Tehama County voters to decide on State of Jefferson
The voters of Tehama County will make the decision on whether the county will adopt a declaration of support for the proposed separation from the State of California to form a new state — the State of Jefferson.
On Tuesday, the Tehama County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to place the decision on the June ballot, instead of making the decision themselves.
Supervisor Burt Bundy voted against placing the measure on the ballot, stating he was ready to move forward and vote on the declaration now.
The cost to place the measure on the ballot is approximately $12,360, said Tehama County Chief Administrator Bill Goodwin.
"This will allow the public to express its opinion regarding whether to move forward with the declaration of support without further analysis and development of detailed governance policies, in order to allow the proponents to secure support of a sufficient number of counties prior to expending time and resources on this analysis," Goodwin said.
He said it would cost the county approximately $30,000 to do its own analysis of the declaration.
Like the Nov. 13 public meeting, the board again heard from proponents and opponents to the grassroots separation movement.
One of the opponents, Martin Mathisen, of Corning, said he believes it is not under the jurisdiction of the Board of Supervisors to make such a decision.
State of Jefferson movement spokesman Mark Baird, of Siskiyou County, responded that it is the right of the board under the U.S. Constitution, noting that it was in such a manner that other states have been formed, such as West Virginia.
He believes that separation and formation of a new state would be a "win, win situation for both halves."
To those who feel the movement does not have any plan or details formed, Baird said that while some factors and details can't be formed until further in the process, there are already many details in place, such as financial sustainability.
"To start off, we would have responsible use of our resources, such as lumber. Even if we just utilized 50 percent of the historical past use, it would be a tremendous boon. We could institute a water conveyance fee for water going from the North State, we could cut down on welfare by instituting drug and alcohol testing, and we don't need a full-time legislature," Baird stated.
Supervisor Dennis Garton, chairman of the board, said he was in favor of putting the vote to the people for two re sons — first because he wants to act in the direction his constituents want, and second is he believes the vote will pass in support and that "X number of people in Tehama County in favor means more than just us five here on the board and provides a definite number of people" for the movement to take to the state legislators.
Supervisors Steve Chamblin and Sandy Bruce both agreed they wanted to know for certain what the people in the districts wanted to see take place on the issue.