South California the 51st State, Can It Happen?

By Mario Conde        

A Riverside County Supervisor has started a huge debate to see if Southern California should become the 51st State of the Union.

Under the proposal, Riverside, Imperial, San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino, Kings, Kern, Fresno, Tulare, Inyo, Madera, Mariposa and Mono counties would be asked to consider forming a 51st state, the State of South California. Boards of supervisors and city councils within those counties would be invited to meet and discuss the possible of secession from the State of California.

Stone, who represents the 3rd District of Riverside County, brought the issue to the County Board of Supervisors of secession last Tuesday for its deliberation but, instead, Stone opted to start a summit in the fall  and invite all the counties to see how to fix the State’s budgetary issues but the issues of splitting will continue to be on the table.  Supervisors argued that in this economic times it would be wrong to use County funds for a political reform action that could start a “Southern California” State.

Among the reasons Stone is pushing for this separation are: California’s taxes are among the highest in the nation yet the deteriorating services slip year after year while state officials prop up disastrous budget policies by draining resources needed to help local residents.

Political infighting has paralyzed California for more than decade, creating a state that is too large to govern.  And a huge portion of the state’s residents are on some form of public assistance and California has about 30 percent of the nation’s welfare load yet only 12 percent of the population.

Stone suggested the new state consider a part-time legislature, shifting governance more toward local control; also open for consideration would be doing away with term limits. Part-time legislators might receive only a $600 per month stipend and no other financial benefits except travel expenses to the new state capitol, he said.

The U.S. Constitution say that no new States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

Here in the Imperial County, County Board Chairman Jack Terrazas does not see this initiative a viable solution to the State’s problems and its only a waste of time.

“The way thing are right now at the State of California  and  even on the Federal level, our representatives cannot get together on a budget, they can’t get together on issues, there is no way there are going to get together for us to split up because they have to approve it. The state legislature and congress have to approve it. I don’t see how our legislators will approve separating the State when they cannot even agree on the budget.” Terrazas said. Supervisor District 1 John Renison echoed Terrazas’ comments and gave a slim chance for this idea to move forward and become a reality.