Wednesday, September 4, 2013

An extreme statement of frustration, lack of voice in rural California

The Siskiyou County (California) Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 yesterday afternoon to support the county's secession from the State of California.  The Times-Standard (of neighboring Mendocino County) reports:
More than 100 people packed the supervisors' chambers late this morning for a discussion on whether the county should issue a declaration that it wants to secede from the state. Nearly all those in attendance appeared to be for the move. 
Among those in attendance was Erin Ryan, field representative for Rep. Doug LaMalfa. She said that she and other LaMalfa staff members supported the effort to secede, but she did not know LaMalfa's thoughts on it. 
Board Chair Ed Valenzuela was the sole vote against the declaration today. He said he was elected to solve problems within the system. 
In August, county residents lobbied the board to consider separating from the state over a laundry list of complaints including a lack of representation in Sacramento for the Republican-majority county, issues pertaining to water rights and the rural fire prevention fee.
The fire prevention fee is $150 annual assessment to "offset the costs of providing fire service to people who live far from services." Needless to say, that means folks in rural California.  The California Legislature approved it in 2011, and it affects more than 825,000 homeowners.
The story is reported by Sean Longoria of the Redding Record Searchlight.  Longoria notes that the vote is the first step "in a long process that would require approval" from both state and federal legislative bodies.

Some rich quotes in favor of the vote can be found online, including this one from Gabe Garrison, a resident of Happy Camp in the northwest part of the county:
Many proposed laws are unconstitutional and deny us our God-given rights.  We need our own state so we can make laws that fit our way of life.
Supervisor Michael Kobseff said not a single person had contacted him to oppose the declaration supporting secession.

Read more here (from Shasta and Mendocino counties), here (from the AP), here (San Francisco) and here (Humboldt County). Siskiyou County's population is 44,154, and its poverty rate is 18.4%.  

Siskiyou County would like other rural counties in northern California and southern Oregon to join it in forming the 51st state, Jefferson, a proposal that has been around for many decades. A book about the proposed State of Jefferson was published in 2007. Read more about the Jefferson statehood project here. The wikipedia entry is here. I note the slogan for that project:
Free people - Free Markets - Limited Government
Representation for people of rural California
This story notes that several counties in northern Colorado will vote this fall on seceding from that state, a fact also mentioned in several stories covering the Siskiyou County vote.

A 2011 post about a secession movement in southern California, in the so-called Inland Empire, is here.

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