The Golden City has been criticized by residents and visitors alike for years now over its rampant homelessness, open-air drug use, and general disarray, problems that Newsom vowed to address for the good of the people.
"I know folks say, 'Oh, they’re just cleaning up this place because all these fancy leaders are coming into town'," Newsom said during a press conference, adding, "That's true because it's true."
Despite this, he claimed that the "Clean California" initiative had been a priority for months before the summit.
"APEC is a forcing function and that's always a positive thing," Newsom explained. "Anytime there is a large event, it just focuses the mind, just keeps everybody on the same agenda."
"The goal here is that this is not a situational commitment, this is a long-term strategy. It began in July of 2021 and momentally and directionally we want to continue to see these kinds of projects up and down the state."
Over 3,000 encampments were cleared as part of the initiative, however, not everyone was thrilled. As the Daily Mail reported, the city offered to take homeless people to shelters in the area but many refused.
"We've got nowhere to go and they're trying to push us to areas we don't want to go," one man told the outlet, adding, "We've got nowhere to go and they're trying to push us to areas we don't want to go."
The APEC summit is taking place in San Francisco between Nov. 11 and 17. During that time, the city will play host to a number of world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, as well as 20,000 other visitors.
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