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Gov. Newsom sees recent storm damage in person, praises volunteers  and says more support is coming

MONTECITO, Calif. - With mud on his shoes, California Governor Gavin Newsom has been visiting areas hard hit by the recent, relentless stream of storms.   He says help has arrived and more is available and coming.

Newsom thanked the California National Guard for their help to clear debris from the Randall Road basin in Montecito which opened in late 2022.   It was designed to capture tons of rocks, trees and sediment coming down from the steep hills in storms.

In Monday's massive weather event, this debris basin and several others took in large quantities of material. Some are filled and some are close to the top.

The series of storms to hit the state was a drastic turnaround from the prolonged drought and it hit harder than many people expected.   

Newsom said he visited the Bucket Brigade volunteers at Manning Park nearby prior to coming to the briefing at the debris basin and was impressed with the effort, the age of those involved including many young people and the determination they had to fill sand bags.

Newsom said the community showed it had each others back and "there's no substitute for that."

He thanked the Sheriff and Office of Emergency Management for coordinating the evacuations recently when dangerous weather hit.

The loss of 19 lives was brought up including storm victims on the Central Coast.   He said the report of a missing five year old boy swept away in San Luis Obispo County made him think of his own family, and he was deeply impacted by that.

After speaking, Newsom took questions about climate change, housing demands and federal assistance which he said is coming through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Prior to the debriefing, other elected officials spoke.

State Assemblyman Gregg Hart thanked the workers who "are working 24 hours, seven days a week to remove this material and take it to the beach. "

Hart said, every part of the community that needed attention would get it.  "From Guadalupe to Orcutt and the agricultural fields and in the south county that  everybody is working together at every level of government."

"We are resilient we are 805 strong and we will be able to get through this event and succeed in the future," he said.

A cross section of community impacts were mentioned.

"While we may be here in Montecito, It is not lost on us that Guadalupe, Santa Maria, Orcutt and our north county have all experienced damage,"  said State Senator Monique Limon.   
"Whether it is our ability to go to school, to go to work whether it is our own health we understand there is great impact around the county," said Limon.  
She thanked every public works employee working overtime.

Congressman Salud Carbajal said, "we lost 23 lives here in the debris flow a number of years ago."   He said the new debris basin was created  after that event through collaboration.
Carbajal, said Newsom "reaffirms his leadership, and reaffirms that when we work together we solve problems and make the quality of life for our residents better every day."

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
governor gavin newsom
Randall Road Basin
Santa Barbara

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John Palminteri

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