California counties in push to withdraw from the state

Spurred by disaffection with urban culture, federal control and the increased state regulation pressed by the Sacramento government seated to the south, a growing number of northern Californians are pushing for secession from their state.

At least two counties -- Siskiyou and Modoc  --  have already reportedly voted for withdrawal; officials in another, Tehama County, recently voted to put a referendum for secession on the ballot in June of 2014; and seven other northern California counties now claim popular committees in support of the long-shot measure, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"We are staking our futures on our ability to live and thrive in this area," Kayla Nicole Brown, a 23-year-old from Redding who is now a leader in Shasta County's secession movement, told The Times. "And if we can't, we have to leave."

The Times reports majority votes in both the state Legislature and the U.S. Congress are required for secession to actually occur.

But The Times cites the growing prevalence of what is called the State of Jefferson Flag around the Golden State’s northern reaches.

Sporting a gold pan with two X’s to signify the double-crossing dealt the residents of the rural area by the state legislature far to the south in Sacramento, it proudly flies outside the Palace Barber Shop in Yreka, the seat of Siskiyou county.

"I think we should do it," Isaiah Solus, a 14-year-old Yreka resident and descendant of Siskiyou County pioneers from Portugal, told The Times. "We're a whole different part of the state. We need our own water, we need our own rules.... We need a whole different set of things than the city people."

The push for secession in northern California is not new.

The Times reports a Los Angeles assemblyman pushed with some success for a split of the state at the Tehachapi Mountains -- located north of Los Angeles -- in 1859, but the Civil War soon diverted the nation's attention elsewhere.

War intervened on the movement again in 1941, just as it seemed to be gaining some traction. The matter was once more revisited in 1993, but ended then without change despite 27 counties across California voting in favor of separating the disparate regions.

Punky Hayden, a 72-year-old from the Marble Mountain region, located just south of the Oregon border, railed of late at the indifference to the specific demands of his rural existence by urban-centric politicians in Sacramento. “We’re governed by Los Angeles and San Francisco,” the former logger told The Times. “We live by their rules, and we don’t like living by their rules.”

Still, Hayden is a realist, and reportedly added of the potential success of any secession plan, “I’m an optimist, but I’m not that much of an optimist.”