Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sutter County Supervisors Vote to Leave California, Join “State of Jefferson”

Sutter County, named for the Swiss-American settler who founded Sacramento and on whose Sutter’s Mill property the 1849 Gold Rush is presumed to have begun, this week joined several other counties in northern California in voting to ditch the Golden State and join a future 51st state called “Jefferson” straddling the California–Oregon border.

The measure before the county’s board of supervisors was adopted unanimously in a vote on July 22nd.  This follows a presentation before the board in March (reported on at the time in this blog) by Mark Baird, who heads the Jefferson Declaration Committee.

An original 1941 “State of Jefferson” flag on display
at a museum in Klamath County, Oregon.
According to a report on the vote in the Marysville Appeal-Democrat, proponents of statehood cite among their grievances “abuses of Sutter County by the state, including the imposition of certain taxes and fees, the state’s disregard of payment-in-lieu-of-taxes funds owed to many rural counties, excessive environmental regulation that ‘has crippled our industry, delayed important public projects, and greatly increased costs,’ and disregard of the county’s historic water rights, among others.”  The Jefferson movement today is largely a phenomenon of the far right.  One Sutter supervisor, Ron Sullenger, refers to Governor Jerry Brown as “an idiot” and hints darkly of a coming tyranny.

Ron Sullenger of the Sutter County board of supervisors taking
the oath of office.  (Can any readers identify this odd flag?)
In a non-binding referendum last month (discussed recently in this blog), 56% of voters in Tehama County, to the north, voted to join Jefferson, while similar measures were narrowly defeated in two counties along the border with Oregon: Siskiyou and Del Norte.  In addition, Modoc, Glenn, and Yuba counties in California have also passed secession resolutions in board-of-supervisor sessions.  (Interest on the Oregon side of the line in a State of Jefferson is far more tepid.)

A map of one proposed shape for a State of Jefferson, with counties that have
held referenda or adopted county board resolutions on secession highlighted.
The idea of a State of Jefferson is also (as discussed recently in this blog) part of the Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper’s “Six Californias” plan for subdivision of the state, which has recently qualified for a statewide referendum on the issue in 2016.

[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.]

Related: hear the author of this blog discuss the Cascadia independence movement in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia in a recent interview for Seattle’s N.P.R. affiliate station KUOW-FM.  Click here to listen.

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