'South California' secession backer seeks statewide summit
Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone, who has proposed breaking away a major chunk of Southern California to form the new state of “South California,” on Wednesday said a statewide summit to explore the idea is penciled in for September or October.
Stone, a Republican pharmacist from Temecula, also launched a website for the cause.
The proposed summit’s primary focus will be to discuss the “broken legislative processes of a dysfunctional state government" –- and not solely creating a new state, he said in a statement released Wednesday. Details of when and where the event will be held are pending.
The agenda, he said, would include discussion of possible statewide voter initiatives to switch the California Legislature from full time to part time, to enact a “true and legitimate" balanced budget amendment barring the state from raiding the treasuries of local governments, and to reform public-employee pensions.
Stone had urged his colleagues on Riverside County Board of Supervisors to sponsor a secession summit at the Riverside Convention Center, but that idea fell flat.
The supervisors instead voted last week to support a summit to allow city and county officials from across the state to discuss state budget issues and Sacramento policies that hurt local government services and job creation. The board insisted that no county money or employees could be used for the event.
Under Stone’s proposal, the counties of Riverside, Fresno, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Mono, Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego and Tulare would break away from California to form the nation’s 51st state. Stone stressed, however, that he was amenable to other configurations.
Combined, those counties are home to about 13 million people. Republicans account for the majority of registered voters in all of those counties except San Diego, San Bernardino and Imperial.
-- Phil Willon in Riverside