DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom rolled up his sleeves and hit the streets of Southern California, picking up trash and painting over graffiti as part of his Clean California initiative.
The governor was at Beaudry Avenue and West Temple Street in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday painting over graffiti along the 101 Freeway.
It's all part Newsom's Clean California program, a $1.1 billion initiative to revitalize California's streets and public spaces by removing litter and turning those spaces into something the community can use. The program has created thousands of jobs including for those formerly homeless, incarcerated, veterans and at risk youth.
six months ago, Newsom launched this program at a site in South L.A. along the 110 Freeway that was a homeless encampment, full of needles and piled up with garbage.
Now, the site has reopened and has been turned into a park for the community that's growing vegetables, fruit and will be a place to gather. ABC7 toured the finished product that will be the goal for hundreds of sites across the state.
"We're seeing mattresses not just here, but all up and down the freeways. We're seeing couches that people have dumped. So part of this program is yes, doing parklets like this, yes beautifying, cleaning up litter. But it's also about having free dumping days in this state, having a PSA campaign to support our efforts to clean the state of California," said Newsom.
"It's not just about cleaning up litter, it's about restoring a sense of pride and sense of spirit, a sense of place, a sense...of community," the governor said. "Because once people feel connected to something, once they feel ownership to something, they're more apt to protect it, to preserve it, to cultivate, support and invest in it, and we just need more of that...There's so many beautiful parts of this state that just don't look like they should."
In 2020, the state removed 270,000 cubic yards of trash. Now, the goal is for Caltrans to remove 1.2 million cubic yards of trash.