Call it a dream or a political nightmare for California’s liberal lawmakers, but proponents of splitting the Golden State into two pieces – California and “New California” – declared their independence this week, according to USA Today.
In their declaration, the “New” Californians contend the state, as it exists now, to be “ungovernable.”
This is the first step, say proponents, to getting most of rural California to separate itself from the liberal coastal enclaves that seem to dominate state politics. The area along the coast roughly from Orange County north to Napa County would remain California, the San Diego Union Tribune said. Everything else would be part of the new state.
The New California group’s declaration of independence included this blistering passage:
“The current state of California has become governed by a tyranny, which rivals those expressed in the above documents. Therefore the United States Declaration of Independence of 1776, the Constitution as adapted in 1783 by the Congress of the United States of America, the Alta California Declaration of Independence of 1836, the Sonoma Proclamation of 1846, and the California State Constitution of 1848 Mandate the Right, the Responsibility, the Duty of the People who are suffering the long train of abuses and usurpations at the hands of a tyrannical government to abolish and make New a Government by the People and for the People under GOD.”
The New California movement estimates that their state would have a population of some 15 million, while 25 million current Californians would remain in the coastal state.
They also estimated that 25 to 27 seats in Congress would go to New California. Old California would lose the seats, and the political clout.
Proponents of the split acknowledge that this is “a long shot.” But they are a determined lot.
Taxation and land use are major issues in this movement. Speaking to the CBS affiliate in Sacramento, New California vice chairman Robert Paul Preston noted, “Well, it’s (the state) been ungovernable for a long time. High taxes, education, you name it, and we’re rated around 48th or 50th from a business climate and standpoint in California.”
Newsweek seems to pooh-pooh the idea, reporting, “The idea is virtually guaranteed to fail. All citizen-led efforts for a state to split or secede from the United States have fallen short in modern U.S. history. Despite being mostly symbolic, Preston said, the idea is gaining popularity among Californians who are critical of the state’s Democratic leadership. California is a Democratic stronghold, with the party holding 80 of the state’s 120 legislative seats.”
However, New California proponents are not deterred. Remember the Little Engine that Could, and the Tortoise and the Hare.