Activists in Northern California, near the border with Oregon, are pushing to secede from the Golden State. They say they're fed up with taxes, regulation, and lack of representation. If they get their way, the country's 51st entrant would be called the State of Jefferson.
"The three major urban areas dictate politics for the entire state," says Mark Baird of the Jefferson Declaration Committee. "Our children are leaving, our economy is crashing, we are taxed, every breath we take is regulated, and we feel that a free state will cure that."
To date, five county governments have signed on the plan and more may be joining up.
"We can't afford to run a California style beauracracy, that is true," says Baird. "But as a small rural state, we don't want to. "
The idea of secession in California isn't new. During the Great Depression, folks started pushing a similar plan in the same part of the state but threw in the towel after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941.
Both California's state legislature and the U.S. Congress would have to approve the plan to make Jefferson more than a pipe dream. That's not going to happen any time soon, but Northern California's separatist movement is worth exploring as a way of pushing back against a distant and unresponsive government.
|Voters in one far Northern California county defeated a measure to call for the creation of a 51st state named Jefferson while those in a neighboring county responded more favorably to the test of whether a secessionist movement has sails in a region accustomed to feeling overlooked by the rest of California. |
Del Norte County voters rejected the secessionist measure by 59 percent Tuesday, while Tehama County voters were supporting the proposal by 56 percent with ballots still being tallied.
A similar but unrelated question on the ballot in Siskiyou County, to rename it the Republic of Jefferson, failed with only 44 percent of voters in favor.
Elected officials in Glenn, Modoc, Siskiyou and Yuba counties already have voted to join in forming a new state.
San Jose Mercury News.