51st state: 'South California' secession proposal unanimously approved for discussion at summit
South California, the proposed 51st state to the union, a long-shot concept that would see 13 California counties secede from the Golden State, was unanimously approved by the Riverside County Board of Directors Tuesday for more discussion and debate.
The board approved fellow member Jeff Stone's call for a meeting. The board voted 4-0 under the caveat that no Riverside County staff or funds be used for the meeting, according to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.
Even though most parties involved do not believe that a 51st state will actually blossom from the summit, most applaud Stone's success in bringing to light his concerns with Sacramento politics and how it affects Riverside and counties like it.
"Although this proposal isn't going to happen, he has drawn attention to the real problem, which is his underlying purpose anyway," Jack Pitney, government professor at Claremont McKenna College told the Bulletin.
The next meeting is planned for the fall at which officials from around Southern California will discuss their issues with current state politics in a summit. Stone has asked that the 51st state proposal remain as an option if no other solutions could be reached.
South California would encompass Fresno, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Tulare counties, which have a combined population totaling approximately 13 million people.
The proposed 51st state would be the fifth largest by population, more populous than Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania. South California would take nearly a third of the population away from California, making the Golden State the second-largest state after Texas.
Eleven of the 13 counties in proposed South California traditionally vote Republican, a fact noticed by California Gov. Jerry Brown's office last week.
"If you want to live in a Republican state with very conservative right-wing laws, then there's a place called Arizona," Brown spokesman Gil Duran said.
-- Tony Pierce
Image: Map of the proposed 51st state, South California. Credit: Los Angeles Times