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'South California': The only escape from Sacramento's sweeping failure? [Reader poll]

July 12, 2011 |  1:21 pm

California map To escape Democratic failure, Republican Supervisor Jeff Stone proposed that 13 of California’s inland counties break with the rest of the state to become "South California." The Riverside County Board of Supervisors will discuss the possibility of a statewide planning summit for the nation's 51ststate, which would include Riverside, Fresno, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Mono, Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego and Tulare counties -- all areas that are mostly Republican and have a total of 13 million residents.

Los Angeles County is not part of the plan because it has the same liberal problems as Sacramento, Stone said, and he wouldn't want the same situation replicated in the new state.

"A secessionist movement? What is this, 1860?" Gov. Jerry Brown’s spokesman, Gil Duran, said to the Press-Enterprise.

"It's a supremely ridiculous waste of everybody's time," Duran told The Times. "If you want to live in a Republican state with very conservative right-wing laws, then there's a place called Arizona.''

Riverside County should probably focus on fixing its $130-million revenue gap for next year, Duran said.

Lawmakers in "South California" would not have term limits, the legislature would be part time and there would be controls on property taxes, Stone said.

But Stone's "South California" could end up being the 52nd state if "Baja Arizona" beats it to the punch -- the southern region of Arizona is trying to escape the Republican politics its residents don't agree with. In fact, the group "Start Our State" symbolically declared its independence as the 51st state on July 2, according to the Tucson Sentinel. The group is trying to put a petition on the ballot in 2012 that would ask for the Legislature's permission for Pima County to ask Congress to consider making Baja Arizona its own state.

In order for a new state to be added to the nation, the state's legislature and Congress must consent to the addition, according to Article IV of the U.S. Constitution. Proposals to split California have come up more than 220 times since the 1850s. It's not likely to happen; a state hasn't been split since 1863 -- when West Virginia was created during the Civil War -- despite hundreds of proposals across the nation.

[For the Record, added 2:04 p.m. July 13: The original post stated that “Start Our State” symbolically declared independence as the 51st state on July 4. An update was added on July 13 to note that the group celebrated on July 2.]


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--Samantha Schaefer

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