Second county votes to secede from Ca...

Second county votes to secede from California

Posted in the Chicago Forum

Christopher Shay

Tempe, AZ

#1 Sep 26, 2013
Second county votes to secede from California
by Christopher Shay
September 25, 2013 | 5:01PM ET
A renewed effort in northern California to form the new state of Jefferson gains ground

Along Interstate 5 near Yreka, a Northern California town of about 8,000 people, the roof of an old hay barn informs drivers in bold, black letters they have entered the "State of Jefferson."

For over 70 years, a group of citizens in Northern California and Southern Oregon have pushed to unite their rural counties and secede from their respective states, creating a new state following the small-government ideals allegedly professed by Thomas Jefferson.

On Tuesday, a second California county joined the growing movement. Modoc County supervisors voted 4-0 in favor of secession, following in the footsteps of neighboring Siskiyou County that made a similar decision earlier this month.

Modoc County Board Chairwoman Geri Byrne told Al Jazeera that public sentiment was strongly in favor of passing the resolution. In a packed public meeting of about 40 people, Byrne said only two people spoke against secession.

Her constituents, Byrne said, are "frustrated," because rural counties have "no voice in the state of California."

Supporters of secession say that urban California holds sway in the halls of Sacramento, where both legislative houses are elected proportionally. Since California's 33 rural counties make up only 9 percent of the total population, rural residents simply are not represented, Byrne said.

"People in LA have no clue what we face," Byrne said. "We don't tell people in Los Angeles how to manage crime, so why should they tell us how to farm potatoes?"

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