North and South California?

 California is a big state – the biggest population, the third largest state area wise. It’s unwieldy and environmentally vastly varied. Mostly they are desert down there, and we are forest up here.  There have been something like 220 efforts to split up the state, 27 of them serious. Some were motivated to make the state more “wieldy”, some for resources and politics. Not all were limited to Cali, either.

1970's mustache optional.

Why we want a state split here in Quirkutopia is largely because we hate the whole flashy, polluting, conspicuous consumerism scene in South California, plus they take our water. Well, realistically they do need it to some degree. But when we were in a seven year drought back in the 1970s, it was hard. Instead of bringing a bottle of wine to a dinner party, we brought a gallon of water to flush the toilet. Gardens died. We shared baths and showers (okay, that wasn’t too hard). During the ordeal the SoCal folks were using our precious water to hose sidewalks and driveways. Grrr. All their pools were filled. Their personal fountains never stopped, while even our public ones shut down. We got mad and hissed at the big pipe when we spied it from the highway or a plane.

XX?? What were they thinking..? Really, what?

These guys were Serious. Photo: Siskiyou County Historical Society

Attempts to split the state date back to the late 30’s, when counties in Southern Oregon and Northern California decided to secede from the nation and form a new body called Jefferson. Motorists were stopped and handed declarations as they passed through the region.  The bombing of Pearl Harbor put that effort under water, but the heartbeat is still felt as one drives past recent “State Of Jefferson” signs painted on remote barns.

Another serious effort was made by State Senator Barry Keene in the 80’s. He proposed the state be split at the Sacramento line creating a new state called Alta California. Hey, there’s Baja California – low California., why not a High California? The Emerald Triangle of the three most northern counties is infamous for its pot crop, so it fits in more than one way (although we like Quirkutopia better).

The new nation of Ecotopia as envisioned by E. Callenbach.

In 1975 Ernest Callenbach wrote Ecotopia (followed by Ecotopia Emerging), slender tomes of utopian secession that still have folks from San Francisco on north claiming it Can Be Done. Some present rumblings are only semi-serious. One is serious for the Tea Party types proposing it, laughable to the rest of us. It would give Los Angeles and Hollywood to the north.

No thank you very much!


2 responses to “North and South California?

  1. Perhaps California could be made into two states – divided by the San Andreas fault line. Everything east and north of that line would be made into a new state referred to simply as “California”. Everything west and south of that line would be a new state called “Southern California” but referred to as “Hollywood and all that other crap”.

    • Except that the fault line runs all the way up 70 miles north of SF before it dives into the ocean! And them folks would NOT want to be lumped in with “H.A.A.T.C.”.
      Though I doubt Cali will ever make ITSELF into two separated states along that fault line, some people used to joke that CA would crack off and fall into the ocean from weight of everyone’s National Geographic magazine collections…a much bigger threat…

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