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Gov. Gavin Newsom pays off Super Bowl bet with community service

Gov. Gavin Newsom pays off Super Bowl bet with community service
To pay off a Super Bowl bet with the governor of Massachusetts, Gov. Gavin Newsom sports a New England Patriots Jersey and served lunch at the Loaves & Fishes shelter in Sacramento on Wednesday. (Phil Willon/Los Angeles Times)

Reluctantly sporting a Tom Brady New England Patriots jersey, Gov. Gavin Newsom spent lunch Wednesday helping feed the homeless at a Sacramento shelter to pay off a bet with Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.

The two governors wagered on Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Los Angeles Rams and Patriots. As a consequence of the Rams’ 13-3 loss, Newsom had to wear a Patriots jersey and perform community service.

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“I know it’s the wrong shirt,” Newsom told a patron who gave him grief inside the Loaves & Fishes shelter Wednesday.

But Newsom reminded everyone that the Patriots quarterback grew up in the Bay Area city of San Mateo — he’s “from California,” he said. Newsom still said wearing the jersey was “heartbreaking” because he’s a fan of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana.

Newsom told the press that he picked the shelter to perform his community service to call attention to the growing homeless crisis in California.

His proposed budget includes $500 million to help local governments build shelters and add services to help the homeless, but the Democratic governor called that only a “drop in the bucket.” He has vowed to make addressing homelessness and the need for affordable housing a top priority of his administration.

“The magnitude of the problem in the state is unprecedented in the state’s history. We’re seeing what’s happening now in Los Angeles — a typhus outbreak, a syphilis outbreak,” Newsom said. “In some ways we haven’t heard about these diseases occurring in our streets in our lifetime. So something significant has to happen.”

Rico Alvarez, 50, who was inside eating lunch when Newsom visited, thanked the governor for dropping by. Alvarez said he recently got off the streets and, thanks to his Social Security payment, is living in an apartment across town.

“It’s just not easy out there,” he said.

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