A public official pushing for a breakaway state in Southern California is seeking corporate sponsorship for an idea that has been embraced by local government but rejected by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Riverside County Board Member Jeff Stone, a Republican, has cited the dysfunction of California's state government in calling for a new state comprised of 13 of 58 counties. The Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to allow Stone to convene a statewide meeting on South California, and now he is seeking financial support from corporations he believes are discouraged by California's onerous regulations and unresponsive government.
I don't think the funding is going to be a problem, Chief of Staff Verne Lauritzen told Bloomberg. There are some large corporations that have been chased out of California that would be willing to assist.
Gil Duran, a spokesman for the governor, dismissed the idea as a silly fantasy and added that the question of secession was answered definitively in 1865 when General Lee surrendered at the Appomattox Courthouse. History would seem to vindicate Duran -- proposals to partition California have surfaced more than 200 times since the state was formed in 1850, most recently in 1992, none with success.
Rather than a simple North-South divide, Stone's proposal hews more to partisan fault lines separating the state's more liberal coast from its more conservative interior. In Arizona it is the opposite, with liberals frustrated by the state's rightward drift -- evidenced by policies such as a harsh new immigration law -- seeking a ballot measure to transform Pima County into Baja Arizona, a new state.
It sends a huge message not only to the legislature, and not only to the voters of Arizona, but it sends a huge message to the rest of the country that not everybody in the state is ideological and crazy, said Paul Eckerstrom, who is leading the Arizona push.