Op-Ed 10/11/13

Jefferson petition could educate urbanites about rural counties

By Cory Peterman
Roar Writer

Modoc became the second California county to recently bid in seceding from the state of California, following a move made by Siskiyou County to attempt to form an independent, 51st state known as Jefferson.

Representatives from those counties are looking for at least 12 counties to follow, and this writer has heard many talking in Sierra County about doing so.

If the state assembly approves Jefferson’s formation, the movement would then go on to Congress for consideration.

These California counties feel that they lack understanding from legislators and feel certain fees, including the state fire prevention fee, shouldn’t apply to northern California.

This isn’t the first time the petition to create the Jefferson state has been sent to the California legislature. The first Jefferson petition was formed in 1941 by an Oregon mayor who felt the rural areas of southern Oregon and northern California were “double-crossed” and that these areas should secede to form their own state named after Thomas Jefferson, writer of the Declaration of Independence.

While it’s unlikely that the state of Jefferson will be admitted into the Union anytime soon, I do feel that those representing Jefferson have many justifiable reasons to form a new state.

Rural populations feel the need for better representation, and many see the new movement as a way to attract more commerce to rural areas. Northern California seems to be overlooked. Many people from urban areas south of Sierra County have never even heard of Sierra County and don’t realize that there is more to California north of Sacramento.

However, the attention that rural areas do receive usually tends to be taxes and regulations that shouldn’t even apply to northern Californians, like environmental regulations that prevent the industries rural areas were built on, such as logging, mining and farming, as well as taxes in order to pay for big-city projects.

These are just a couple of the reasons those representing the state of Jefferson feel that they should secede from California.

Though the movement to form a new state will probably never pass through the California legislature or Congress anytime soon, the movement to form the state of Jefferson is proving to be an interesting experiment that could provide support for local governments and rural populations. We’ll just have to see how the movement plays out.


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