Editor's notes

If SoCal wants to secede, who is stopping it?

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(16)

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.

Comments

There's now a Facebook Page dedicated to building progressive support for this move: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Progressives-Liberals-Supporting-Secession...

Posted by Guest on Jul. 13, 2011 @ 11:05 am

You have been reading about how people are beating it out of the city when their kids get older, they move to cities with better schools and better roads. If SF is a microcosm of your vision, good intentions have already failed.

"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."

Posted by matlock on Jul. 13, 2011 @ 11:43 am

Not sure where you get your misinformation? Progressive Bay area schools (including SF) are among best in state. (With exceptions - Edison Elementary, long a privatized for-profit is one example - but we are quick learners, & Edison is changing to be a real community charter school!) Riverside County - not so much. Weak test score performances down there, even tho they have far fewer challenges of urban schools. Click on dots here for relative performances based on test scores: http://school-ratings.com/svg/index.html

Posted by Guest on Jul. 13, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

Needless to say, the Jeff Stone story appeared on the radar of my friends and I, old 80s era environmental canvassers for the League of Conservation Voters, who led the door-to-door effort against Prop (17?) the proposal to build the hated Peripheral Canal in the Delta, a project that would suck more No. Cal water south. Of the 75-90 doors each canvasser would knock on, at least 20 people would give money and large numbers would simply exclaim "and you can split the state too!" We realized that while this wan not a big enough number to win an election (yet..) it was a sizable fundraising base.

When the Stone story hit I called his office (got only messages and no return calls) and I can only assume that the Supervisor did not present his motion at the July 12 meeting as earlier accounts mentioned. I even called the reporter at the Riverside Press-Register, a Duane Gang at 951-368-9547 but no reply, but perhaps he will talk to you.

Anyway, I was working for the Sierra Club as a minor data entry after a few years as the SF LCVs press person (i still had to hit doors three nights a week), when I came up with the idea of stating a faction in the California Democratic Party, one based on retaining the water up north until a fair price was paid, splitting the state officially, and unofficially, being more 'deep-ecology,' actually muttering about seceding from America, an obvious impossiblity (hey, we were young!). Some of us had read (and I had met in person) Ernest Callenbach, the author of a sci-fi eco fantasy called Ecotopia. We decided on Democrats for Alta California and a designer friend made us a swell logo with the bear and the outline of the northern half of the state.

To make a long story short, we raised hell at the State Democratic Convention in 1982, having won delegates in 5 or six districts, then discovering we were in the majority at the Environmental Caucus, allowing us to choose the elected chair. This person then got in Willie Brown's face who openly belittled the Greens and may have lost Tom Bradley their endorsement later that year. We then ran around the event with a radical water resolution that the Southerners, in fear, put late on the open convention ballot on the last day, waited till the ceremonial proposal came out and people started going home. Our resolution came up, the South asked for a quorum count, claimed we no longer had one, and then closed the convention.

DAC broke up in 1983 when we neglected to refile our PAC papers but by then we had all moved on.

I offered to my friends that if we took the Jeff Stone story, got the right address lists, and did a direct mail for an exploratory research office on splitting the state, we could easily raise 250-300K, easily. One handicap for myself however, I now live and work full time in Asia and only by coincidence found myself back in the USA and SF for July this year.

Contact me if you would like to talk with me or other former DAC.

Posted by S. A. Serrano on Jul. 17, 2011 @ 9:10 am

As I and others stated on another thread, if this foolish idea actually came into being, Republicans would likely take over the U.S. Senate, and a racist, immigrant hating state of S. California would wreak true havoc on Mexican immigrants; and enforce a draconian California/Mexico border that would become a horror zone.

One could also expect to kiss the Colorado river good-bye with corporate, pro-developer, and big factory ag forces lording over it in S. California.

Imagine the impact this latter problem would have on Los Angeles.

Let's think about consequences in the real world...

Posted by vigilante on Jul. 17, 2011 @ 10:38 am

that your opinion as fact always involves some straw man argument conjoined with ravings about race?

Posted by matlock on Jul. 17, 2011 @ 11:08 am

Troll Alert "Do you ever think its strange"=Empty Matlock Attack

Posted by vigilante on Jul. 17, 2011 @ 1:20 pm
No

That's the progressive manner of arguing.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 17, 2011 @ 2:12 pm

Vigilante, the Republicans ran the US Senate when the Democrats had a supermajority. I do not think that a formal Republican Senate majority will be that different from the informal Republican Senate majority.

I am concerned about immigrant rights, but would not put self determination for Northern California, a matter that benefits existing residents and citizens, legal and not, on hold for the issue of immigration.

At some point, the interests of citizen and legal resident working people in the US has to dominate progressive politics if it is to be viable.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 17, 2011 @ 1:54 pm

All quite true, but there is a bigger concern.

If the extreme right wing were to establish a beach head in a new state with a lot of economic power, it could be the tipping point to push the whole nation over the edge into a new Brown-Shirt era of extreme fascism.

Is it fair that Northern California has its own freedoms undermined so that it can remain a mitigating factor to southern conservative extremism?

No.

Is that our reality.

I would argue yes.

Until we turn the tide against the new fascism, we need to be careful about giving that movement its own special new soil in which to grow.

Posted by vigilante on Jul. 17, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

Besides vigilante's very real political points..

Part of my childhood was spent in San Diego, and it is very deeply in my own heart as real and true California. The whole state has a very specific feel, physical presence and even beautiful smell to it which truly belongs to me and other California natives. I was born in L.A. And I grew up in Inyo county which supposedly would become part of this proposed right wing conservative state.

I don't want somebody arbitrarily taking away part of my beloved and largely pristine homeland from me just so they can achieve a political end.

California should stay whole, the way it belongs.

Think for example what might happen to the National and State parks and forests in Southern and Eastern California if we allow some right wing state to evolve there. That would be an incredible tragedy...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jul. 17, 2011 @ 2:49 pm

Just in a different form. The grinding down of the state's infrastructure under Prop 13 and the "no new taxes" policies of the right are more of a threat to this state than splitting it up ever would be.

The proposal by the San Bernadino supervisor is a non-starter. But CA as it exists now is not working and there is a strong argument that splitting it would be good for the whole as well as the constituent parts.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 17, 2011 @ 3:17 pm

Prop 13 is on its way out. People are getting fed up and are -waking- up.

Getting rid of the 2/3rd vote requirement on legislative budgets was just the beginning.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jul. 17, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

Eric, as I learned in NYC last month, the place where you grow up is no longer there when you're older, you cannot go back.

I'm all for devolution and decentralization.

However, I agree that there are significant issues with attaching Mono and Inyo counties to SoCal.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 17, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

Regardless of the 'you can't go home factor' the environmental factor is unavoidable and far more important. If we split up California, protected natural areas would undergo extensive destruction.

California is a bastion of habitat protection and must remain so for the sake of, not just those ecosystems, but the planet itself.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jul. 17, 2011 @ 8:50 pm

Vigilante, such sentiment and political power is already growing in the red counties.

How much longer will we have to wait until the tens of millions of us so inclined towards liberalism and progressivism can make any progress?

Looks to me like the goalposts are always being moved further and further back while Lucy is always lifting the ball away as soon as we're poised to make a kick.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 17, 2011 @ 5:00 pm