51st STATE? Separatists Seek to Secede from California

51st STATE? Separatists Seek to Secede from California

51st STATE? Separatists Seek to Secede from California

Getting to the heart of the vast region of Northern California that wants to break free and become the nation’s 51st state requires leaving California behind. At least, any familiar notion you may have of California. And that, in a sense, is exactly what you do when you travel there by car, which is pretty much the only way to reach the small towns in this sparsely populated part of the country.

Pull onto the freeway leaving the San Francisco International Airport, and you recognize the California from the movies: palm trees, speeding traffic, the glitter of the big city on the bay, the extended slog of suburbia. You may think you’re already in Northern California, but you’d be wrong. You’ll understand just how wrong by the time you reach your destination.

It’s not long before the landscape opens up and flattens out. This is the Sacramento River Delta, the rich farmland where they grow rice and almonds, tomatoes and alfalfa, sucking up vast amounts of water coming from the north. A roadside trailer flashes past, painted with the message that Jesus bled and died for you.

At a nondescript gas station in the town of Redding, you notice the first sign of the breakaway movement: a rack of forest-green sweatshirts bearing a yellow seal marked with a bold black double X. It’s the seal of the State of Jefferson, an idea that dates back more than 70 years and is currently being revived by a passionate group of separatists. They are pushing to split from the Golden State and form a new state roughly the size of North Carolina, but with one-fifth of the population. It’s a move that would require approval from both the California Legislature and the U.S. Congress.

The fight to create Jefferson is the longest of long shots, a Hail Mary pass made by folks who are sick of being underrepresented in the state legislature and ignored by California’s urban centers.

 

Read full story: http://interactive.nydailynews.com/2016/02/state-of-jefferson-secessioni...