Proponents of the State of Jefferson say it is all about the “lack of representation” and bemoan the US Supreme Court’s 50 year old equal protection decisions collectively known as one person, one vote. As the final arbiter of federal constitutional law, these decisions require roughly equal population in congressional, state and local districts. The Supreme Court corrected inequities in the district apportionment schemes which had given counties or other less populated geographical areas vastly more representation and power than urban areas as the population migrated to cities. Yes, we have fewer people in the rural north state than the urban areas so we have fewer elected state representatives. After all, legislators represent people, not trees or acres. The SOJ proponents want special and unequal representation.
It is revealing that the SOJ is asking boards of supervisors for a majority vote (3 supervisors) that would drastically alter the future of their residents. Then they will take these counties’ “Declaration And Petition To The California State Legislature For The Withdrawal From The State Of California And To Form The State Of Jefferson” to the CA legislature for a majority vote (62 votes) and on to a majority vote in congress (269 votes). Using the constitutional process they outline, a new state could be formed with a vote of only 388 elected officials and without a vote of the 39M people of California who are all affected by this proposal. Nowhere in their plan is a vote of the people on such a historic change and perhaps that is because they consider citizens voting as “mob rule”. How can we determine the will of the people without a vote of all the people affected?
The SOJ effort to gather signatures on petitions that have no legal effect is meaningless and will accomplish nothing. Even the “advisory measures” that will be on some county ballots next year will not move this forward. If the SOJ is serious about separating the state, California has an initiative process for determining the will of the people of California and the Jefferson proponents should use it to place the question on the state ballot.
As citizens, we need to make our case about the unique rural issues that are not well-understood by urban legislators. We need to elect better negotiators that can educate and compromise, encourage our local elected supervisors, city council members, and special district members to become more actively involved in communicating with the state legislature and administration. Keep It California, a non-partisan PAC, has been meeting with urban legislators to educate them on rural issues and we invite you to join us.