Siskiyou County, Calif., board votes to secede from state

Sept. 5, 2013 at 1:41 PM
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YREKA, Calif., Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Legislators in rural Siskiyou County, Calif., voted to secede from the state, rekindling a secession movement dating back 70 years.

"We need to build consensus and keep the momentum going," said Supervisor Brandon Criss, after the Board of Supervisors in the far northern county voted 4-1 Tuesday to secede from California.

The vote, in a county where many say they are resentful of a government that prioritizes big city needs over theirs, has a precedent, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday.

Talk about forming a new state began in 1941, when four sparsely populated counties in northern California – Siskiyou, Modoc, Shasta and Del Norte – and adjacent Curry County, Ore., declared themselves the state of Jefferson.

The movement was sparked by angry miners and loggers who advocated paved roads and felt disconnected from state representation. The group wrote a declaration of independence and designed a green state flag featuring a double-X to signify double-crossing from the Oregon and California capitals, the newspaper said.

The drive was stalled by the outbreak of World War II, but residents say they still feel overlooked by state government.

"We just don't seem to have any control over our government," said Siskiyou supervisor Marcia Armstrong, who voted in favor of secession. "It's governing like we're subjects. It's supposed to be self-governance, and it's not."

The dissenting voter on the board, Ed Valenzuela, said the region missed its chance for statehood in the 1940s, and now relies heavily on state funding.

"It's a romanticized notion at this point," Valenzuela said. "It's going to be too much time and effort for what's not going to be a likely scenario."

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