Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sutter County Supervisors Mull Secession from California as Part of State of Jefferson

Following similar moves by more northerly counties, Sutter County, in north-central California, is expressing interest in joining a secession movement to create a separate State of Jefferson within the United States.  Late last year, the boards of supervisors of Siskiyou and Modoc counties, along the Oregon border, voted to secede, and three California counties—Glenn, Siskiyou, and Tehama—will have questions about secession on the ballot in June elections this year.  In Siskiyou, there will be a separate question about a vaguely defined “Republic of Jefferson,” which proponents claim is more an autonomous region than a move to declare independence from the U.S.

This map, showing one of many possible boundaries of a State of Jefferson,
counties with active formal explorations of joining are circled in red.
At a board of supervisors meeting on March 25th in Yuba City, the seat of Sutter County, Mark Baird of the Jefferson Declaration Committee made a presentation before the board on secession from “Southern California.”  Though a vote was not on the meeting’s agenda, that could occur at future meetings.  Each member of the board expressed support for the idea, however, and a vote could be held some time soon.  A reporter noted that there was not single expression of opposition to Jefferson statehood at the meeting, which also elicited public comments.

Mark Baird giving a State of Jefferson presentation
Originally a movement in 1941 to create a State of Jefferson from a cluster of adjacent California and Oregon counties where residents felt they were getting insufficient government services, the modern Jeffersonian movement is aligned with the Tea Party and aims for less government.  Environmental regulation, gun rights, and “rural values” figure prominently in Jeffersonian rhetoric.

Is this the right metaphor?
Isn’t toilet paper supposed to take crap?
One Sutter supervisor, James Gallagher, said, “I’m seeing a growing discontent.  We are not represented, and we don’t have the ability to govern ourselves.  They tell us how to run our communities and what our values are, and they are certainly not our values.”

The original State of Jefferson flag and seal
(before the recent addition of a Gadsden rattlesnake fondling an assault rifle)
Another supervisor, Ron Sullenger, was more blunt.  “They’re in control.  We’re about to re-elect Governor Jerry Brown,” he said, “and he’s an idiot as far as I’m concerned.  How far will they let us go before they threaten to put all of you in jail for wearing a [State of Jefferson] T-shirt?”

Sutter County supervisor Ron Sullenger taking the oath of office last year.
And no, I have no idea what’s up with that particular flag.
Are four-pointed stars a Jefferson thing?
Sutter County was formed in 1850 and is the site of some of the earliest Anglo settlement in the state.  It is named for John Augustus Sutter, an immigrant from Switzerland on whose property, Sutter’s Mill, at the site of modern Sacramento, gold was discovered in 1848, ushering in the California Gold Rush.

There is also emerging pro-Jefferson sentiment in Yuba County.

[For those who are wondering, yes, this blog is tied in with my forthcoming book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas to be published by Auslander and Fox under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements, Independence Struggles, Breakaway Republics, Rebel Provinces, Pseudostates, Puppet States, Tribal Fiefdoms, Micronations, and Do-It-Yourself Countries, from Chiapas to Chechnya and Tibet to Texas.  The book, which contains dozens of maps and over 500 flags, is now in the layout phase and should be on shelves, and available on Amazon, by early fall 2014.  I will be keeping readers posted of further publication news.  Meanwhile, please “like” the book (even though you haven’t read it yet) on Facebook.]

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