Skyrocketing crime, soaring taxes spur San Bernardino County to explore secession

A slim majority of citizens in California’s fifth-largest county by population and largest county by land mass voted last month to explore the prospect of the county seceding from the notoriously left-wing state and forming a new one.

Specifically, a 51.26 percent majority of San Bernardino County’s 2.2 million residents voted in favor of an advisory ballot proposal that “directs local officials to study the possibility of secession,” according to CBS News.

It’s a bit of a surprise given San Bernardino County’s “racially and ethnically diverse” makeup, but not so much of a surprise once politics in factored into the equation.

“The votes speak to the alienation that some voters feel from a statehouse long dominated by Democrats who have made little progress on the growing homeless crisis, soaring housing costs and rising crime rates while residents pay among the highest taxes in the country,” CBS News noted.

The proposal is reportedly the brainchild of real estate developer Jeff Burum, who according to local station KERO recognizes that it’s a longshot.

In fact, speaking with the station before last month’s midterm elections, Burum said that actually achieving secession was never his real goal. He just wanted to make a point that he hoped Gov. Gavin Newsom, who lives in the Governor’s Mansion in Sacramento, would understand.

“Real estate developer Jeff Burum says that the true goal of the measure is to simply get Sacramento’s attention. He claims San Bernardino County does not get its fair share of state funding,” according to KERO.

“For example, there is no county in the state with a bigger deficit of Superior Court judges. If approved, Measure EE would allow county representatives to advocate for all options to obtain the county’s fair share of state funding, including secession from the state of California,” KERO reported.

Speaking in his own words, Burum said, “If we could create a new constitution and a new state and show the world what a better place looks like, I’d be all over it. But I’m also a practical guy. The chances of us creating our own state is one in a million.”


Well, the chances were one in a million. With the measure having passed last month, they’re presumably a little higher now.

Burum isn’t alone in feeling frustrated about money-related matters.

“There is ‘a lot of frustration overall’ with state government and how public dollars are spent — with far too little coming to the county, said Curt Hagman, chairman of the Board of Supervisors that placed the proposal on the ballot. The county will look at whether billions of dollars in state and federal funds was fairly shared with local governments in the Inland Empire,” according to CBS News.

Democrat legislators predictably view things differently. Indeed, one Democrat, San Bernardino County Democratic Party chair Kristin Washington, “dismissed the measure as a political maneuver to turn out conservative voters, rather than a barometer of public sentiment,” CBS News notes.

“Putting it on a ballot was a waste of time for the voters. The option of actually seceding from the state is not even something that is realistic because of all the steps that actually go into it,” she said.

But here’s the catch: Democrat voters outnumber Republican voters by 12 points in San Bernardino County, and so the measure couldn’t have passed without Democrat support.

The irony is the measure has received widespread mockery on social media from non-California Democrats who’ve just automatically assumed San Bernardino County is a Republican stronghold.

“Hi. We are the far right of the Republican Party and we’d like to waste your money studying things that either never happened, will never happen or didn’t happen but we are going to tell you that they did anyways,” one critic sarcastically tweeted.

Critics also seem to agree with Washington’s assessment that the measure was ultimately pointless:

Nevertheless, not everybody thinks it was a bad idea.



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Vivek Saxena


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