Is the state of California preparing for a colossal split?
If Republican Jeff Stone has anything to do with it, that's exactly what will happen. Stone has asked fellow members of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors to support a motion to bring together officials from 13 counties to discuss the idea.
The proposed 51st state would be the fifth largest by population, more populous than Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania. South California would also take nearly a third of the population away from California.
A vote on this proposal is scheduled for Tuesday, July 12. Were it to go through, Stone would have to leap though countless hurdles to have his plan succeed.
Stone argues that California is too big to govern, a situation that has led the state to raid local government coffers due to runaway spending. Stone sees the challenges in his proposal, but believes it's an achievable goal.
Keep in mind, even if leaders of the proposed 13 counties got serious about secession, the U.S. constitution says no new state can be formed without the consent of Congress and the state Legislature.
Stone's efforts are the latest in a historical trend of secession movements in California dating back to the 1850s. More than 220 campaigns to split the state into halves or even thirds have been bandied about, echoing concerns that the state is far too big to properly address the concerns of its people.
Stone's state of South California would omit Los Angeles County and instead encompass coastal Orange and San Diego counties, as well as the sparsely populated inland areas up to Madera and Mono counties.
Combined, these counties total about 13 million people and constitute a largely Republican base of voters.
For a state that is called South California, Los Angeles is notably missing.
Los Angeles is purposely excluded Stone told the Los Angeles Times, because they have the same liberal policies that Sacramento does. The last thing I want to do is create a state that's a carbon copy of what we have now.''
Gil Duran, a spokesman for California Gov. Jerry Brown, said Stone's proposal is a supremely ridiculous waste of everybody's time.
If you want to live in a Republican state with very conservative right-wing laws, then there's a place called Arizona, Duran told the Los Angeles Times.
If Stone's proposed succession passes on Tuesday during a meeting of the Board of Supervisors, it will be a long and bumpy road to the South California of his dreams.
With a record of 220 succession attempts and 0 victories, history is not on Stone's side.