Interviews

Southern California to Secede From State?

13 counties looking to declare own independence

 

CHRIS COTTER, GUEST HOST: As you celebrate Independence Day, 13 counties in one state are looking to celebrate their own independence day - - a big chunk of Southern California looking to secede from the state and to create the 51st state in America. Why?

Well, joining me now, the man behind the plan, Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone.

Jeff, how much popular support have you been able to garner within your 13 counties toward this movement?

JEFF STONE, RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, SUPERVISOR: Well, Chris, we have just started the process.

I would predict that we're probably going to see a new NFL football team in Southern California before we see a new flag flying over a new state capital.

(LAUGHTER)

STONE: But putting the rhetoric aside, there are some very important points I want to make, is that the California government has been dysfunctional now for over a decade. It’s bloated.

We have the highest taxes on citizens and business of any other state in the union. We rank 49th in educational scores. We have 30 million illegal immigrants in this country. A lion's share of them live in California, where 30 percent of the nation's welfare exists in California, with just 12 percent of the population.

We have the most left-wing environmentalist regulations in this state that make it very easy for Governor Rick Perry to attract businesses to the Lone Star State.

COTTER: I guess my question would be --

STONE: So --

COTTER: Well, I guess my -- my point --

STONE: Yes.

COTTER: -- would be, but these are policies that are put in by elected officials, so, that garnered most of the support within the state of California. Are you telling me, within your 13 counties, those people would not have been elected?

STONE: Well, let's just say this, that we have a union preponderance of power in Sacramento, where Sacramento doesn't represent the interests of its citizens, unfortunately. It represents the interests of special interests, especially the unions.

And we just had a budget passed -- I will call it a quasi-budget -- in the state of California that balances its budget on the backs of local government and higher taxation on our citizens. And local government officials throughout the state, all 460-plus cities and all 58 counties, are very upset that the state does not live within its means.

And so we have an agenda item on our board of supervisors' agenda to explore the possibility of forming a second state. Is this what we really want to do? No. I am a native Californian. I’ve been here for three generations. We have seen aerospace leave the state of California. Tech is leaving the state as we speak. Toyota is leaving Fremont, California.

Thousands of jobs are leaving the state and we’re just creating a welfare state. It's almost like Governor Brown is driving a bus with 38 million residents and we’re getting very close to the cliff.

COTTER: And in reality --

STONE: Either we get in there and turn that bus around, or we’re going to get a new bus and start off from scratch, put an end all the -- the government unions that cost --

COTTER: Yes.

STONE: -- the state an unfunded liability of hundreds of billions of dollars.

COTTER: The reality is you will never be able to do it, though, right?

STONE: And let's put a part-time legislature in place -- I beg your pardon?

COTTER: The reality is you won't be able to do it.

It's more -- this is really more to draw attention to your plight because you have to get -- because -- the Constitution says you’ve got to get the state legislature to agree to it, and they’ll never agree to it.

STONE: You are absolutely right. Well, listen, there -- years ago, when everybody said we could never recall a governor of the state of California, and we did. All I can tell you is this. Ever since I put out this agenda item, I have had thousands of e-mails coming to me, not only from people in Southern California, but even people in Northern California that say, Jeff, where can we sign up? It’s about time that somebody stood up.

Nobody has offered any solutions how we will fix our dysfunctional state. They say that our economy is cyclical. Well, I don't believe our economy is a cycle in California. This is a permanent adjustment. These jobs have left the state. They’re not coming back unless we get a change of leadership or we get a change of government by forming a new state and having a part-time legislature.

We have the highest-paid legislators in the world. We have the highest paid prison guards in the world, $79,000 -- $71,000 in California - -

COTTER: Yes.

STONE: -- vs. $31,000 in Texas.

COTTER: Well, Jeff, I know --

STONE: And we wonder why Texas is doing so well.

COTTER: -- you’ve got a lot of issues. We all know that. I know a lot of people even outside of the state of California will be keeping a close eye on that situation there.

Jeff Stone, thank you so much, sir. We appreciate it. We will be following that story.

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