San Bernardino County secession measure advances to November 2022 ballot – San Bernardino Sun

San Bernardino County voters will have the chance to vote this November on whether they want the county to potentially secede from California.

“Do you want to spend our taxpayer dollars to do a study of what we are, or are not getting, as a county, and then fight for that, in a way we haven’t done before?” San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman asked his fellow board members at a special 29-minute meeting Wednesday, Aug. 3

The board voted 4-0 to put the measure on the Nov. 8 ballot. Supervisor Paul Cook was absent.

The measure will be back before the board Tuesday, Aug. 9, for final adoption but the initial draft would put this question to voters: “Do the citizens of San Bernardino County want the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors to study all options to obtain its fair share of state and federal resources, up to and including secession?”

The board’s vote wasn’t an enthusiastic endorsement of secession.

Supervisor Joe Baca Jr. was interested in studying whether the county and its residents are owed more state and federal funds than they currently receive.

“I do think we have to look at anything we can do to enhance services for our residents,” Baca said. “I’m not in favor of seceding. I’m proud to be from California; I love California.”

Supervisor Janice Rutherford agreed the funding issue deserves examination.

“People pay high taxes and they do not believe their taxes are coming back to their neighborhoods to address the issues they care about,” Rutherford said. “And there is nothing crazy about being angry about those things.”

The secession idea was initially floated by real estate developer Jeff Burum at the board’s July 26 meeting, when he argued that San Bernardino County should secede from California.

“We had a lot of people we respect and mayors I respect that came up last week” in support of the secession idea, Hagman said.

Among those who spoke last week was Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren.

“We cannot continue to beg, and crawl and (grovel) … to get resources for our county,” she said on July 26. “We have millions of citizens that have needs.”

Whether the county is paying out more to the state than it gets back is difficult to prove.

“Inter-agency accounting and finances can be difficult to trace because there is a web of intergovernmental transfers across local-state-fed jurisdictions,” economist Robert A. Kleinhenz, with the Inland Empire Economic Partnership, wrote in an email before the meeting.

According to county spokesman David Wert, the county’s finance team conducted a per-capita comparison of federal and state revenue captured by California counties based on data from the state controller. The data shows San Bernardino County ranks 36th out of 56 counties for per-capita revenue received from the state and federal governments, Wert said.

On Wednesday night, Hagman said it’s not clear whether the county is missing out on revenue it might deserve.

“If the worst thing that comes out of this is a study that will be ammunition for our state representatives to fight for more money for us” that would be acceptable, he said.

If the county ultimately successfully pursued secession, the new state — potentially named “Empire” — would be the first since Hawaii was established in 1959, and the first carved out of another state since West Virginia left Virginia in 1863.

According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, San Bernardino County had 2.1 million residents in 2021, about tied with the population of New Mexico, and more than the populations of Nebraska, Idaho, West Virginia, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Maine, Montana, Rhode Island, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont or Wyoming.

Area-wise, of course, San Bernardino County is famously the largest county by area in the lower 48 states and is physically larger than nine states, including the states of Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey and Rhode Island combined.

San Bernardino and Riverside counties combined were the fifth-fastest growing metro area in the 2020 census. In contrast, Los Angeles and Orange counties combined had the nation’s second-worst population decline.

Secession is “not a new idea, by any means,” Hagman said.

Since 1941, extreme northern California counties have repeatedly flirted with splitting away from California and joining with rural southern Oregon counties to form the state of Jefferson. Bills to divide the state into either two or three were introduced in the state legislature in the 1960s and 1990s. In the 21st century, there have been proposals to split California into three, four or six smaller states. And in 2011, former Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone wanted to cluster Riverside, San Bernardino, Imperial, San Diego, Orange, Kings, Kern, Fresno, Tulare, Inyo, Madera, Mariposa and Mono counties into a new “South California.”

At the meeting Wednesday, Supervisor Dawn Rowe floated the idea of the county potentially joining Arizona or Nevada, which it borders to the east. San Bernardino County becoming its own state likely carries a lot of unconsidered expenses and other issues, she said.

“There are so many things in this that we haven’t considered,” she said, such as paying for National Guard troops and other state-level expenses. Still, she said, “I’m interested in studying this.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *