Some news reports in the last week noted that the Board of Supervisors in Siskiyou County, located in far northeastern California, had voted 4-1 to secede from California and form the state of Jefferson.
Supervisors heard from a packed house of residents that California had too much regulation and restriction, particularly for rural “frontier” counties like theirs and thus they were not represented in the state Legislature. They are, but it doesn’t matter because the blue and deep blue liberals and progressives from the coastal counties control the Legislature and the votes.
Although pundits –particularly in water discussions—have pitted Northern and Southern California as divided by the Tehachapi’s—the reality is that the divisions are between the 16 coastal counties with the bulk of the population and the other 42 counties. There’s lots of red country in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys and points further east, but those votes are overwhelmed by coastal representatives.
Conservatives in the Bay Area can feel their pain of the Siskiyou folks. For instance, Republicans in the Livermore Valley were reduced to voting for the less painful Democrat when Eric Swalwell (a Dublin Councilman at the time) faced off against 20-term incumbent Pete Stark. For most, it was anyone but Pete.
It is the challenge of a large diverse state that has some particularly egregious patterns such as public employee unions funding Democrat politicians who turn around and repay the favor with legislation that simply is bad policy. For a sample, see this Sacramento Bee editorial urging defeat of public employee union backed bills (of particular note, two are carried by the respective leaders of the Senate and the Assembly) Web Link
The Siskiyou folks, a rural county with issues vastly different from coastal counties, sum up their discontent with: regulation (too much), restrictions on rights (2nd Amendment, yes people who are not thugs or criminals do own and carry guns in other counties), representation (the state is too large and too diverse), regionalism (state control of zoning and planning) and big government instead of limited government.
For Livermore Valley folks, it’s a familiar emotion given the number of votes along the I-880 corridor versus those in the valley.
Interestingly, a group of rural counties in Northern Colorado were reported earlier this summer asking for the secession for similar reasons—the Denver/Boulder area dominates the population and has both different political philosophies as well as very different challenges when compared with the wide-open spaces of the state.