well as others in Northern San Joaquin Valley — have noted the odds of any of the $1 billion Newsom set aside in the budget not being almost completely devoured by major cities for their homeless efforts as extremely miniscule and certainly whatever is available — if anything — to a jurisdiction the size of Manteca with an official homeless count of 218 as well as countless other residents a paycheck away from the street due to rising housing costs won’t make much of a difference.
Newsom’s concern about Manteca’s proposal for the 57,329-square-foot building the now dissolved Manteca RDA bought for $3.6 million 13 years ago to convert into a new police station that was scrapped after the state changed rules for earthquake standards and staffing for new police stations with holding cells costing the state is curious at best.
The proposal would have had the city selling the structure to Inner City Action and the non-profit picking up the tab to renovate the building that has sat vacant for 13 years. Not a cent in state or city money would go into the building.
The governor’s concern about a “reduction in local revenues outside the budget process” ignores the fact the property has been off the tax rolls for 13 years and in the ownership of a public agency.
If the Qualex building was sold as state law requires, appraisers have set the current fair market value at $1.5 million or $2.1 million less than the RDA spent to buy it.
The actual sale would produce one-time revenue to the Manteca Unified School District that couldn’t be used to reduce the state funding for classroom programs. A sale price of $1.5 million would mean MUSD would receive $750,000 and that’s it. The district uses RDA funds for building projects.
If it were to go back on the tax rolls valued at $1.5 million, the new owner would have a $150,000 annual tax bill of which $75,000 would go to the schools and subject to calculating how much yearly state support the school district would receive.
The governor did not make it clear whether he was against AB 1732 because the resources center proposal would not actually be a shelter or house the homeless but instead would be used to assist those on the streets, work with them to get them into programs, teach employable skills and make it possible for the homeless to get jobs and pay for their own housing instead of having it provided to them for free.
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