SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Proponents of a new state of South California are looking for corporate sponsors to underwrite a conference to explore secession, labeled a silly fantasy by a spokesman for Gov. Jerry Brown.
The proposal for 13 southern and central counties to break away from the most populous state was endorsed Tuesday by the board of supervisors in Riverside County, a mostly desert area east of Los Angeles.
Supervisor Jeff Stone, a Republican from Temecula who wrote the plan, said California is too big to govern and is run by a dysfunctional legislature that deprives local governments of revenue. Stones seeking donations from corporations, cities and nonprofit groups for an exploratory conference, his chief of staff said.
I dont think the funding is going to be a problem, the aide, Verne Lauritzen, said in a telephone interview Wednesday. There are some large corporations that have been chased out of California that would be willing to assist. He declined to name any of the potential donors.
Gil Duran, a spokesman for the governor, said Stones proposal distracts from solving real fiscal problems.
Mr. Stone would rather pursue this silly fantasy of South California than do the job he was elected to do, Duran said in an email. The question of secession was answered definitively in 1865 when General Lee surrendered at the Appomattox Courthouse.
If Mr. Stone wants to live in a state with Republican majority, he can move to Arizona, Duran said.
Stones state would include the counties of Fresno, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Tulare. It would exclude Los Angeles County, the most populous in the United States.
Stone proposed the 51st state after Brown, a Democrat from Oakland, signed a budget that closes state parks, strips more than $1 billion from universities and takes $1.7 billion from local redevelopment agencies. The $85.9 billion spending plan relies on $4 billion in higher-than-forecast revenue.
The new state would have 13.1 million residents, according to census data, while the rest of California would have 24.2 million, dropping behind Texas as the second-most-populous state.