On Tuesday, July 15, the Tehama County Board of Supervisors fulfilled their promise to honor the voters’ wishes and approved the declaration to support the separation from California. The supervisors meeting was exciting, to say the least. There were many state split supporters present, who mostly chose to stay silent since the people had already voted on the issue. There were also many opponents present, who made various public statements against approving the declaration.

There was so much fear and misinformation relayed by the opposition during the meeting that I felt compelled to respond. I introduced myself to Sue Gallagher after the meeting and asked if we could meet for a cup of coffee to discuss and clarify some of these issues. My attempt to reach out was gracious and sincere; however it was met with a very rude rejection. Specifically, “I do not have time to meet with the likes of you people.”

I would like to take the opportunity to respond to some of the misinformation relayed by the opposition. Mrs. Gallagher wrote two letters to the board of supervisors that were distributed to the public along with the meeting agenda. Mrs. Gallagher asked for more information on who was behind the State of Jefferson to “identify the organization requesting our property.” What? A state split would not affect your property rights. If anything the state split is designed to ensure proper rural representation and would only serve to further protect your private property rights. This organization has never hinted that property within Tehama County would be given away. Where did this come from?

Mrs. Gallagher also asked “How will the multitudes of proud native Northern Californians feel about having their heritage erased?” What? The state split is pushing to protect us from decisions made by outsiders that negatively affect Northern California, preserve its heritage and restore its economy. Is it simply the name that is offensive or was this a racist jab at the leader of our committee being an immigrant with an accent? Would it help if we called it “Northern California?” All is this would be decided at a state constitutional convention by the people.

Most of the other opponents had fears about funding. Who said we would be a poor state? The State of Jefferson Committee has hired a team of financial analysts to study the financial viability of the split. They used the actual 2013/2014 budgets from 20 Northern California counties to track the actual operating expenses. Key statistics include population figures, state and federal income taxes, secured and unsecured property taxes collected, retail sales taxes, down to gallons of fuel sold in each county.

Based on this model, using the current California tax structure, prepared with actual data obtained from government websites, Jefferson, or Northern California, would have an operating budget of roughly $4 billion and the counties would enjoy an aggregate surplus of almost $8.9 billion. If the Jefferson model were implemented, with no state income tax, a gas tax cut in half, a modest 5 percent sales tax, and no corporate income taxes, the Northern Counties would still have a surplus of $6.4 billion.

There is nothing in our financial model that indicates that budgets will be slashed and that we would not receive funding for schools, since we used the current operating budgets. The difference is that we will not send the money to Sacramento and then wait for funding. Federally funded social services would continue to be routed to the new state. California is not a rich state. We are sinking in debt, regulation and idiocy.

The State of Jefferson Committee is willing to come to the table with the California First group to discuss what is best for all of us in Northern California. We are convinced that we can quell their fears, including the ability to support ourselves and the preservation of our Northern California heritage. We are interested in hearing their fears so that we can incorporate thoughtful planning and invite participation.

Of course there are many unanswered questions, but there are also many reasons to ask these difficult questions and push for change. The movement is in its infancy and the declaration made by the Tehama County Board of Supervisors is simply a statement to support the process to change rural representative and the lack thereof.

— Karin Knorr, Corning