SEPT. 10 GET READY FOR THE 51st U.S. STATE: JEFFERSON!
Here’s the scene: Five small-town elected officials huddle together in a small town hall. They laboriously debate until deep into the night. A crippling economic crisis has resulted in runaway inflation and unemployment. Despite multiple, desperate pleas for help, the wealthy governor in the far-away capital city has not responded. Finally, with tears in their eyes and coffee in their cups, they held a final vote. The tally is read aloud: “By a vote of 4 to 1, we hereby announce our intent to secede. From now on, we wish to be recognized as the United State of Jefferson!” The 100 or so supporters waiting outside roar with joy!Sound like something from a Civil War textbook? Well, this actually happened last week in Northern California. The location was the Siskiyou County Municipal Building. Here, disgruntled and disrespected voters have long felt alienated from the large metropolises who monopolize politics from South. In California, Assembly and Senate districts are both drawn from Census data. This means 80% of legislature members are from Los Angeles, the Bay Area or San Diego. The folks up north feel neglected and they are!
The notion of a 'State of Jefferson' has been knocked around for centuries. Back in the 1800's, the original plans had four states on the West Coast: California, Oregon, Washington and Jefferson. Things changed and the borders were redrawn. Then, in 1941, the movement reemerged. A group of Jeffersonians were angry that slick freeways were being built in LA, while they drove on old muddy roads. The group gained national attention when they set up a makeshift border stop on Highway 99. Armed with rifles, they halted traffic and handed out proclamations of independence. Their 'state' was five California counties and three from Oregon.
Sadly, the movement lost all momentum in December, when Pearl Harbor happened and shifted every one's focus away from the silly new state. (NOTE: Ironically, the only place on the mainland United States attacked during the war was the State of Jefferson. In 1942, a lone pilot named Nobuo Fujita dropped bombs on Brookings, Oregon.) Seventy years later, in 2011, the sentiment has resurfaced again. That's when the California Assembly passed legislation authorizing a $150 annual fee on 800,000 Jefferson residences to offset fire prevention costs. The residents began to cry "Taxation Without Representation Is Tyranny" and starting flying the Jefferson State Flag again.
Let's rewind and look at the facts: The folks in Jefferson have a long road ahead of them. First, they need a two-thirds vote in the California Legislature. Then, the resolution must pass the US Congress with a three-fourths vote. None of which is very likely. However, the four elected supervisors of Siskiyou County are sending a clear message to Sacramento: We're Not Gonna Take It! We here at the Duner Blog hope they listen. All over the world, recent secessions have resulted in better places to live. War in the former Yugoslavia is down. In the new states of Assam, the standard of living is up. And both the Czech and Slovak Republics are thriving. Long Live Jefferson!
|First official act: Change stupid flag!|