When Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone proposed breaking up California into two states, the reaction ranged from, “that’s crazy” to “count me in,” noted a key organizer of the break-up movement, officially called “California Rebellion.”
Darrell Connerton of Temecula, a friend of Stone’s who is a general contractor and a political consultant, says Stone’s movement to split the state is far from over; in fact, it’s moving ahead and gaining supporters.
Committees have been formed to do everything from seek financial donations to comb through California’s Constitution with an eye on revisions to eliminate things that are “job killers” for the proposed new state, Connerton said.
On Sept. 29, supporters will discuss these and other issues when they gather at their first big kick-off rally at Vail Lake, east of Temecula. Stone and others are expected to address the crowd at the event that will feature live music, food and information booths, Connerton said.
Members of the public are welcome to attend. Tickets for $15 per person can be purchased on California Rebellion’s website, http://www.californiarebellion2012.com, or at the rally. Children 12 and under are admitted free.
Stone, who aides said Thursday is on vacation in Europe until Sept. 23 or 24, has approval from the other board members to explore his idea but he can’t use county funds. The rally also serves as a fundraiser, Connerton said.
Last July, Stone, expressing frustration with what he said were excessive taxes, a growing welfare state and raids on local government funds, proposed forming the state of South California out of 13 mostly inland and conservative counties. They are: Riverside, Imperial, San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino, Kings, Kern, Fresno, Tulare, Inyo, Madera, Mariposa and Mono.
His proposal came the same day Gov. Jerry Brown diverted about $14 million in 2011-2012 vehicle license fee revenue from Riverside County’s four newest cities: Eastvale, Jurupa Valley, Menifee and Wildomar. Stone and officials from those cities said the raid would place them in financial jeopardy.
“We have a state that’s addicted to spending. They want to tax the citizens to death. They want to over-regulate businesses,” Stone said on a radio program in July 2011 that is posted on YouTube. “This state is just too big to govern.”
Stone spokesman Verne Lauritzen said Thursday it’s take time to get in touch with officials from the other affected counties and coordinate everyone’s schedules. When asked if Stone’s proposal could work, Lauritzen said, “Nothing is impossible but it will be a challenge.”
Connerton estimates succession supporters wound need to raise at least $5 million to get the movement off the ground. California Rebellion, a political committee, now has about 700 members and has received some 14,000 emails from people who have expressed interest, he said. The group connects with supporters via its website and Facebook page.
Connerton said previous efforts to split California failed because the proponents didn’t set up enough of a foundation in advance for the new state.
“You don’t go into something like that by saying, ‘Wow, we’ll get into that afterward. We have a better chance than there ever has been because we have taken the time to have committees look over different things,” Connerton said.
He said 38 years of being controlled by Democrats has hurt California and it’s time for citizens to be more involved and hold elected officials accountable.
The new state would:
- Have a balanced budget mandate.
- Have fewer government regulations on businesses. According to California Rebellion’s website, “In 2011, 254 companies relocated outside of California entirely or in part according to a report published by Spectrum Location Solutions. California ranks last among the fifty states in business climate for the eighth consecutive year according to CEO Magazine. Texas ranks first.”
- Be a right-to-work state where union membership is not required for a job.
- Prohibit unions from using member funds to support candidates without the member’s written consent.
- Require voters to show identification at the polls.
- Not issue driver’s licenses to undocumented people or those without proper ID.
- Have a part-time Legislature.
- Have pension reform.
To learn more, visit www.californiarebellion2012.com.
Amy Bentley is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.