(Editor’s Note: In 1993, then state legislator Stan Statham offered a bill to divide California into different states, which passed the Assembly. In view of Siskiyou County supervisors’ vote to support the county seceding from California, we asked him to reflect on that effort.
Twenty years ago on June 10, 1993, I was able to convince a majority of elected officials in the California Assembly to allow California citizens to vote on whether or not our once golden state should be divided into three new states. The final vote was evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. At that time, I was the Assistant Republican Leader and was supported by Democrat Speaker Willie Brown. The vote was 48 ayes and 27 noes.
That was yet another milestone moment on California’s 163-year history of trying to divide itself and “start over.” When California got statehood in 1850, United States President Zachary Taylor took the position that our state would be too big to properly manage in the future. He certain knew what he was talking about. It is not too late to hear him now.
I spoke to roughly 100 citizens in Yreka two months ago and discovered they were still trying to escape Sacramento’s control, as they have been since World War II when 7000 citizens traveled there to start the State of Jefferson. They were complaining about a new Fire Fee without a vote of the people and asking me why California needed another 6 to 8 billion dollars to balance its budget (Proposition 30 – November 2012).
They know they live and work in the back forty, but they still don’t think they should be ignored. They were stunned when I told them their Senator Ted Gaines represented them as well as citizens as far south as Roseville. Each state senator represents approximately one million constituents now. That is such a bad ratio of representatives to their constituents; it has to be poor representation. Personal contact is almost impossible.
I am in the process of writing a book to be published in December on dividing California and I have just activated a new website (TwoCalifornias.com). I impatiently wait for my friends and former colleagues in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. to contact me for help and direction on how to divide a state within its borders. It has been done four times already in America’s history. Maine left Massachusetts, Vermont left New York and Kentucky and West Virginia came out of the original Virginia. It is time to divide again.
Thank you, Siskiyou County!