SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Gov. Gavin Newsom didn’t mince words when talking about California needing a deep cleaning.
“Another big thing we need to implement, and we can’t just promote, is to clean this damn state up and forgive my loose language. State’s too damn dirty,” said Newsom.READ MORE: Chilling Video Shows Moments Leading Up To Death Of Stockton Officer And His Killer
The governor announced an aggressive proposal on statewide cleanup and beautification Friday. Waste companies saw a 40% increase in waste during the pandemic, compounding the challenge for Caltrans crews cleaning up trash that ended up along roadways.
Officials call the proposal a huge shot in the arm while some hope the effort actually lasts.
Christine Flowers spends a lot of her own time cleaning up mounds of junk she finds along the road.
“Mattresses, clothing, cardboard, construction debris. You name it, it’s out there,” said Flowers.
A Sacramento State environmental studies professor, Flowers wants more investment in keeping California clean.
“When you get it clean you need to have preventative measures. So it’s not just as simple as picking it up,” said Flowers.READ MORE: Turlock Man Accused Of Trying To Burn Home Twice Arrested On Arson Charges
So while Newsom’s cleanup proposal is five times the state has ever invested in litter abatement, people like Flowers hope it sticks.
Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin told CBS13 that the governor’s massive beautification proposal will create 15,000 jobs as it aims to clean up 21 tons of trash. It’s an effort officials hope will catch on and inspire community members to continue keeping public spaces clean.
“I think long-term once people see what we’re doing, they’ll say, ‘Look, I want to take care of my community even more because look at what the public sector is doing, look at what the government is doing,'” said Omishakin.
That’s a long-time goal for Flowers who does her part hoping others will do the same.
“We all need to embrace that this is not what we want to see,” said Flowers.
The proposal includes $75 million that will go towards art grants as part of the beautification efforts as well as putting local artists back to work after the pandemic.MORE NEWS: Monster Jam Set To Be One Of The 1st Full Capacity Events At Golden 1 Center Since Pandemic
The proposal still has to make its way through the legislature.