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  • Bruce Maiman

Bruce Maiman: Siskiyou wants to leave California? Why not let ’em?

Published: Tuesday, Sep. 10, 2013 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Saturday, Sep. 14, 2013 - 8:32 pm

A friend who manages 60 people in an industry known for high turnover takes the practical view: “If they don’t wanna be here, I don’t wanna keep ’em.”

That should be our approach to Siskiyou County. Supervisors there last week voted 4-1 in favor of seceding from California to become the state of “Jefferson.”

It’s not a new idea. A 1941 effort by several Northern California and Southern Oregon counties lost steam after World War II began. Shortly after President Barack Obama’s re-election, residents in all 50 states had posted petitions on the administration’s “We the People” website seeking the right to secede from the union. Went nowhere. Would’ve been hilarious if we all seceded, until we actually did.

One petition even called to deport anyone who’d signed any petition to secede. All we need now is a “Petition to Deport Everyone who signed a Petition to Deport Everyone who signed a Petition to Secede from the United States.”

Secession fever currently grips several counties in northeast Colorado and was most famously exploited by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who regularly threatened to remove Texas from America all while campaigning to be president of America. Go figure. Perry wasn’t much of a secessionist, though, declaring last January that while he shares the frustrations of many Americans, he “believes in the greatness of our Union and nothing should be done to change it.”

It’s too bad these secessionist movements peter out long before receiving the required blessing of both a statehouse and the U.S. Congress. Someone needs to succeed so all the Nobamanation crybabies can finally have a Galt’s Gulch mecca to call their own. One Sacramento Bee reader commented, “If they’re successful, I’m moving there!” Why wait? Go now. Contribute! “Courage of convictions,” et cetera! And if at first you don’t secede ...

Heck, I just may declare my backyard a new state. Not the front though. It’s too traditional.

Siskiyou’s frustration is understandable. These rural residents have little in common with the city slickers down south and feel thoroughly ignored by Sacramento. But when you’re a county of barely 45,000, what do you expect? Politicians don’t represent; they go where the votes are.

So give Siskiyou folks their own government. They can immediately toss that rural fire prevention fee – a big gripe among residents, according to the Redding Record Searchlight. With six towns of over 1,000 people each, a labor force of 20,000, a poverty rate of 17 percent, a per capita income of $22,179, and a fairly decent tourist industry, they should have no trouble raising revenue to pay for their own police and fire, infrastructure, schools, and countless programs that assist seniors and the poor, right?

Good luck. In 2010, when California was wallowing in massive budget deficits, a report by the Legislative Analyst’s Office found that the counties receiving the most per capita cash from Sacramento were those in California’s impoverished north – Del Norte, Modoc, Lassen, Siskiyou. In fact, Modoc County received more state tax dollars than all but one of California’s 58 counties, Tulare in the Central Valley. Today, nearly half of all of Siskiyou County’s revenue comes from the state.

Conversely, the report found that of the top 10 contributors of tax revenue to Sacramento, seven were Bay Area counties, and we all know what godless commies those people are.

The poor counties? Nearly all have more registered Republicans than Democrats, unfailingly elect anti-tax Republicans to office, and consistently and overwhelmingly vote against ballot measure proposing tax increases. Yet, in counties like Modoc and Siskiyou, more people than just about anywhere else depend on taxpayer-subsidized welfare of some kind to get by.

They want government to leave ’em alone, yet, they’re among the most dependent upon government, or as someone once described the Libertarian movement, “They have some great ideas. They just can’t figure out how to pay for ‘em.”

Calls for secession, here or anywhere, seem less a product of pragmatism and more the result of a spoiled society, entitlement inculcated, reflexively petulant when it doesn’t get its way – always the temper tantrum.

Well, talk is cheap. Whining is for insufferable brats. Here’s your chance to make lemonade out of lemons. Don’t just support Siskiyou with empty online comments and coffeehouse chatter. Put your money where your mouth is. Organize rallies. Tell your political representatives to grant secession. Better yet. Go to Siskiyou. Be a pioneer. Build your Shangri-La. If you fail, we’ll have our object lesson: Be careful what you wish for. If you’re successful, we’ll finally have a model by which we might be able to govern successfully. A win-win.

But just wait until the decent freedom-loving patriots of Weed and Dunsmuir tire of tyrants in Yreka telling them how to live, and vote to form a new state: Baja Jefferson. If they’re successful, I’m moving there!


Bruce Maiman is a former radio host who lives in Rocklin. Reach him at brucemaiman@gmail.com.

Read more articles by Bruce Maiman



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