The Republican-leaning rural county of Siskiyou, California has taken the first step toward seceding from the State.
County supervisors in Siskiyou, which lies in extreme Northern California along the Oregon border, voted 4-1Tuesday to secede, citing a strong dissatisfaction with the near absence of home rule. Ed Valenzuela, Chairman of the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors, cast the lone vote not to secede, saying the people had elected him to operate within the existing political structure.
The vote comes in response to pressure from residents who have complained that their interests are not represented in Sacramento, and that the legislature will continue to neglect their concerns over local resources – chiefly water – that are exploited to benefit the more populous areas of the State.
While the vote has no legal teeth, it does reflect a strong secessionist spirit that, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, predates World War II. Residents and some county leaders are encouraging neighboring Oregon and California counties to join the secession movement in the hope of realizing a decades-old dream of establishing a new U.S. State – the “State of Jefferson,” named in honor of the Nation’s third President.
“I haven’t had one contact in regard to this issue that’s in opposition,” county supervisor Michael Kobseff told the Chronicle.
The road to secession is likely to remain untraveled, however, since both the California Legislature and the U.S. Congress would have to recognize secession and the creation of a new State.