Apparently tired of being lumped in with embarrassing blights such as Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Napa Valley, and giant redwood forests, conservative elected officials from Southern and eastern California are mounting a bid to secede from the state.
Or perhaps they’re just tired of being outvoted.
Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone is leading the push to form the new state of “South California.” Made up of 13 conservative-leaning counties, including Fresno, Orange, San Diego, and San Bernardino, the 51st state would be the nation’s fifth-largest by population.
Stone told the New York Times he’s fed up with California’s dysfunctional state government, which routinely deadlocks over budget crises. “We have businesses leaving all the time, and we’re just driving down a cliff to become a third-world economy,” he said of a state whose economy is the eighth-largest in the world.
“I am tired of California being the laughingstock of late-night jokes,” he added.
The new state would have no term limits and a part-time legislature. It would retain the state’s strict limits on property taxes.
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 on Tuesday to discuss the proposal further this fall with leaders from the other counties, provided no taxpayer money is spent on the summit.
The unlikely effort is just the most recent in a long line of bids to split California since it became a state in 1850. The closest call came in 1941, when parts of Northern California and southern Oregon, citing poor infrastructure, pushed to create the new state of Jefferson.
A spokesman for California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, called the latest scheme “a supremely ridiculous waste of everybody's time,” the Los Angeles Times reported. “If you want to live in a Republican state with very conservative right-wing laws, then there's a place called Arizona.”