It is only fitting that a few days after South Sudan became the newest independent country to join the roster of IMF and World Bank "modernization and industrialization" targets, another Southern version of something should break apart, although some may be surprised that this latest secession is not somewhere in the middle of Africa, but in America's own insolvent back yard. Meet Southern California. "Accusing Sacramento of pillaging local governments to feed its runaway spending and left-wing policies, a Riverside County politician is proposing a solution: He wants 13 mostly inland, conservative counties to break away to form a separate state of "South California.'' Supervisor Jeff Stone, a Republican pharmacist from Temecula, called California 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." Ah yes, the heart of prosperity that is the Inland Empire, known for such great achievements as Hell's Angels, the most ridiculous excesses of the housing bubble, Del Taco, and... that's pretty much it. This sounds like yet another Swiss Watch plan.
This is what the 51st state would look like:
From SF Gate:
CBS Los Angeles reports:
"Stone said in a statement late Thursday that Riverside, Imperial, San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino, Kings, Kern, Fresno, Tulare, Inyo, Madera, Mariposa and Mono counties should form the new state of South California."
The new state would therefore encompass almost half of California's landmass, leaving out the strip of Southern California counties along the coast including Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
This is not the first time California has dealt with plans for secession, but until now most of the proposals have come from the rural counties of northern California where counties have tended to get left behind with state funding.
In fact, in 1941, a campaign to create the new state of Jefferson from several counties in northern California and southern Oregon was on the brink of success. The counties, frustrated from their lack of adequate roads and funding put together the movement, and Jefferson looked to be on track to be the 49th state (Alaska and Hawaii weren't on board yet).
By December, a "Proclamation of Independence" had been circulated and the residents had even elected a governor. But, on the week the Jefferson statehood movement was to make its national debut, the attacks at Pearl Harbor quashed all plans as residents went to work for the war effort.
Since then, every few years these and other northern counties have mounted several more secession attempts, but none have come quite so close to success as the Jefferson movement.
LA Times adds:
A spokesman for Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, called Stone's proposal a laughable political stunt, saying the Riverside County supervisors should be more concerned about closing that county's expected $130-million revenue shortfall in the next budget year and possible cutbacks to public safety.
"It's a supremely ridiculous waste of everybody's time," said spokesman Gil Duran. "If you want to live in a Republican state with very conservative right-wing laws, then there's a place called Arizona.''
Then again, all politicians do is focus on supremely ridiculous things that are wastes of everybody's time.
But, yes, this will make a great diversion for the country over the next week while the world burns. Unless, of course, Osama is killed for third or fourth time.