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California County Considers Seceding from the Federal Government

The Californian people continued to support progressive leadership in November. However, residents of one of the state's most populous counties have rejected this direction and called for a secession.

California County Votes to Consider Secession

Californian voters continued to embrace progressive leadership during the midterm elections, but one of the state’s most populous counties voted to consider secession and forming their own state due to frustration with this political direction. San Bernardino County – home to approximately 2.2 million people – approved an advisory ballot proposal that instructs local officials to investigate the possibility of secession. Amid growing political unrest and economic distress, California’s election was won by a razor-thin margin.

A new state would be the first since Hawaii joined the union in 1959, and a long-shot proposal for the county located just east of Los Angeles, where living costs have risen sharply in the last decade. First, Congress and the California Legislature would have to approve the proposed legislation, both of which are highly unlikely. No matter how the vote was cast, it was from a racially and ethnically diverse county and politically mixed as well as the fifth largest in the state by population and the largest in terms of surface area.

Approximately 51,800 square kilometers of land are devoted to San Bernardino. The Democratic-controlled statehouse feels alienated from voters because it has failed to address the growing homeless crisis, rising housing costs, and public safety problems, while taxpayers in the state pay some of the highest tax rates in the nation. Governing Board of San Bernardino County, which placed the ballot proposition on the ballot, has expressed significant frustration with the state government and how public dollars are spent.

California is known for Developing Liberal Policies

The county is planning to examine how federal funds and billions of dollars in the state were fairly distributed to local governments in Los Angeles County and San Bernandino County, both of which are densely populated areas in southern California. Hagman said it’d been a rough few years for residents, ranging from record inflation to tensions over COVID-19 pandemic policies. Kristin Washington, representing the San Bernardino County Democratic Party, characterized the measure as a political maneuver aimed at influencing conservative voters rather than expressing the public’s wishes.

“Secession was not even a viable option because all of the steps that need to be followed to achieve it are impractical,” she stated. San Bernardino County now has a 12-point Democratic advantage over the Republican party. In November, however, the county lost the election by five points to Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom. He defeated a recall call last year, prompted by opposition to the pandemic health orders that closed schools and businesses.

Several Californian schools have closed, and students have transitioned to online learning, making it one of the first states to close schools and start online learning. In California, Democratic legislators and members of the state’s congressional delegation dominate the legislature, and the state is known for developing liberal policies in the areas of climate policy, healthcare, labor relations, and immigration. Since the recent population growth in San Bernardino County, it has become more diverse and Democratic, much like the neighboring counties of San Diego and Orange.

California County Considers Seceding from the Federal Government
California County Considers Seceding from the Federal Government
Source: Web

Past Several California Failed Attempts

A California State Library report indicates that over 220 unsuccessful attempts have been made to fragment the state into as many as six seperate states during its 172-year history. Nearly two dozen Northern California counties were initially considered for the creation of a new state called Jefferson, although they were largely rural, conservative-leaning, and sparsely populated. Several of these secession efforts have been motivated by competition between mining and agricultural interests and opposition to the imposition of taxes.

In recent months, several proposals have been made for dividing the sprawling state into coastal and inland regions and north and south sections. Ontario Mayor Paul Leon, whose city is the fourth largest in San Bernardino County, believes that people outside the county consider Ontario to be the Wild West. Although the county is large, it receives tiny state and federal aid in roads, courthouses, and transit, according to Leon, who supports the secession proposal.

Following the proposal’s success, the county intends to appoint a committee – likely to include members from the public and private sectors – to conduct a funding analysis comparing San Bernardino with other counties within the region. Approximately 220,000 people live in San Bernardino, the third largest metropolitan area in California, behind San Francisco and Los Angeles. However, beyond its urban centers, the state is home to a variety of quiet suburbs, mountain towns, and isolated desert havens like Joshua Tree.

The county had a 9.5% unemployment rate prior to the Coronavirus pandemic in 2019, and 12.2% of households lived below the poverty line. So even though California’s economy may soon rise from fifth to fourth place in the world, many communities in the Inland Empire are experiencing financial hardship.

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