Voters from one of California's most populous counties will have the opportunity this November to vote on whether their county should consider seceding from California.
What are the details?
The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 on Wednesday to include the secession measure on the November ballot, the Associated Press reported.
Importantly, the measure does not directly ask voters whether San Bernardino County should secede from California, but whether county officials should consider secession as a means for the county to obtain what officials believe are the state and federal resources it deserves.
The ballot measure reads:
Do the citizens of San Bernardino County want the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors to study all options to obtain its fair share of state and federal resources, up to and including secession?
San Bernardino County is the largest county by land size in the contiguous United States at more than 20,000 square miles, making it larger than Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, and Rhode Island — combined.
Despite its large size and population of nearly 2.2 million people — making it California's fifth-most populous county — San Bernardino County spokesman David Wert disclosed that a recent study showed that, in terms of per-capita revenue received from the state and federal governments, San Bernardino County ranks 36th out of 56.
That means counties with fewer than 200,000 people receive more state and federal dollars than San Bernardino County.
The vote, then, is really about increasing pressure on officials to ensure that San Bernardino receives its "fair share" of the pie.
"It's a question we're going to put to our residents. Do they want to include all options to go after, fight for their fair share of taxpayer dollars?" Supervisor Curt Hagman said.
"I do think we have to look at anything we can do to enhance services for our residents," Supervisor Joe Baca Jr. agreed. "I’m not in favor of seceding. I’m proud to be from California. I love California."
Would it join another state?
At the board meeting, Supervisor Dawn Rowe suggested San Bernardino County could join Arizona or Nevada, noting the expenses associated with maintaining an entire state.