Another View

Another View: Siskiyou’s bid to secede is hardly a ‘silly stunt’

Special to The BeeSeptember 15, 2013 

Stan Statham is a former member of the California Assembly.

The Sacramento Bee recently opined against a decision by Siskiyou County to leave California (“Siskiyou secession is a silly stunt,” Sept. 6). Countless people already know that Siskiyou County has been trying to leave California for well over half a century. No one should call the attempt to leave our state a silly stunt!

When Gov. Jerry Brown first started his record-breaking quest for governor in 1974, he even said “small is beautiful.” I believe he should have said our beautiful state is too big.

There has been a culture and economic difference between Yreka and San Francisco/Los Angeles since World War II. In 1941, a new State of Jefferson was on the cusp of success, until the Japanese attacked. Siskiyou County and three other counties from Northern California and Curry County from southern Oregon were to become the State of Jefferson. That would have been our 49th state. That war made the proposed new state temporarily unimportant.

It is not a silly stunt when anyone argues for self-government. There is no time like the present for Siskiyou County to take back control. Our third president, Thomas Jefferson, said: “A little rebellion now and then is good for the sound health of government.” And, there is no reason to panic. Maine left Massachusetts, Vermont left New York, and Kentucky and West Virginia started in and came from the original Virginia. Our U.S. Constitution gives us the rules to get this civilized rebellion done.

I personally spoke with many citizens in Yreka very recently. Their fervor and anger is very justified. They continue to feel ignored. They talked mostly about “our lousy government” but also brought many valid points to my attention. Among their grievances is a Legislature that can’t truly balance a state budget but passes a bill creating a rural fire fee without a vote of all citizens. That certainly is not the California the fine people of Siskiyou County had in mind in the 1940s or now.

I am in the process of writing a book entitled “Splitting California” that I plan to publish near Christmas. Former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown has already written the preface and has helped me with the public policy benefits that we believe will occur when the division of our once Golden State happens. I have also already activated a new website ( http://www.twocalifornias.com) where everyone can learn more and follow our progress. Let us begin to start our beautiful state over!

Stan Statham, who served in the Assembly from 1976 to 1994, is a recovering politician and president/CEO of the California Broadcasters Association.

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