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Reacting to recent media images of trash-strewn railroad tracks in Los Angeles – the result in part of thieves stealing from passing rail cars and discarding packaging – California Gov. Gavin Newsom showed up Thursday with a clean-up crew and vowed action.

And the Democrat, dressed in a T-shirt, baseball cap and coronavirus mask, pitched in himself, joining crew members from the state Department of Transportation in grabbing handfuls of debris and placing the trash in bags or in a dumpster.

“What has happened on this stretch of the Union Pacific Railroad is unacceptable,” Newsom told reporters. He said the area looked like a scene from “a Third World country,” according to FOX 11 of Los Angeles.

GAVIN NEWSOM’S CRIME COMMENTS RIPPED BY CALIFORNIA DA: ‘EITHER HE’S IGNORANT … OR HE’S A LIAR’

He claimed the state was committed both to prosecuting the thieves and cleaning up the messes they’ve left behind. He added that preventing further thefts was also part of the plan, FOX 11 reported.

“How do we make sure we don’t have to keep coming back?” Newsom asked. “How do we secure this site? How do we do a better job in making sure that this doesn’t have to continue to happen? This is the supply chain. I know all of us are focused down on the water, it’s so damn beautiful, and everybody’s just focused on containers at the ports, the supply chain.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, center, removes cardboard and other discarded items from a Union Pacific Railroad site on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, in Los Angeles. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, center, removes cardboard and other discarded items from a Union Pacific Railroad site on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, in Los Angeles.  (Associated Press)

He added that rail cars carrying cargo was also part of the supply chain.

But Republicans and others have argued that progressive state policies such as zero-cash bail for lower-level offenses have made crime worse.

“Criminals know how to exploit California’s policies for their gain,” state Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk, whose district includes northern Los Angeles County, told The Associated Press.

“Criminals know how to exploit California’s policies for their gain.” 

— Scott Wilk, California Senate Republican leader

Also Thursday, a group of House Republicans in Washington sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, calling for federal assistance in cracking down on thefts that have disrupted the supply chain, the AP reported.

Much of the garbage at the site Newsom visited represented Christmas gifts that were never delivered to their intended recipients because of thefts, the governor acknowledged.

In December, Newsom proposed his Real Public Safety Plan, which included steps for addressing rail thefts, FOX 11 reported. It also included $255 million in grants to help California communities combat so-called “smash and grab” thefts at retail stores.

He claimed dozens of suspects had been arrested in the state in connection with those crimes.

Men look over a railing at a Union Pacific railroad site on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, in Los Angeles. 

Men look over a railing at a Union Pacific railroad site on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, in Los Angeles.  (Associated Press)

“Two-hundred-80 people have been arrested,” he said. “(But) there should be more. … They need to be held to account. And we need to go after these fencing operations. We need to go after the back end of this.”

But Newsom, who survived a recall effort last year – driven in large part by opposition to his coronavirus-related restrictions on businesses – has faced other critics who claim his efforts to combat crime have been flawed and ineffective.

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For example, Fresno County’s district attorney earlier this week accused Newsom of being “ignorant” or a “liar” after the governor praised three crime-related state laws that there enacted while he served as lieutenant governor under fellow Democrat Jerry Brown.

“It’s not deterring [crime], it’s not preventing it,” DA Lisa Smittcamp said about the Brown-era laws. “It’s not doing anything to stop this, which is why it just keeps getting worse and worse and we keep seeing more bold behaviors, we keep seeing more criminals who are empowered.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Source: FOX News

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