SoCal secede? Why is this bad?

An LA Times map shows what the new state would look like

I've been talking for years now about how Californians would be better off if we split up the state. Why should those of us who want to live in a civilized society be held hostage to a small cadre of right-wing nuts who have paralyzed the Legislature and are interested only in destroying the public sector?

And now, one of those wingnuts seems to agree with me. A Riverside County supervisor named Jeff Stone wants to take 13 conservative counties from the south and the inland empire and create a new state of South California. I say: Why not?

Those counties vote for Republicans who vow to cut taxes and spending -- and, of course, those counties also get more in state money than they contribute in taxes. That is, San Franciscans and people in Los Angeles are subsidizing with our tax dollars counties that elect people who don't want taxes.

Fine. Leave us. Without those counties, California would have a two-thirds Democratic majority in both houses, easy. The state would be able to raise taxes to balance the budget. California's credit rating would improve and the cost of bonds would drop. A Democrat could run for governor without pandering to the conservatives. Maybe we could even get rid of the death penalty.

South California would be an economic basket case -- but it would still be part of America, so the Democrats and sane people who are stuck living there would be able to move north without worrying about ICE. I'd even propose setting aside a state fund (maybe equal to some percentage of what California now spends subsidizing the tax haters) to help pay relocation expenses for low-income liberal refugees.

Seriously: They want to leave, we don't want them here ... why not make everybody happy and let South California go?  


Riverside is a swing county.

The issue is not one of partisanship, it's one of a philosophical difference in the way different parts of the state views government. And on that basis alone it would seem to be quite rational to propose splitting the state in two, or maybe three or four.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 11, 2011 @ 1:01 pm

Lucretia and I actually agree on something! I must be off my rocker. What part of the state would you live in, Lucretia? Not the part that includes San Francisco, I suspect.

Posted by tim on Jul. 11, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

and own a home here, as well as work here. I would stay here. I have no desire to live in the red counties or in any red state for that matter. San Francisco can be annoying but it's MY kind of annoying and I wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

I've always supported this, my desire for sovereignty actually extends, ultimately, to the creation of a new CA/OR/WA-based country based around stable-state principles. Which is the premise of the novel "Ecotopia" as well. But this could be a nice way-station on to the ultimate goal of sovereignty for the coastal counties of the West Coast.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 11, 2011 @ 1:52 pm

Hey Lucretia, is the Guardian YOUR kind of annoying, too? Because that would explain so much.

Posted by rebecca on Jul. 11, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

Ernest Callenbach was right all of those years ago proposing an ecologically sustainable state of counties that touch salt water.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 12, 2011 @ 8:00 am

Both of his books on the topic, Ecotopia and Ecotopia Rising, are incredibly prescient in their assessment of the confluence of forces which led to secession in the west - rising corporate control, the destruction of the environment and the ending of environmental and consumer protections, endless war abroad and perhaps most importantly - the addiction to oil and to automobiles as the single, largest factor in the decline of the United States.

He wrote that in 1980 with Ecotopia Rising. And it's like he was looking into a crystal ball and writing about the events of today. There are many of us who share this vision and we're working on a project designed to begin an open discussion of the idea of redefining the relationship between the states and the federal government. None of us, the day we were born, agreed that the Constitution was a suicide pact and many of us aren't going to "go down with the ship" in blind adherence to such. Stay tuned for more.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 12, 2011 @ 8:16 am

We need to think about the impact this would have on Mexican immigrants.

If there were a state of S. California, not only would conservatives gain two more Senate seats, but the California/Mexico border would be solely lorded over by a conservative, immigrant hating state.

Right now our southern border stance is strongly mitigated by the influence of the liberals and progressives in the remainder of California.

It's a nice fantasy, this utopia of northern/coastal California. But in reality it could lead to nightmares which could cause real harm and death to thousands of people, and possibly even the ideological turning of the nation far more strongly against immigrants.

Remember the John Birch Society?

Do you really want these people to be in charge of a state of their own?

Homie don't play that...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jul. 16, 2011 @ 12:57 pm

The goal is zero population growth and a state based on stable-state principles would, in order to reach that goal, have next-to-no immigration. We don't want a fast-growing population, either because of natural growth or immigration - growth causes additional burdens on the ecosystem which it can ill-afford.

Our southern border has nothing to do with Northern California's "progressive leanings." The border is federalized and what people in NorCal think about it or Mexican immigrants is of very little importance to the Feds.

I am concerned about northern California - not how people in Michoacan or Baja feel about this proposal impacting their chances to enter the US.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 16, 2011 @ 4:38 pm

One look at Arizona (not to mention the San Francisco deportations triggered by our own Mayor's office encouraging those deportations) clearly shows your contention that this is just a federal issue, is false.

And the way to solve immigration and population problems, and their environmental impacts, is to stop economically devastating Mexico with our 'free trade' and dumping policies (especially in regard to corn) so that the Mexican economy becomes robust and Mexico's people no longer have to scramble to the States in a desperate attempt to get enough work to feed and house their families.

And of -course- you are only concerned about yourself and not people in Michoacan or Baja 'Lucretia', because you are a selfish, myopic, racist, who does not grasp the most fundamental law in human history.

As you do to the world, so will it do to you.

A red state in southern California would cause immeasurable suffering, and likely more death, on the California/Mexico border.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jul. 17, 2011 @ 7:24 am

By design it's a necessity to limit the number of new residents.

In the new state we're going to build here we really don't need purity progressives like yourself who mouth politically correct language but aren't ready to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve those goals - limiting immigration into a new country built around a slowly decreasing population being one.

You don't seem to get it. We could care less about red states or blue states because we're looking forward to complete secession - not the creation of a new state which remains in the federal United States. So what remains in this wretched country after we leave is of absolutely no concern to us. And that would include you as well Brooks.

As usual your puny mind can't grasp principles beyond the very basic.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 17, 2011 @ 8:05 am

Lucretia Alert! "Stable-state systems do not have much immigration"

Posted by vigilante on Jul. 17, 2011 @ 10:18 am

That we're your kind of annoying.

Posted by tim on Jul. 11, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

I've lived here longer than you and I'd bet I contribute a lot more, especially monetarily, as well.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 11, 2011 @ 2:40 pm

So Lucretia, I'm dying to know. How do you manage mortgage payments AND superior monetary contributions when you spend so much of your time commenting on SFBG?

Posted by rebecca on Jul. 11, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

She's probably in the class of people who don't actually do an honest days work. They just own stuff, and live off the exploitation of others' labor.

Posted by Greg on Jul. 11, 2011 @ 3:14 pm

You mean like Nancy Pelosi?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 11, 2011 @ 3:29 pm

Nancy Pelosi actually does have a real job, but she has definitely enriched herself far beyond what her mere salary would allow. That raises serious questions about whether her investments have benefitted from her legislative work.

Posted by Greg on Jul. 11, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

Well, that's a surprise. Since Pelosi won her last election with 80% of the vote I doubt she really gives a shit what you or the other tut-tutting "progressives" think.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 11, 2011 @ 7:58 pm

And exactly how, is your useless snide platitudinous comment relevant to this discussion 'Lucretia'?

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jul. 11, 2011 @ 10:20 pm

A lady never telleth.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 11, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

I'm OK with them seceding, especially of they take Texas and just quit the country altogether. I'm just not sure what we do about the border. Up to now, I've always liked the idea of open borders; we're all just people trying to get along, you know? But if the yahoos were all on the other side, I guess I'd kind of like them to stay there.

Posted by Guest CityTrucker on Jul. 11, 2011 @ 7:03 pm

The nice thing about this deal is that the folks who want to secede want to STAY in South California. They don't want to cross our borders. (Of course, we'd let them if they wanted to. As long as they paid taxes.)

Posted by TR on Jul. 11, 2011 @ 7:30 pm

Well, when they've cut down all their trees and poisoned all their rivers via "business friendly" policies, they are going to want to come here. Just thinking ahead. Of course then maybe they'll have learned a few things and will be willing to work for 20 cents an hour for the chance at a "better life"

Posted by Guest on Jul. 11, 2011 @ 10:12 pm

the nation and the State until you end up with a sovereign nation that suits you perfectly?

I'm guessing that would be the Eastern half of your Zip Code.

Posted by Walter on Jul. 12, 2011 @ 7:10 am

It's not "anti" anyone. It's pro-local control and allowing people to make and feel the consequences, positive or negative, from their decisions - especially those based around funding.

That's not "Balkanization." That's American. The age of large empires stretching from sea to sea, lumping in disparate groups of people with little in common between them, is coming to an end. You saw it with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, of the breakup of Yugoslavia, the "velvet divorce" of the Czech Republic and Slovakia and now of North and South Sudan. Granting autonomy isn't "Balkanization." Forcing groups of people to live together in artificial states held together by nothing, especially as the US Constitution, previously the binding force of the nation, has now been shredded by corporate political control, is the problem.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 12, 2011 @ 8:21 am

You're right in that after the cold war these nations broke apart, but is that the natural order, to devolve into smaller nations and states based on race, language and religious differences? I hope not.

It's interesting that the remnants of the one worlder empire and it's various client states wanted to break away right off after dissolution. Doesn't bode well for the world vision of the citizen of the world leftist and their one people of the world rhetoric.

Also places like the Sudan and Iraq are created states. If the people had been left to define their own borders Iraq would be three states, based on religion.

The splitting of the state will never happen in the near future, we of course know that. It would be interesting if states could break up, it would be interesting in a Missouri compromise sort of way. Texas breaks up into four republican senator states just to be a pain in the ass. Alaska splits off the panhandle. The state of Jefferson makes its own state. Along with SC that would be 12 new republican senators.

Be careful what you wish for.

Posted by matlock on Jul. 12, 2011 @ 9:08 am

In that states, with defined borders and allegiance, are relatively new creations.

There is growing regionalism in the United States. And the empty rhetoric from our "leaders" about the power and strength of this nation is wearing thin. The argument that breaking up could lead to worse it an oldie but a goodie, but that's wearing thin too because things already aren't that great and people see them as not getting a whole lot better in the future. In the face of the US's mounting problems, especially the threat of a catastrophic default, new ways of thinking are going to come to the fore.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 12, 2011 @ 11:15 am

...decentralization is the natural state at this time.

The Italian and German states formed up on nationalism not that long ago really, the post cold war falling apart hinges on religion and old nationalism. Germany couldn't wait to get back together in 90. The EU seems to be working out in general.

The only thing the divides people up seems to be; religion, culture, language and economics. Thing that are not going to be that strong of a decentralizing force in the USA.

Posted by matlock on Jul. 12, 2011 @ 3:01 pm

conclusion would put you on the side of the South in the Civil War. You'd argue that the rights of the southern States to preserve slavery and "their ways" trumps the ability of a central government or "Union" to coerce them otherwise.

Be careful for what you wish for.

But then, since this will never happen, it's just a fun thought experiment.

Posted by Walter on Jul. 12, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

In every single way we'd be better off - more progressive, more cohesive, more stable, more meritocratic. We never should have fought the Civil War and we should have just let the South go - slavery would have ended anyway as it was economically unsustainable.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 12, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

Wow, first ecotopia, now this, agreeing twice in one day.

Every time the festering wound of the civil war is torn open every 20 years or so, they do so spitting on the memory of 365,000 union soldiers who gave their lives to win the damn war--question settled.

The US is way to big, like California and should split up into bioregions so that California will not have to subsidize southern socialist libertarianism and coastal California will not have to subsidize the red county's socialist libertarianism.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 12, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

On this issue at least ;-)

You know, Governor Pat Brown felt the same way - that the state should be split up. He never said it publicly but he said it privately on numerous occasions.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 12, 2011 @ 1:53 pm

Leave Yosemite in California. The rest can join West Arizona.

Posted by John on Jul. 12, 2011 @ 9:57 am

If you let the wingnuts take Yosemite, within a few weeks they'll be demolishing Half Dome in their quest for oil shale.

Posted by MJB on Jul. 14, 2011 @ 2:56 pm

Hetch-Hetchy Dam, and restore that beautiful, pristine wilderness to it's former glory.

I'm sure SFBG, with it's impeccable liberal and environmental credentials, would be happy about that, right?

Posted by Walter on Jul. 14, 2011 @ 3:16 pm

Would make an excellent state. But I fear it lacks adequate economic activity.

Seriously, there is, off course, the danger of new GOP senators. But Washington and national policy is so badly broken now that I see politics and policy devolving to state and local government anyway.  And if we split CA into three states (Jefferson in the north, California running from Sonoma to Los Angeles and South California taking the Valley, San Diego and Orange County) you might get four Democratic senators and two Republicans. (Tho you never know how Jefferson would vote -- but once pot was legal there, it would be the state that had all the water and a $20 billion agricultural industry.)

Never happen? I wouldn't go that far. The political system is falling apart pretty fast.

Posted by tim on Jul. 12, 2011 @ 10:26 am

Jefferson would be fervently opposed to legalizing pot, if the sentiment in Humboldt County extended to the whole state.

Posted by CarolineSF on Jul. 12, 2011 @ 1:56 pm


You said:

'Those counties vote for Republicans who vow to cut taxes and spending -- and, of course, those counties also get more in state money than they contribute in taxes. That is, San Franciscans and people in Los Angeles are subsidizing with our tax dollars counties that elect people who don't want taxes.'

Serrano versus Priest decided that a school district should not get less just because it pays less in taxes. As a result many school districts get far more than they pay in taxes. Would you like to reverse that, too?

Posted by Don Krause on Jul. 12, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

In past presidential elections, the Democratic candidate could count on California's 55 electoral votes. By splitting the state, it may diminish the number of votes the Democrat could count on.

Posted by Guest Ralph E. Stone on Jul. 13, 2011 @ 10:45 am

Obviously have no understanding of where they get a bulk of their energy and agriculture from. Way to come off like total elitists.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 13, 2011 @ 8:22 pm

I was just making the point that these counties that always complain about taxes are the ones that benefit the most from other people's taxes.

Posted by tim on Jul. 14, 2011 @ 10:40 am

would be the closest thing to an Aztlan that could exist.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 14, 2011 @ 3:01 pm


I know what your point was, Tim, and I have to say it was not very well-taken.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander. If you agree that these "freeloading" counties ought not to be supported by the counties that pay more, then it follows that counties with school districts that receive more than they pay in school revenue ought to be required to join the confederacy, too. Urban school districts typically receive outsized shares of categorical funding, almost one-third of all education dollars - counties like San Francisco would come to mind.

Your article was devoid of sense and even less funny.

Posted by Don Krause on Jul. 14, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

I'm good with it. They can have all the conservatives, and we'll keep all the water.....

Posted by Beowulf Shaeffer on Jul. 15, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

Each state gets two Senators. Adding two more conservative Senators would tip the balance of power towards the GOP in the US Senate. I assume this is the intent behind this whole secession movement. It's about a Federal power play. As I always say, you have to look at all the angles.

Posted by mxsurban on Jul. 16, 2011 @ 5:11 am

Each state gets two Senators. Adding two more conservative Senators would tip the balance of power towards the GOP in our upper legislative body. I assume this is the intent behind this whole secession movement. It's about a Federal power play. As I always say, you have to look at all the angles.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 16, 2011 @ 5:25 am

This is not about national politics, the balance of the two parties nationally or locally or anything else other than the promotion of CA's concerns first. This is the development of a regional identity into something more powerful - a cohesiveness strong enough to carry us forward towards a new, more equitable relationship between the constituent parts of this country and the federal government - whatever form that may take.

This is a way station on the way to an ultimate goal of separation, at least for me. With separation - everything is possible.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 16, 2011 @ 11:55 am


I missed your point. What is possible?

Posted by Don Krause on Jul. 25, 2011 @ 8:56 am