A Divided Redding City Council Withholds Support of the State of Jefferson Movement

Aspiring residents of the proposed State of Jefferson, many wearing matching “Don’t Tread on Me” yellow and green T-shirts, filled the Redding City Council chambers Tuesday to make their case for a 51st state.

They filed out, disappointed but obviously undaunted, following the council’s 3-2 vote not to follow in the footsteps of supervisors in Siskiyou and Modoc counties who adopted declarations supporting the group’s desire to withdraw from California and form a new state.

“If we’re told no, we’ll be back again and again. And our children will be back,” vowed Robert Smith, a father of three who called the withdrawal movement “a vitally important fight.”

Raising the oft-repeated refrain that north state residents lack adequate representation in Sacramento, Roger Sherwood called state capitol politicians “ignorant” and said the “big-city mentality can’t help us here.”

The State of Jefferson idea is spreading like wildfire, said Lon Currey. “There are hundreds, if not thousands, working on this movement and it’s only been alive for three weeks. You’ll want to be on the boat before it sails. We just want your vote of approval.”

Vice Mayor Patrick Jones, who requested the council consider a declaration in support of a north-south split, argued forcefully in favor of a new state. Of utmost concern, he said, is California’s steady assault on private gun ownership—an issue he’s all too familiar with as the proprietor of a gun shop.

“I can tell you without hesitation your firearms rights are under attack,” Jones said. It’s not just guns, he added. The steady bombardment of industry-strangling restrictions are driving job-producing businesses out of the state and taking young people with them.

“There’s no way to win in Sacramento today…we will never be recognized in the north state,” Jones said. “There are two options: move or split the state.”  The State of Jefferson “is going to be the freest state in the nation. What’s life without freedom? It’s nothing,” Jones concluded, prompting a standing ovation.

Councilman Gary Cadd, who joined Jones in voting in favor of the declaration of support, also engendered a rowdy response by predicting even more onerous regulations en route from the capitol including a “groundwater extraction charge” aimed at rural residents who rely on wells.

“It’s about time we get hoppin’ mad and start making changes. Should we form our own government? Sure it will be hard. Are you ready for a challenge?” Cadd asked to robust applause.

Mayor Rick Bosetti changed the tenor of the chambers from cheers to groans when he noted that the same Southern California lawmakers and Sacramento politicians forcing these objectionable laws and regulations down the throats of rural cities and counties are the same ones who would need to OK the separation of California into two states.

“I’m not going to support this because I don’t think it’s the city’s fight,” Bosetti said.

Jon Lewis is a freelance writer living in Redding. He has more than 30 years experience writing for newspapers and magazines. Contact him at jonpaullewis@gmail.com.

Jon Lewis
Jon Lewis is a freelance writer living in Redding. He has more than 30 years experience writing for newspapers and magazines. Contact him at jonpaullewis@gmail.com.
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11 Responses

  1. Avatar Philbert says:

    I think this whole "movement" is great! I've always said the country NEEDS the State of Jefferson so that good ol' Mississippi will FINALLY have somebody to look down on.

    I mean, after all, SOJ's economy will be robust, right? What with its linchpin being the export of Meth, which as we all know is a fireproof commodity. Well, except for the occasional "laboratory trailer" that is – still, you can hardly find fault with their logic. Let's wish all these good folks success with their secession!

    P.S. – Where can I get me one of them t-shirts?

    • Avatar Pamela says:

      Hear! Hear! Like what you said Philbert.

      So there is an assault on firearms??? What about the assault on people. Let's not forget the people. That would be a good place to begin. Forget the major profits. Forget making money at all costs. Let's just consider what the people need: education, health care, infrastructure repair, living-wage jobs, etc. etc.

      The NRA and the gun industry are doing just fine as they count all their money on the way to the banks.

  2. Avatar mike says:

    I liked the idea of splitting from California until Jones said his piece.

  3. Randall R Smith Randall R Smith says:

    The last time there was a new state carved from an existing one, there was a Civil War taking place. Votes in the state which had seceded were not queried regarding the separation of what became West Virginia. The process, without secession, calls for both parts to favor the split, plus Congress. What allows Jefferson supporters to think Los Angeles will ever grant its present water to be in another state? Another problem, where will the money come from in Jefferson which now comes from Sacramento for roads, schools, justice, etc.? This is more than is contributed from taxes paid by current residents in the territory of Jefferson. Think you can charge for federal projects like Shasta Dam, for federal timber sales, for federal mineral leases, for federal wildlife refuges and monuments? Think again! Think period.

  4. James Montgomery James Montgomery says:

    There are 40 senators in the California Senate. Exactly 1 lives north of Sacramento.

    There are 80 assembly members. Two of them live north of Sacramento.

    We don't wield much clout.

    Imagine feeling like your vote actually counts! Imagine having two US Senators who actually come from the area they represent!

    The question as to whether the SOJ would be impoverished is not certain. In particular, I wonder where the tax-base vs. expenses information comes from, and whether it actually includes all sources of revenue. In particular, there are a number of federally-funded but state-administered programs, such as food stamps and Medicaid. Just to make it more complex, some of them are only partially federally funded.

    I have never seen any real economic analysis of this issue, though I have seen editorials that assume we receive more from CA than we contribute. It would be nice to have actual facts.

    • Avatar cheyenne says:

      Jim, I hope you don't mind my calling you Jim as that is what my wife calls you from her high school days in Hayfork.

      The New York Times published a survey 2-11-12 that showed how much each county in the US recieves as a percentage of their income from government. They had a total and six different categories. That might give a little more prespective on incomes.

      Also in last years White House petition to form the State of Jefferson from counties in northern California and southern Oregon generated 1,474 signatures to put that into prespective. From High Country News.

      • James Montgomery James Montgomery says:

        Yeah, call me Jim or James, just not late for dinner.

        Thank you for the source. I'll check it out. Hopefully it will distinguish federal funding from state, especially the pass-thru funding, which a lot of people aren't really aware of.

  5. Avatar pmarshall says:

    That undertaking would be extremely difficult; many, many changes would have to be made, and it could get very complicated. But the idea has some merit.

  6. Avatar Don Cohen says:

    Ah, Philbert we have missed you.

  7. James Montgomery James Montgomery says:

    Yes. EXTREMELY difficult, much more so than most JS advocates have any idea of. All great undertakings are, tho.

  8. Avatar John says:

    I'd rather be poor and have a say in my life than be taken care of by LA.