Check it out. In case you missed our editorial today, it is about that whacky idea of splitting the state into two states and creating a state called “South California. Here it is:
Our View: One California, for ever and ever
Sometimes it takes a really bad idea advocating radical change to make you appreciate the status quo, lousy though it may be.
Such an idea is the proposal, which appears to be seriously made, by Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone for 13 counties to secede and form a new state of South California.
No, not Southern California, the informal nomenclature for the seven counties south of the Tehachapis, somehow not including Santa Barbara, on the grounds that it’s too rich or too balmy, or something.
There is nothing to do with geography in the proposal, in fact. Mono, Mariposa and Madera counties are in the crazy mix, places that could even be called “northern” rather than “central.” Whereas Los Angeles County, the heart of the true Southern California, is not. The crackpot suggestion is more along the lines of “Inland California plus San Diego and Orange just not including those wacky pot-farming regions way up in the north.”
But, again, Stone is an elected official, not a wild-eyed gadfly at public comment. He says he will present the notion to his colleagues at their Tuesday meeting. He’s frustrated about welfare and taxes and border security and whatnot. “He is so disenfranchised with the state’s inabilities,” Stone’s chief of staff told one media outlet, in a marvelous mangling of the mother tongue we speak in that Other California.
The L.A. region does indeed include a lot of poor people – as if Riverside and San Bernardino
didn’t – but it’s also the economic engine that drives the state. And yet Stone wants to leave us unturned, apparently because of his dislike of coastal liberals. Or something.
In fact, an editorialist in Kern County, which would be included in the scheme to add a 51st star to the flag, has written that a better name for the proposed state would be “West Mississippi” – though we’re not sure what the folks in La Jolla and Balboa would think of that.
We acknowledge that this proposal comes out of a frustration we very much share with politics as usual in the tarnished Golden State. We’re on board with his suggestion for a return to a part-time Legislature, seeing that the full-timers create more problems than they solve. But the creation of two Californias is not a new idea – it is older, in fact, than the current state of California itself. And it remains as seriously bad an idea as it was back in the 19th century, when pro-slavery advocates wanted the “cow counties” here in the south to enter the Union as an offshoot of old Dixie.
There are small ways it’s bad: Americans like round numbers, and so there will likely never be a 51st state – sorry, Puerto Rico. And Doheny would likely start charging a longboard tax on visiting L.A. surfers, forcing Malibu to retaliate and Rincon to raise the ante.
And there are very big ways: The University of California, the California State Universities and our community colleges are the hope for our economic future, together. Our great geographic and ethnic diversities are a strength, not a weakness. Our economy, the eighth-largest in the world, needs Californians to work together to strengthen it, not waste energy pulling it apart.
In the 1970s and ’80s, Bay Area snobs would occasionally suggest splitting California in two, on account of simply not cottoning to the rubes down here. It was grist for the mill for a funny discussion – but was a very silly idea. This is just as flaky. California is one.