Secession for Siskiyou: Supervisors Vote to Withdraw from California

The official flag for the State of Jefferson features two prominent gold Xs, forming a “Double Cross” which symbolizes the region’s sense of abandonment by state leaders. At Tuesday’s Siskiyou Board of Supervisors meeting, this feeling of “Double Cross” undeniably permeated the room.

Exceeding maximum occupancy, the Supervisors allowed the doors to the chambers to remain open so the over 100 members of the crowd could spill into the hallway.

Residents and members of the audience made impassioned pleas for over an hour.

Liz Bowen from the unincorporated community of Callahan, CA summed up the overall sentiment: “We feel our elected officials do not have an equal voice in Sacramento.”

Government encroachment served as a common theme for the entire meeting. Gary Martin, a member of the audience, kicked off the morning by criticizing AB 1266: “We’re not going to allow the state to legislate away our moral values… We are not going to sacrifice our kids on the altar of getting along with Sacramento.”

“We need to have people in all levels of government who listen to us and are willing to come and see how passionate we are about our land and how we take care of it,” Supervisor Grace Bennett stated during the proceedings. “This board has invited more people than you can imagine to come and take a tour and talk to us, and we haven’t had very many takers.”

The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted four to one in favor of seceding from the State of California. All members except Board Chair and District 2 Supervisor Ed Valenzuela voted in favor of the proposal, while the latter stated that this was not the direction he would pursue for the county.

In an opinion piece submitted to PublicCEO, District 5 Supervisor Marcia Armstrong explained her rationale for pursuing succession: “It is a fact that the majority of California’s population values our local natural resources more as habitat for some charismatic creature they read about in Ranger Rick than as the lifeblood of historic cultures that have organically developed out of an intimate daily relationship with the land.”

Efforts to secede have been launched by Northern California counties have been launched since 1941. While they have attracted substantial media attention, nothing has come of it thus far.

Siskiyou County leaders were upfront about the process, informing the crowd that it is going to be arduous and require the full commitment of its residents.

But the four-to-one vote and ardent attitude of the Supervisors indicate that they are in it for the long haul.

“Our voice in Sacramento is like a shout in a wind tunnel,” stated Supervisor Armstrong. “And after “a career spanning 24 years working ‘within the system’… I have come to the revelation that this marriage with the State of California is not working for us.”

You can read the full declaration at the County’s website here.

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