County Votes to Study Secession From California

County Votes to Study Secession From California

County Votes to Study Secession From California: Californians continued to support progressive leadership in the November elections. Still, residents of one of the most populous counties in the state are so fed up with this political course that they voted to contemplate seceding and founding their state.

San Bernardino County, which has 2.2 million residents, supported an advisory ballot measure ordering local officials to investigate the possibility of secession. The narrow victory is the most recent indicator of California’s political turmoil and financial hardship.

This quest to establish a new state—the first since Hawaii in 1959—is a longshot for the county east of Los Angeles, which has seen steep rises in the cost of living. It would depend on Congress’ and California’s legislatures’ approval, both of which are highly doubtful.

Even yet, it’s noteworthy that the vote came from a politically divided county that is both the largest in terms of territory and racial and ethnic diversity, as well as the fifth most populous in the state. More domain is contained in San Bernardino’s 20,000 square miles (51,800 square kilometers) than in nine states.

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The votes reflect the disenchantment some voters feel with a Democratic-dominated state legislature that has done nothing to address the expanding homelessness crisis, skyrocketing housing costs, and rising crime rates while residents continue to pay some of the highest taxes in the nation.

That is, “According to Curt Hagman, chairman of the Board of Supervisors that put the issue on the ballot, there is “generally a lot of discontents” with the state government and how tax monies are used, with much too little going to the county. The county will examine whether local governments in the Inland Empire received an equitable distribution of billions of dollars in state and federal subsidies.

“It’s been a hard few years” for locals, according to Hagman, from record inflation to conflict over protracted state epidemic measures. The proposition was criticized by Kristin Washington, chair of the San Bernardino County Democratic Party, as a political ploy to turn out conservative voters rather than a gauge of popular opinion.

She claimed that voters’ time was wasted by having it on a ballot. Because of all the steps involved, “the option of seceding from the state is not even realistic.” Democratic voters currently exceed Republicans in San Bernardino County by a 12-point margin. However, Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom lost the county in November by 5 points.

Last year, he survived a recall effort sparked by opposition to pandemic health decrees that closed down businesses and schools. California was one of the first states to shut down schools and switch to online education, and it was also one of the last to allow students to return to classroom instruction.

The decision might be interpreted as partially a reaction to the state’s objectives because Democrats control both the state legislature and the congressional delegation in California, which is known as a breeding ground for liberal policies on topics like immigration, health care, and labor. San Bernardino County was once firmly Republican territory. Still, due to recent population expansion, it has changed to become more diverse and Democratic, mirroring trends in the nearby San Diego and Orange counties.

According to the California State Library, over 220 attempted attempts to divide California into as many as six smaller states have been made during the state’s 172-year history. The almost two dozen Northern California counties that were the target of earlier breakaway attempts to create a new “State of Jefferson” was primarily rural, conservative, and poorly populated.

Some of these secession attempts have been motivated by the rivalry between mining and agricultural interests and hostility to taxation. There have been plans to partition the vast state longitudinally into separate coastal and inland districts and north and south divisions.

Paul Leon, the mayor of this county, who supported the proposal, said: “Everyone outside this county thinks we are the wild, wild West.” Despite the size of the county, he claimed it “receives a pittance” in state and federal funding for transit, courthouses, and roads.

With a population of around 220,000, San Bernardino is the state’s third-largest metropolis after Los Angeles and San Francisco. Outside the cities, its neighborhoods include quiet suburbs crisscrossed by freeways, mountain towns flanked by towering pines, and remote desert havens such as bohemian Joshua Tree. Many towns are facing difficulties due to inflation and the economy. In 2019, the county’s unemployment rate was 9.5%, and 12.2% of households were below the poverty level. This was before the pandemic.

Director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West William Deverell remarked, “I tend to be quite dubious of these secession tactics. The jurisdictional chopping block is unlikely to solve the state’s problems, according to Deverell in an email. He is leery of the “hubris” that might lead someone to say, “If only this region of the state could go its own way, as we are not the cause of the issue.”

Since the idea was approved, the county’s next move is to set up a committee with representatives from the public and private sectors to analyze financing and compare San Bernardino to other counties.

Even though California’s economy is on track to surpass that of the United States to move up to the fourth-largest economy in the world, many communities in the Inland Empire are experiencing financial hardship. The state declared that the 2.7 million jobs the state lost at the beginning of the pandemic have all been recovered this month. However, estimates for a $25 billion budget deficit in 2019 and indications of an unstable economy—including layoffs in the previously dominant tech sector—are both presents.

According to a Hoover Institution analysis, 352 businesses relocated their corporate headquarters from California to neighboring states between 2018 and 2021. The 39 million-person state population has declined after decades of development, partly because people move to places with more affordable housing and lower taxes. The state will shrink from 53 to 52 seats in the House of Representatives in 2023 due to the declining population.

Housing costs regularly exceed $1 million in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other major urban areas, and they are rapidly rising. The homeless situation in many places has not improved despite billions of dollars in public funding. All of this has sparked a discussion over the state’s future, which has long been mythologized as a land of opportunity.

According to political scientist Jack Pitney of Claremont McKenna College, “many Californians are unhappy in various ways,” citing high living costs, record gas prices, and real estate prices that are beyond reach for many working-class families.

“The secession vote was like breaking china. Although it serves as a means of gaining attention, Pitney noted that it ultimately achieves little. Even Hagman stated that he does not want to see his home state divided, even though he believes that the measure’s approval is a significant expression of anger at Sacramento. I want to stay a part of California,” he declared. I’m happy to call California home.