Jul 25, 2014

Stone to Propose Breakaway From California

Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone, Third District, announced Thursday he will propose a secession from the State of California.

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Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone, Third District, announced Thursday that he will ask leaders in 13 counties to begin discussions about

Under the proposal, Riverside, Imperial, San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino, Kings, Kern, Fresno, Tulare, Inyo, Madera, Mariposa and Mono counties would be asked to consider forming a 51st state, the State of South California.

Boards of supervisors and city councils within those counties would be invited to meet and discuss the feasibility of secession from California, Stone said in a statement sent by Ray Smith, spokesman for the Riverside County Executive Office.

"He is so disenfranchised with the state's inabilities," said Verne Lauritzen, Stone's chief of staff, in a phone interview late Thursday.

"So he is recommending we start some discussions with other counties, and there are lots of them.

"He is dead serious."

Lauritzen said Stone, who represents the cities of Murrieta, Temecula, Menifee, Canyon Lake, Hemet and San Jacinto, as well as several unincorporated communities, is largely frustrated with the passage of Senate Bill 89.

The bill threatens to dismantle newly incorportated cities because it diverts vehicle license fee revenue to fund public safety.

The bill would drastically affect the newly incorporated cities of Wildomar, Menifee, Eastvale and Jurupa Valley, Lauritzen said.

All are dependent on the vehicle license fee revenue.

Wildomar stands to lose $1.8 million in revenues if SB 89 is not amended. Potential revenue losses for the three other new cities are even higher, with Eastvale standing to lose $3.1 million, Jurupa losing $6.2 million, and Menifee dropping $3.9 million, according to a letter written by legislators to Gov. Jerry Brown.

The legislators asked the governor to return Senate Bill 89 to lawmakers for amendments.

“This revenue accounts for 20 percent to 25 percent of the entire budget for these new cities. These cities will be seriously impacted by this realignment and will have way no ability to recover from this devastating loss of revenue. The four cities in Western Riverside County (and unknown others statewide) may be forced into bankruptcy or un-incorporation as a direct result of this bill,” the letter states.

Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries, 66th District, Assemblyman Paul Cook, 65th District, Assemblyman Jeff Miller, 71st District, Assemblyman Brian Nestande, 64th District, Senator Bill Emmerson, 37th District, and Senator Bob Dutton, 31st District, all signed the letter.

Otherwise there will be a “devastating effect on four new cities within our region and may well result in bankruptcy or un-incorporation of one or more of them,” the letter stated.

Stone is slated to bring the secession proposal to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors on July 12. In explaining his proposal, he offered these discussion points:

  • California’s taxes are among the highest in the nation yet our deteriorating services slip year after year while state officials prop up disastrous budget policies by draining resources needed to help local residents.
  • Regulations to control greenhouse gasses, and other unnecessary rules, have chased businesses out of California and devastated the economy.
  • Political infighting has paralyzed California for more than decade, creating a state that is too large to govern. 
  • A huge portion of the state’s residents are on some form of public assistance and California has about 30 percent of the nation’s welfare load yet only 12 percent of the population.
  • With limited resources available, California provides benefits that include in-state tuition to illegal immigrants, minimizing the financial resources available for legal residents who pay taxes. ·  
  • Once the darling of public education, California ranks 48th among states in test scores by one measure yet spends an exorbitant portion of the state budget on education.

Stone suggested the new state consider a part-time legislature, shifting governance more toward local control. Part-time legislators might receive only a $600 per month stipend and no other financial benefits except travel expenses to the new state capitol, he said.

Also open for consideration would be doing away with term limits, actually enforcing the state’s borders, adopting reasonable sales taxes and a provision like Proposition 13 that would control property taxes.

Counties and cities interested in the proposal, including those Stone has not already identified, would be invited to sit down and discuss the proposal.

He also suggested convening a meeting at the Riverside Convention Center, where residents and officials from each county and city would be welcome to offer ideas and testimony.

“Are there huge challenges? Absolutely,” Stone acknowledged. “But the destruction of California has to stop and we won’t know what we can accomplish unless we sit down and consider the possibilities.”

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