Northern rural counties of California have a movement to separate from California. The idea has widespread backing from frustrated residents craving economic opportunity and control.
Majority votes are required in the state Legislature and U.S. Congress for separation to occur. The last state to do so was West Virginia — in 1863 — and dozens of regions across the U.S. have since seen their efforts fizzle, most recently last month when just five of 11 Colorado counties voted to form an independent state.
Between now and mid-February, town hall meetings are scheduled in Butte, Glenn, Sutter and Del Norte counties. Del Norte organizer Aaron Funk is stepping down from nearly half a dozen local boards to focus full time on the withdrawal movement. The vote at one recent meeting of core volunteers: to study up on precedent and begin plotting logistics.
Tim Draper’s Six California’s
Late this month another voice joined the mix: Citing the State of Jefferson movement as inspiration, Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper launched a state ballot initiative [sixcalifornias.info] to carve up California — into six states.
Political analysts say congressional Democrats would never go for it. But an elated Baird is working to arrange a meeting with Draper.
The debate over the State of Jefferson often boils down to a balance sheet. Laufer’s tally from the state Department of Finance concluded that California’s four northernmost counties take in $20 million or so more per year from Sacramento than they provide.
Draper proposes that one of the new states be called Silicon Valley. It would include San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties, as well as nontech hotbeds San Benito, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.
As for the wine country, sorry Bay Area: Napa, Sonoma and even Marin counties would become part of new North California.
Then again, Draper wrote in the ballot proposal that was submitted last week to the state Attorney General’s Office, counties would have the option to switch states, “creating competition which will lead to more responsive governance.”
The Mercury News asked how much of Draper’s own fortune he plans to sink into his latest political crusade, Draper deadpanned: “As little as possible.” Then he added, “I’ll make sure it gets on the ballot, so that Californians have a chance to make the decision.”