Gov. Gavin Newsom wussed out on doing the right thing.
On Monday, he voted Senate Bill 57, introduced by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, which would authorize local governments in select cities to launch overdose prevention programs on a pilot basis.
His veto message was a mealy-mouthed mess of excuses where he says, on the one hand, that he’s “supported the cutting edge of harm reduction strategies” but on the other he is “acutely concerned about the operations of safe injection sites without strong, engaged local leadership and well-documented, vetted, and thoughtful operational and sustainability plans.”
This is a copout and the consequences of his veto are obvious.
Without the U.S. catching up with countries around the world in approving safe consumption facilities where addicts can connect with addiction services and greatly reduce their risk of dying from drug overdoses or contracting chronic diseases, addicts will continue to die, continue to use drugs in the streets and continue to spread diseases like hepatitis and HIV.
“Today’s veto is tragic,” said Sen. Wiener in a statement. “For eight years, a broad coalition has worked to pass this life-saving legislation. Each year this legislation is delayed, more people die of drug overdoses — two per day in San Francisco alone.”
Once again, Gov. Newsom has shown that his progressivism is merely a front for his national political ambitions.
“He likes to be ahead of the curve,” Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School told the New York Times. “But if he signs this, the ads kind of write themselves: He becomes ‘Governor Heroin.’”
Of course, if Newsom actually ran, they’ll basically call him that anyway. See: the streets of San Francisco.
In any case, he has chosen to throw addicts under the bus so he can imagine himself having an easier time in Iowa.
Sal Rodriguez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org