According to the Associated Press, frustrated residents of one of California’s most populous counties voted recently to study succession from California. They cited rising crime rates and higher living costs.
San Bernardino County’s alienated voters voted to have local officials study the possibility of forming a new country. About 2.2 million people live in the county’s 20,000-square-mile area.
Many residents feel that the failing Democratic policies have made the county less affordable, contributed to increased crime, and led to an increase in homelessness. Californians pay some of the highest taxes in America.
Curt Hagman was the chairman of the supervisors that put the proposal on the poll. He stated that there is “a lot of frustration overall” about the state’s allocations of funds to local governments. Hagman stated that it has been a difficult few years for residents of San Bernardino County.
Even if San Bernardino County officials decide to form their own state, the Legislature and Congress of California, which have a strong Democratic majority are unlikely to approve such a measure. The 12-point advantage that Democratic voters hold over the county’s Republican voters is 12 points.
Although succession may seem impossible, the split vote is a sign of significant political unrest.
Kristin Washington (chair of the San Bernardino County Democratic Party) says that the ballot measure is a conservative political maneuver.
Washington stated that “putting it on a vote was a waste for the voters.” Washington claimed that the possibility of secession from the state is unlikely due to all the steps involved.
California State Library reports that there have been 220 unsuccessful attempts to divide the state into smaller ones over the past 172 years.
William Deverell, the Huntington-USC Institute for California and the West director, said to the AP that he is skeptical about these secession maneuvers.
Deverell stated, “The state’s problems will not be addressed by the jurisdictional cutting block.”
John Pitney, Claremont McKenna College’s political scientist, said that although the study of succession may not go anywhere, it does send a clear message that many Californians are unhappy in many different ways to state officials.
“The vote for secession was like smashing china,” Pitney stated, “Although it is a way to get attention, it does not accomplish much.”
Next, the county will create a committee made up of members from both the public and private sectors that will be responsible for comparing San Bernardino funding with other counties.