The Daily Need

Splitting California in two

Most Californians will acknowledge (with some amusement) the informal, usually friendly antagonism that exists between the northern and southern halves of the state. Southern residents tend to scoff at northern cities like San Francisco and Berkeley, historically beacons of progressive politics, and northerners often cringe at the thought of the mostly conservative suburban sprawl of southern enclaves like La Jolla, Riverside and Orange County. In the midst of such vastly different cultures and political divides, jokes about splitting the state in two have always abounded.

Now, a Republican county official wants to make such a split happen.

Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone has proposed a plan for 13 southern California counties to secede from the rest of the state to form “South California,” a mostly inland area dominated by conservatives. Stone called California in its current state an “ungovernable” place suffering from economic mismanagement by Sacramento, with too much state spending on prisons and too lax a policy toward undocumented immigrants. Last week, Stone launched a website, CaliforniaRebellion2012.com, which outlines the movement’s many grievances against the way that California’s government has managed the state.

The proposed new state would encompass about 13 million residents, with the conspicuous exclusion of Los Angeles for having what Stone calls “the same liberal policies that Sacramento does.”

“South California,” as some have pointed out, is a slight misnomer given that the northernmost region of Mono County lies even farther north than San Francisco, though the majority of the counties included are within the southern half of the state. The more obvious division highlighted by Stone’s proposal, however, is between the coastal and inland areas, which contain cultural and political disparities all their own.

Secession is not a new premise for Californians: The New York Times notes that more than 200 secession proposals have been introduced in California in its 150-year history. In parts of northern California and southern Oregon, a World War II-era campaign to form a state called “Jefferson,” made up of 12 counties, was revived just three years ago.

Stone’s proposal, which was formally introduced to the Riverside Board of Supervisors last Tuesday, has been widely dismissed as a distraction and, according to one aide of California governor Jerry Brown, a “supremely ridiculous waste of everybody’s time.” Formal secession, which requires approval from the California state legislature as well as Congress in order to take effect, has been deemed by most observers as something unlikely to pass.

Despite these slim odds and the broad dismissal of Stone’s proposal as a political stunt, talk of secession within California does prompt a revisit to some of the more divisive political battles the state has endured in recent years. Although some 30 percent of California voters are registered as Republican, the state consistently votes along Democratic lines in presidential elections. And despite the liberalism that pervades more densely populated areas like San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles, in 2008 the state still passed Proposition 8, the referendum banning gay marriage, which is still undergoing a stream of battles in court. So while “South California” may never become a reality, the dream of it for some may be a testament to Californians’ longstanding political frustrations and their inability to find any viable solution to their political divisiveness.

 
SUGGESTED STORIES
  • thumb
    Behind the numbers
    Just who are the Latino voters in Florida?
  • thumb
    Anti-Islam rhetoric in politics
    The Norway bomber threw a spotlight on anti-Islam bloggers and activists. Here in the U.S., their rhetoric has influenced mainstream political discourse.
  • thumb
    Obama calls for debt compromise
    A "grand bargain" would seem impossible at this point, but Obama is still pushing for one. Lawmakers in both parties meanwhile, planned votes on their rival debt plans.

Comments

  • Anonymous

    perhaps “the old south california” would be more accurate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Donna-Kat/541326821 Donna Kat

    I grew up in San Bernardino California and think it would be a big win for Northern Califormia if the South did separate itself from the north.  Of course I thought that was true for the nation.  There might not be such an intense cultural war going on now if the nation had divided and we might not have turned into a nation of war makers.  Just a thought (with the additional query of what is the south going to do for water?)

  • Ekronick

    Too bad ‘South California’ would have little to no economy and would fall into a greater economic depression without the big cities of the coast.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VOWVTMNVOEIGOZFXUOUILLPOXU M Mackenzie

    What the Republicans in Southern California really want is to split from Northern California, and Los Angeles County. The funny thing is that many
    people in Northern California feel the same way, and would be thrilled to dump the southern half of the state. Neither half likes spending tax dollars on the welfare state of L.A. That city over the last twenty years or more has become “New Mexico City” with its high numbers of legal and illegal Mexican immigrants that suck money out of the state budget like an F5 tornado. If the Republicans in Southern California want to disassociate themselves from those nasty left wingers in the North, they should have to take L.A. too.

  • DexRichards

    Hopefully South California would start paying North California for the water that the southern part of the state has been using its majority vote to avoid.

  • Michaeldvdsn9

    HAHA YEA RIGHT WE HAVE NUMEROUS MIL BASES THAT SUPPORT SAN DIEGO AND YOU THINK THEYRE GOING ANYWHERE SAY WE DID SPLIT SAN FRAN RETADED OR LOS ANGELES WILL DEALL WITH THE INFLUX OF ILLEGALS MEDICAL BENEFITS CRIME AND BEG FOR CITIES LIKE SAN DIEGO TO REJOIN. NOR CAL IS A WASTE OF LAND TO ME. BY THE WAY FIRST 19 YRS I LIVED IN BAY AREA BORN AND RAISED SO DONT PREACH TO ME THE BENEFITS OF A DISGUSTING CITY LIKE SAN FRANCSISCO

  • Michaeldvdsn9

    San francisco and oakland tow cities that should go first they cointribute nothing, anymore. Nothing but activists illegal sanctuary high abortion,crime ,illiteracy, and welfare.

  • Gunslinger858

    We have a nuclear plant in the OC and import a lot of energy from arizona u bum

  • Varn Ford

    Simple, include the eastern Sierras in the conservative portion of California. The eastern portion of California and Southern California would split from the blue counties along the coast. Allow the coastal counties from the LA-OC county line north to three or four counties south of the Oregon state line to be a new state. Include only the coastal liberal counties in what would be called West California and include Sacramento. The rest of the state , which is mostly conservative red counties would retain the name California. This way the liberals can plan a destroy their own destiny and not interfere with that and the freedom of the more conservative southern counties and rural eastern regions. The liberal region would retain most of the population and thus more members of Congress in the House.

  • andrewjameson

    yo, I heard you like dick