San Bernardino County, in southeast California, has voted in favor of a measure to study ways to get what it believes is its fair share of state and federal resources, including secession from the state.
Earlier this month, officials finished tallying votes on a county-wide ballot measure from the Nov. 8, 2022 elections. The measure reads as a question of “if the citizens of San Bernardino County want the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors to pursue all options, up to and including seeking approval to form a new state, so that San Bernardino County can obtain its fair share of state and federal resources.”
According to the county vote totals, the measure passed on 50.62 percent of the vote for and 49.38 percent against.
The ballot measure is an advisory vote only and represents the preferences of the voters but does not necessarily control the actions of the Board of Supervisors.
The ballot measure will give the board of supervisors for California’s fifth-most populous county the go ahead to pursue what it believes is a more fair share of resources and services for its approximately 2.19 million residents.
The ballot measure was proposed by a local real estate developer named Jeff Burum.
“I think that California has become so large that it’s impractical to save the entire state. We’re the highest tax state in the entire union,” Burum said in a July San Bernardino County board of supervisors meeting, SiliconValley reported. “You’d think that, with that, we’d have the highest level of services, but we don’t.”
At the same meeting, San Bernardino Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman said, “I’m frustrated, too. I’m frustrated with the state of California.”
Hagman, who previously served as a Republican in the California State Assembly, said, “It’s becoming, more and more, ‘one size fits all’ for the greatest state in the nation.”
San Bernardino County borders the southern tip of Nevada and parts of northeast Arizona. It remains to be seen if the county will seek to form a 51st state or if its range of options could entail it becoming part of one of the neighboring states.
While the county may ultimately seek secession from the rest of California, the county would still have to gain the approval by the California state legislature and the U.S. Congress, where their odds of success may be far lower.
In November, Burum and Hagman said their idea for secession may spread to other counties in California.
“This measure has gotten attention from neighboring counties who would like some of the same information, so this may be a multi-county effort,” Hagman said in November, the San Bernardino Sun reported.
“I’m pretty sure that a majority of counties in California are unhappy with how they’re being governed,” Burum also said in November. “I think Sacramento’s going to have a wakeup call.”