Editor's notes

If SoCal wants to secede, who is stopping it?

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tredmond@sfbg.com

I'm not prone to agreeing with right-wing nuts from Riverside County, but there's a county supervisor down there named Jeff Stone who has a dandy idea. He wants to secede.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Stone is proposing that 13 counties in the southland and inland empire split off and become their own state, which would be called South California. We're talking everything south of Madera, with the coastal counties (and Los Angeles) left behind. A real conservative haven of low taxes and limited regulation.

And I say: Go for it, pal. I'm completely with you.

Imagine what would happen if Supervisor Stone got his way. There would be no more budget paralysis in the California Legislature. Democrats would control two-thirds of both houses and could pass a budget that included higher taxes on the rich and big corporations. Candidates for governor wouldn't have to worry about getting votes from the conservative parts of the state, so they could talk more honestly about the major issues. Same-sex marriage would pass the first week. Pot would be legal. The death penalty would be gone in a year or two.

It might take a while longer to amend Prop. 13, but with the ability to raise revenue instead of just cutting, California could begin to fund the schools adequately, rebuild the state university system, and move forward with projects like high-speed rail.

And let's remember: those counties that want to leave? They elect representatives who won't vote for taxes — but they are the biggest beneficiaries of state revenues. The northern and coastal counties, the more liberal ones, pay more in taxes than we get in services. Our taxpayers are subsidizing their tax haters.

So go on — leave. We'll keep our money here.

Now, just to our south and east would be a train wreck of a state with few public services — but South California would still be part of America, so people could move north without worrying about immigration papers. I'd propose that we set up a state fund to resettle refugees from Republicanland.

And maybe, after a while, the people who have to live with crappy schools and crumbling roads will look across the border and say, Why do they have it so good? And maybe they'll start to think differently about the role of government.