Splitting California

On May 14, 2008, in General, by Neil Stevens

Texas may hold the option of splitting into multiple states, but it’s California that most needs broken up. Traditionally, the proposal has been a North-South split, but some of us have other ideas.

Via Paul Cella I came across this post by Jeff Culbreath reacting to a proposal to split California into three states. Both Culbreath and Phrelin.com focus heavily on geography in taking the traditional north-south split, but adding a third state, separating the northern coastline from the rest of the proposed Northern California.

I think this is a bit self-serving, and misses where the meaningful split is.

Split California

Phrelin.com is apparently based in the Redwoods, and Culbreath lives in Glenn County. So when I say it’s “self-serving,” I perfectly understand why they don’t want the burgeoning Bay Area swallowed whole into Northern California. That’s their state, and they don’t want their state overwhelmed by the populous coast. So likewise, I hope they’ll understand why I, in Riverside County, would not want my Southern California overwhelmed by the mess we call Los Angeles County.

Notice a pattern? Republicans in inland Northern California want away from the Bay Area coastal cities. Republicans in inland Southern California want away from the LA Area coastal cities. So why don’t we just split the whole state along those lines? We can create an inland Eastern California, with low population density and sane values, separate from the coastal Western California, where all the fruits and nuts congregate.

I believe that Phrelin and Culbreath are wrong to focus on geography. Instead we should look at people. There is a cultural divide between the California of the coast, with all the excesses our state is known for, and the California made better known by Victor Davis Hanson, the son of a California farming family. But this divide doesn’t stop at Sacramento or Fresno. It runs the whole length of the state. Heck, I live east of active diary farming, and I’m only an hour out of LA. When I was in high school, the Future Farmers of America were alive and kicking at my own school. So there are cultural bonds running north-south in inland California. And likewise, don’t we think the hippy-dippy fruits and nuts of SF and LA will get along just fine?

As for my map, I do things I think are highly debatable though. My inclination is that over time, we’re going to see the Sacramento-San Francisco corridor urbanize, so my thought is to just put that whole area into my Western California, though Yolo, San Joaquin, and Stanislaus counties could probably fit in well in the East. I’m highly flexible on the border in that part of the state. I also put Orange County in the East, though demographically I’m sure it needs to go into the West. Perhaps Orange and a few other counties like Kern would ideally be split.

In any case, please, please, please, people: If we’re going to split California, don’t leave me in the thralldom of LA County! Being represented by Senator Boxer is bad enough; Senator Waters would be a nightmare.


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