Another silly state split proposal
It's silly season again in California. For the sixth time in the last 25 years or so, a politician is suggesting the state needs to be split.
The interesting thing is that while the first four such fairly recent attempts involved a north-south divide roughly at the ridge atop the Tehachapi Mountains between Los Angeles and Bakersfield, the two most recent ones advocate roughly an east-west, inland-coastal split, with San Diego and Orange counties tacked onto the eastern, inland portion.
The latest secession proposal comes from Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone, a Republican previously best known for his fervent defense of since-discredited and disallowed electronic voting machines.
Stone wants to take his own county, along with the counties of Imperial, San Bernardino, Orange, San Diego, Kings, Kern, Fresno, Tulare, Inyo, Madera, Mariposa and Mono out of California and form a new state, which he tentatively dubs "South California."
The last successful split of this sort came in the Civil War era, when West Virginia was formed as a pro-Union state after the rest of Virginia joined the Confederacy.
Californians may be divided today, but feelings can't begin to compare with that era. So why does Stone want out of the current California?
"We have a state Legislature that has gone wild," he told a reporter just after the new state budget was approved in late June. "They just don't care. Their goal was to get a balanced budget so they could continue to get a paycheck. There is only one solution: A serious secession from the liberal arm of the state of California."
It's that last sentence that reveals the most about Stone's proposal and the previous one that came just two years ago from termed out Republican Assemblyman Bill Maze of Visalia. Maze also proposed an east-west split, with San Diego and Orange Counties included, but his quickly-ignored plan had the new state extending all the way to the Oregon state line.
In both cases, the demographic makeup of the new state would assure election of a Republican governor, mostly Republican legislators and two Republican U.S. senators.
So this can be seen as a move by disgruntled Republicans who have failed repeatedly to register anywhere near as many California voters as the rival Democrats.
They're tired of being outgunned politically by the state's two big coastal population centers around Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Stone and Maze might also be interested in becoming statewide officials in a new jurisdiction, since neither has a realistic hope of achieving that in the current California.
But the latest proposals ignore reality. No new state could arise without an overall "yes" vote of all Californians, which isn't likely. Plus, Congress would have to give its OK, also unlikely with a Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate.
These realities don't faze the likes of Stone and Maze, "We certainly can no longer overlook the radical-thinking paradigms that have invaded California, particularly in the last two decades," said Maze.