Voters in both counties have a chance to voice their sentiment next week.
Del Norte and Tehama counties, with a population of about 91,000, will hold a June 3 vote on a measure that asks each county’s board of supervisors to join a wider effort to form a state named Jefferson.
This is merely a plan to encourage local officials to further study the idea. The goal is to become the county’s 51st state. However, this approval would be coming from the state Legislature, and then Congress.
Elected officials in four California counties already joined the movement. Supervisor in a fifth county will vote on June 10, while local bodies in other northern counties are awaiting the June 3 ballot results prior to its decision what to do.
There were as many as 16 counties that opt in joining the California’s movement that makes up more than a quarter of the state’s land but only a small portion of its population. Aaron funk, one of the secession supporters in Del Norte County, noted that 11 northern counties shared just one senator in California’s Legislature, compare with 20 for the greater Los Angeles area and 10 for the San Francisco Bay Are.
“Essentially, we have no representation whatsoever,” he said. The main concern, of the residents who oppose the secession movement, is about the loss of millions of dollars from infrastructure to schools. The Del Norte County Board of Education, which receives $32 million in funding from the state, voted to oppose the initiative.
If it passes, local Kevin Hendrick worries that officials may waste their time and effort studying on how to create a new state instead of tackling important problems to be resolved such as fixing a crumbling highway that is in danger of falling into the ocean.
Hendrick said (who is leading the opposition in Del Norte): “It’s a lot of broad promises about things being better and representation being better. But the more they talk, the less clear it becomes about how that’s actually going to happen.”