The hypothetical state of Jefferson got another would-be member last night, when the supervisors of Modoc County voted 4-0 to secede from California. Neighboring Siskiyou County also voted to cut ties from the state earlier this month, as part of a grand vision of uniting several other conservative Northern California and like-minded southern Oregon counties into a new state. Chairwoman Geri Byrne tells al-Jazeera that in a packed crowd of around 40 constituents, only two spoke against secession.
California's 33 rural counties contain just 9% of its population, and have proportional representation in the state legislature. Byrne says that's left people frustrated, particularly given various environmental laws."We don't tell people in Los Angeles how to manage crime, so why should they tell us how to farm potatoes?" she reasons. But one resident complains that the Jefferson idea is "romantic" but "not economically viable," because the county receives more money from the state than it pays in taxes.