The Modoc County Board of Supervisors today voted to join neighboring Siskiyou County in its bid to secede from the State of California.
Board Chairman Geri Byrne said a measure to join the push to form a State of Jefferson was approved by a vote of 4-0, with one supervisor absent.
“I put the measure on the agenda because I heard from a number of people in my district that wanted to do such,” Byrne said. “We’re not saying we’re seceding today, we’re saying let’s look into it.”
Roughly 40 people turned out for the board meeting, Byrne said a standing-room only crowd in the Modoc County chambers. About a dozen spoke in favor of the measure with only two raising objections.
“This is going to have to be something the people bring forward,” Byrne said. “It’s going to have to be from the bottom up, not from the top down.”
The move makes Modoc the second county to join in the fight to form the State of Jefferson in less than a month. Siskiyou County passed a measure to start the secession process at the supervisor’s Sept. 3 meeting.
Mark Baird, a spokesperson for the Jefferson Declaration Committee, said the group hopes to have a dozen counties commit their support before asking California legislators to allow the formation of the new state.
“California is essentially ungovernable in its present size,” Baird said. “We lack the representation to address the problems that affect the North State.”
“We’re looking for 12 counties, though we can certainly do it with less,” he said.
If all goes according to plan, Baird said the new state’s economy could be 15 percent larger than that of New Mexico.
Still, most of the more populated counties in Northern California have yet to lend their support, though a number are considering it, including Shasta County and Redding, the most populous city north of Sacramento.
Siskiyou County has a population of just over 44,100, while Modoc has about 9,300 residents, according to the most recent U.S. Census data.
Supervisors in Butte County, the most populated municipality to consider joining the movement, have scheduled a vote for Oct. 22.
The Redding City Council has yet to set a date for a discussion on the topic, which is being sought by Vice Mayor Patrick Jones.
Jones has said action by the city would send a strong message against Sacramento politics. He has said the area gets no representation from the State Capitol.
He noted at the time that Lassen County was considering a vote on withdrawing from the state.
Residents, many who live in rural setting, no longer feel as if California is their state, and they identify little with the central and southern part of the state, he said.
"When they’re that diverse, (the state) should split,” Jones said. “At this point, I don’t care how the state is split as long as they cut me off from Sacramento and beyond.”