Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Another California Divorce In The Works?

Well, now that the California Governator and Maria Shriver are officially split, it's time for another epic legal battle. So once again, ladies and gentleman, it's time for another proposal to split California itself as well. Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone (R-Temecula) is proposing to split the state into California and South California. Whee!

'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. Stone is proposing to separate eleven inland counties and two south Pacific coast counties from the rest of the state. The counties designed by Stone to be in South California are Fresno, Imperial, Inyo, Kern (my new home county), Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Mono, Orange, Roverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Imperial. All but San Bernardino and Imperial are majority Republican counties. He doesn't include Ventura (my former home county) and Santa Barbara counties, though they are Republican-leaning.

Likewise, Stone does not include Los Angeles County, even though it is in South(ern) California. That might be the reason for leaving Ventura and Santa Barbara out, since Los Angeles County (traditional California) would be an island in the middle of South California, cut off from the rest of California. Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara are contiguous Pacific Coast counties, with Los Angeles the southernmost. But he appears to be willing to give up a couple of moderately-populated Republican counties in order to avoid including one humongous Democratic county. Can't say I blame him.

Stone says that California is "an ungovernable financial catastrophe from which businesses are fleeing and where taxpayers are being crushed by the burden of caring for welfare recipients and illegal immigrants." I can't find much to argue with there. Stone's proposal would remove about 13 million citizens from California, leaving the tarnished Golden State with about 42 million. The largest issue not relating directly to party registration is the Central Valley drought, brought on in large part by crazed bureaucrats in Sacramento and Washington DC protecting an allegedly endangered fish that practically nobody has ever heard of outside of this blog and a few conservative radio and TV stations.

Although Stone has chosen his prospective counties which would make up South California, he says he would be amenable to breaking up California into a coastal state and an inland state. If the effort as currently proposed were to succeed, the United States House representation would be largely unaffected, but South California would now have two United States Senators to offset traditional California's two. Traditional California's Electoral College clout would be reduced by about 7.5%.

Says Stone: "This deal has struck a chord with a lot of people in the state who have suffered economically. We know it's going to be a challenge to form a second state, but it's not impossible. We're sending a message." In reply, Governor Jerry Brown's office has a slightly different take on the subject: "The proposal is a political stunt. It's 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." Some of us have lived here as long as you have, Governor Moonbeam, and prefer to stay. But many others have already taken your advice. One man's political stunt is another man's heartfelt message.

That was all the good news. Now for the bad news. Ain't gonna happen, at least if California history is any guide. Proposals to split the state into two or three new states have been up before the counties, or the legislature, or the people a total of 220 times, and so far none have made it past first base. The San Fernando Valley can't even rid itself of the rest of Los Angeles, though it has been trying to secede for over fifty years. Splitting the state is an even harder project.

Stone did put a good reason for splitting the state up for discussion, though. And his example is instructive of how much real people with real jobs, real goals and real brains need to get away from the rest of the state: "While California sinks ever-farther into hopeless debt, Los Angeles and San Francisco just enacted bans on plastic grocery bags. That put three our four manufacturers out of business and several dozen employees out of work."

California is likely to keep stumbling toward the cliff wearing a blindfold, but some of us have visions of a state with free and independent citizens, unburdened by immense public debt brought about by five decades of handouts and crazy schemes. You might even call it "California Dreaming."

23 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

that would really be neat (the part about reducing the electoral impact of "traditional" California by 7.5%) Although I was thinking Everly Brothers "All I Have To Do Is Dream." the sentiment is the same. The arrogance of moonbeam is beyond annoying.

rlaWTX said...

typically, the point of "stunts" like this is to highlight bigger issues -- too bad Moonbean couldn't notice that a prosperous CA is going the way of the Delta Smelt...

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: There's actually a lot of enthusiasm among the locals about the idea. I'm not going to dash their dreams by telling them the unlikelihood of success. I can dream too. I'd like to hear what the governor of Arizona has to say to Moonbeam the next time she sees him at a governors conference.

LawHawkRFD said...

rlaWTX: And I'm sure the fact that agriculture in California was the last industry that was actually bringing in big bucks to the state treasury has entirely escaped Governor Moonbeam. What industry could be greener than agricultural green? Brown and his ecoweenie friends have killed the farmer that collected the golden eggs.

T-Rav said...

LawHawk, I was wondering when you were going to mention this. This'll never happen, but it's reassuring to be reminded that not everyone in CA is a kook (besides yourself, of course). So what exactly would have to happen to create the new state of South California, theoretically speaking?

AndrewPrice said...

Frankly, I don't trust anything out of California. I would rather just sink a couple of the big liberal cities into the ocean to solve this problem. The conservative parts should just join Nevada instead.

rlaWTX said...

just call him
"Take No Prisoners" Andrew!

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: It's a tortuous process. First the counties within the proposed new state would have to agree they wanted to secede. Then the adjacent counties would have to agree to let them (a California requirement, not a federal requirement). Then the state legislature, with the consent of the governor would have to agree. That done (bloody unlikely), the seceding counties/new state would have to write a proposed state constitution, which is required before statehood. Finally, the proposed state has to petition the Congress for statehood. The Democrats will pull every trick and use every parliamentary procedure available to them to keep California as is (for the reasons I mentioned in the article).

The split-up of an existing state hasn't occurred since West Virginia left Virginia, and it took a Civil War to do it. Prior to that, there were only three other state splits.

So--could it happen? Yes, there are a lot of angry Californians in those counties, and the procedures from start to finish are already in place. Will it happen? Not very likely, particularly when the rest of the state hasn't finished sucking the Inland Empire dry.

And then there's the human factor. Inertia is a strong human emotion, and many angry citizens in the affected counties would think "better the devil we know than the one we don't know." Or as the Mel Gibson character in The Patriot asked: "Why would I want to exchange one tyrant thousands of miles away for thousands of tyrants a mile away?"

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Pray mightily. A 9.0 earthquake along the San Andreas fault would take care of the big cities. Hawaii could reinstate its temporary state song "California, Here You Come." About all that would be left is what is now being proposed as the State of South California (except for poor San Diego, of course), along with the relatively innocuous cow counties of the north which would remain in Used-To-Be-California. Ironically, Sacramento itself would survive, but find itself with a very different kind of citizenry to govern without the tail of San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Marin County, Long Beach and Los Angeles to wag the dog.

LawHawkRFD said...

rlaWTX: I tend to agree with you and Andrew, except doesn't Nevada already have more than enough unemployment? I'd opt for Arizona instead.
BTW: If South California seceded to join Arizona (or Nevada), the same procedures would apply as apply when a new state entirely within another state is created.

LawHawkRFD said...

Oops--except that in the case of joining Arizona or Nevada, the consent of the surrounding counties isn't required. Only the whole state has to approve a portion of the state seceding to join as part of another state, along with the consent of the state being joined. Then you go to the federal rules.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: What makes you think I'm not a kook?

LL said...

California is a very diverse state. The Bay Area really needs to keep it's culture where it belongs and it would make a really great state. Chop out something the size of Delaware and let them have it. The Marijuana growing North down to Stockton and east to Nevada would be another splendid slice and then leave the South to decide whether they'll go with the failed policies of the past or with some new solution.

The Bay Area, left unto itself will bankrupt itself and will plea to Washington for money. The very rural north and east (still run from Sacramento) can grow pot and whatever other cash crop they're able to cultivate.

It's so like Moonbeam to say that if you don't want to be a liberal, leave the People's Republik of Kalifornia.

LawHawkRFD said...

LL: Haven't heard much from you lately, and I missed your pithy comments.

I tend to think that if the Bay Area were removed from the state, the state would be better off for it, and after the Bay Area discovered that they couldn't have their high-off-the-hog life without other people to pay for it, they might even become reasonable.

I've actually seen proposals to split California into three or four states which made perfect sense. Unfortunately, habit and prevailing law stand like impassable barriers to those proposals.

Brown's remark has the ring of the South's rallying cry in the 60s--if you don't like it here, go back where you came from. Except like those the Southerners were talking about, most of the people in the inland counties come from where they still live. I'm one of the rare people in my part of the state who wasn't actually born in California. All my kids and grandkids were born here, as was my ex. So if we leave, we're taking our part of the state with us.

T-Rav said...

LawHawk, I was just being charitable but if that's what you want...okay.

Joel Farnham said...

LawHawk,

This North/South California Thang has been around for ages. It comes up whenever there is a drought. California Northerners dislike the California Southerners using their water.

I don't know if it is a good idea or not. It would seem to me that one group would get the debt and the other would get autonomy. People would buy into it if the Group that wants independence, as a condition of the independence, take on the total current liabilities but no future liabilities.

It could work, because the new independent California would be free of limiting conditions like saving that fish in the Delta. Just a thought.

P.S. It seems I am in Spam Hell again. Oh well.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: Once again, I resent it. I don't deny it, I just resent it. LOL

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: The drought issue has been a major motivator is many of the attempted secessions. The division would still leave Northern California with much of the water, but not all of it. Most of the Owens Valley water project is in Inyo County, a proposed part of South California. That project slaked the thirst of Los Angeles, and particularly the San Fernando Valley. It would now provide water for about 12 million South Californians instead of 12 million Angelenos and suburbanites.

This could re-start the water wars of the 20s and 30s so well chronicled in the movie Chinatown. Only this time, there is plenty of water for both, but the California EPA and the federal EPA have made it nearly-impossible to get the water from northern California for no good reason. So the drought is artificial. I suspect South Californians wouldn't be so cooperative with the ecoweenies, the feds, and the Delta smelt-lovers. They just might decide to retaliate and tell Los Angeles to get its water entirely from northern California instead of half from there and half from the Owens Valley in the new state of South California.

Today, water is still vital to the counties in the proposed South California, but much more than water divides the state today. The social welfare, anything-goes, profligate spending and erosion of individual rights government in Sacramento is equally important to those of us in the inland counties.

But, as I've said, history says that this movement will go the way of the 220 previous proposals.

Sorry about your spam problem, and I wish it was something we could fix at our level, but it's not us, it's Blogger.

T-Rav said...

Incidentally, as long as we're discussing California stuff, any thoughts on this special election in the 36th District? Might be an interesting race.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: I did a late update on the open thread in response to a question Joel Farnham asked. Here it is:

Joel: I have a little more information on that race you mentioned, and I'm a bit more hopeful for an upset. The Democrat in the race is Janice Hahn. She's an LA City Councilwoman, her mother was a major player in LA politics, her father was a multi-term LA County Supervisor, and her brother was the former Mayor of Los Angeles. Very big deals in Los Angeles. BUT, the family has always had portions of the central city and the liberal west side to count on. In this race, it's almost entirely the coastal areas where the name Hahn doesn't carry nearly as much clout. And her campaign went into a tailspin when her mother died on the 11th of this month.

Moreover, Janice had trouble raising campaign funds and getting campaign workers and poll organizers. Her opponent is well-known in those areas, he was able to self-finance, and he has some very enthusiastic supporters ready to do the work at the polls on Tuesday in an area that is not death-grip Democratic. Keep your fingers crossed.

The polls close in about seven minutes, and if I can get some election results for you, I'll post them here.

T-Rav said...

Thanks LawHawk! I also heard there was some funny business about her paying gang members with government funds for "public service projects" or whatever. It'd be nice if she lost.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: I suppose I should add that Los Angeles vote counting can get as dirty as any place in the country. The first results will be the computer-generated ballot counts. If the race is close, get ready for what follows in a Democrat-majority district. District 36 is Democrat-majority by a small margin, so they have that advantage. Plus the courts (if it should come to that) are heavily controlled by the liberals. One of the major superior court judges is former LA mayor and now judge James Hahn, brother of candidate Janice Hahn.

The illness, then death of matriarch Ramona Hahn yesterday put some confusion into the Hahn campaign, but on the other hand, there is the sympathy factor that would work in her favor.

This will probably be a low-turnout election, which tends to favor Republicans. So with all those "unknowns" working, it will be interesting to see how it all turns out. If it's close, the results will come down to the counting of the provisional ballots and the absentee ballots, which could take a few days. Let's hope that if that happens, it won't be the usual "keep counting until the Democrat wins."

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: That rumor may have some substance. The Hahns are known for manipulating gangs in South Central to their political advantage. That would have less of an impact in this particular district, though it could definitely have an effect in Venice and a couple of other precincts. The Hahns still aren't as bad as when SF Mayor Willie Brown proposed to use gang members as security personnel on the Muni buses and trains. I still have nightmares about that one. LOL

The early results (less than 5%) have Hahn with a comfortable lead.

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