Residents of the predominantly rural area of Northern California are tossing around ultimatums about seceding from the state, according to the LA Times.
Modoc and Siskiyou counties have both voted to secede and form a new state called “Jefferson”. Their proposed flag dates back to a previous attempt to gather support for secession in 1941. Nearby Tehama county has plans to put the matter before voters while efforts to organize similar movements have begun in other neighboring counties.
While northern Californian residents express they are not fairly represented by current state government, many cite the growing urban/rural cultural divide in Californian culture as part of the reason for the desire to secede. Barber shop owner John Lisle, 55, whose business walls are adorned with the heads of bear, elk, and tiny stuffed Bigfoot bedecked as a cheerleader and carries a little sign announcing Jefferson as the 51st state, talks about the area’s need for water and fire prevention as something separate than in urban areas.
72 year-old resident and former logger Punky Hayden, from the Marble Mountain region said, “We’re governed by Los Angeles and San Francisco,” said when interviewed by the Times. “We live by their rules, and we don’t like living by their rules.” When asked about the possibility of successful secession, however, Hayden was not very hopeful. “I’m an optimist,” stated Hayden, “but I’m not that much of an optimist.”
While some residents seem determined to invest a lot of effort into secession despite the need for U.S. Congressional approval, some officials have not been overly concerned by secession camps over the past few years. Said one official in Governor Jerry Brown’s camp in 2011, “A secessionist movement? What is this, 1860?” He scoffed, referring to the South’s secession from the Union. “It’s a supremely ridiculous waste of everybody’s time.”