Jefferson State in the State of California

Hello.

About 1.7 million of California’s 22.1 million registered voters signed the petition to recall Governor Gavin Newsom. Many of those who signed it technically live in California, but symbolically live in another state entirely.

The far north of rural California, sometimes describing itself as “Jefferson State”, has long seen itself as a land of its own. His dozen counties, mostly north and east of Sacramento, voted for President Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020.

In Shasta, Lassen, Modoc, Siskiyou and other counties favorable to the state of Jefferson, more than one in six voters signed Newsom’s recall petition, according to data from the secretary of state. And like The Sacramento Bee and The Los Angeles Times Shasta County militia members have been threatening violence for months over the governor’s pandemic health restrictions, reported. (These rules, Newsom said, will end on June 15.)

Last week, in a non-binding but revealing election, five counties in eastern Oregon approved a plan to secede from liberal-leaning parts of their state and take part of it with them. Jefferson State. The master plan: be part of Idaho, then add all or part of the counties of Siskiyou, Shasta, Tehama, Del Norte, Modoc and Lassen on the California side of the southern Oregon border.

“Those of us who live in rural Oregon are deregistered,” Mike McCarter, the 74-year-old retiree leading the secession campaign, told colleague Kirk Johnson.

McCarter, who bought a retired shooting club and now helps people get their concealed carry permits, said the counties in eastern Oregon and northern California had more in common with the conservatives than with the more liberal majorities in their states. “We just want to accompany them and strengthen the support of the Conservatives,” he said.

Last week’s vote brought to seven the number of 36 Oregon counties that, if they could, would join the popular movement for “Move the border from Oregon to greater Idaho. “ The group’s website describes the annexation of California as sort of phase two.

Could this happen?

Unlikely, although northern California has periodically threatened to secede since the state’s founding in 1850. Mountainous and forested (as opposed to beachy, aggie, foggy, desert, or scintillating), the area represents more of one-fifth of the state’s land mass but only 3 percent of its population. It is also generally whiter, older, and poorer than the rest of the state.

It’s the California the rest of the country doesn’t talk about – a California where hunting and fishing, not surfing, are the signature hobbies and the jobs are more likely to be in the woods than in the woods. technology. The region has felt chronically neglected and rejected by California lawmakers and coastal population centers.

In fact, the modern concept of the state of Jefferson originated in 1941 from an effort to secure more public funding. One of Oregon’s rural mayors convinced the California border counties to declare that they would all be a separate state unless Salem and Sacramento stop taking their taxes and leaving their roads in bad shape.

A tongue-in-cheek naming contest was run by a Siskiyou County newspaper, and “Jefferson” got the most votes (after Founding Father), beating “Discontent” and “Bonanza”. A group of young men, carrying guns, proclaimed a “patriotic rebellion” in which they “would secede every Thursday until further notice”.

The movement was halted when the attack on Pearl Harbor prompted the rebels to rethink their allegiance. But Jefferson State still has its own flag – a gold platter with two X’s sticking out, conveying the region’s sense of having been “overtaken” by distant state capitals.

Jefferson’s state of mind has survived, especially in recent times.

The Oregon legislature, which is dominated by Democrats, is expected to accept the proposed defection in Idaho, as is the Republican-dominated legislature in Idaho – not to mention the California legislature and the United States Congress. But as polarization persists in California and beyond, it’s not completely unthinkable.


Compiled by Jonathan Wolfe

  • The federal government has said it has passed a major hurdle to open up California’s central coast to offshore wind farms, as part of President Biden’s aggressive plan to develop renewable energy and move the country away from fossil fuels.

  • The state has already had 900 more forest fires than at this stage in 2020, which was a record year for the fires, reports the Associated Press.

  • State legislators are considering reduce the share of international students on University of California campuses to make room for more local residents, reports the Los Angeles Times.

  • President Biden is under increasing pressure to drop a Trump-era immigration rule known as Title 42, which allows border officials to refuse migrants without giving them the opportunity to seek protections.

  • OptumServe, a company that received $ 221 million to operate dozens of vaccination sites statewide, only helped administer about 1 percent of hits given in California, reports CalMatters.

  • The president of the largest union of employees in the state of California was ousted after 13 years in the role, Associated Press Reports.

  • The Los Angeles Times reports that Joe Hedges, chief operating officer of the California High-Speed ​​Rail Authority, quit his job after an investigation by the agency.

  • An audit found that Caltrans overpaid thousands of workers $ 1.5 million, and failed to collect the money, reports The Sacramento Bee.

  • Los Angeles transit officials pushed ahead with subway and railroad projects during the pandemic, but the Los Angeles Times asks: “Will the runners come back?

  • The town of Corcoran in central California is sinking, a situation caused mainly not by nature, but by agriculture.

  • A proposal affordable housing project next to a luxury housing complex in Livermore, in the Bay Area, divides residents who accuse each other of racism and elitism, reports The San Francisco Chronicle.

  • Student-led resolution calling on the University of California, Santa Barbara to withdraw from companies that supply Israel with military equipment has intensified tensions on campus, where the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has long been a source of contention, Reuters reports.

  • Paleontologists are excavating a recently discovered treasure of fossils from the Miocene era – including behemoths, camels and fossilized trees – in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, reports Gizmodo.

  • In response to a wave of pandemic animal adoptions, veterinary surgeries are offering high-end care to meet demand.

  • Yale Climate Connections photographer captured life in California’s underwater kelp forests, which are besieged by a population of ravenous purple sea urchins.

  • Subscriber event: Join the Times comedian Sarah Silverman and Kevin Roose, Sheera Frenkel and Davey Alba to discuss the spread of disinformation and how we can fight back. [Today at 4 p.m. Pacific.]


California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. PT on weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: [email protected]. Have you been forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here and read each edition online here.


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