Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, speaks with State of Jefferson organizer Terry Rapoza before a rally on the Capitol of California steps Thursday.
A banner hailing the imminent arrival of State of Jefferson is displayed outside the Capitol on Thursday.
by Alexi Koseff
Supporters of the aspiring State of Jefferson returned to Sacramento on Thursday to present “declarations of separation” from three more Northern California counties.
The petitions from Tehama, Glenn and Yuba counties, expressing their desire to withdraw from California because of a perceived lack of representation in the Legislature, bring the total number of breakaway counties to five. Jeffersonians rallied at the Capitol last August after presenting their initial declarations from Siskiyou and Modoc counties.
Mark Baird, the movement’s chairman who hails from Mugginsville in Siskiyou County, said that when he filed the petitions with state officials Thursday, “They didn’t know what to do with them. They didn’t want them.”
He’ll be back next month with another declaration from Sutter County, Baird said, and Plumas and Lake counties may follow. Once 10 or 12 counties are on board, Baird and his allies plan to ask the Legislature to pass a bill allowing the State of Jefferson to secede.
Before a rally on the steps of the Capitol, freshman Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, met with attendees. He sported a pin with Jefferson’s XX seal, which stands for double-crossed by Sacramento.“You need to get Shasta,” Gallagher told Terry Rapoza of Shasta County, a Jefferson organizer, “and Placer would be great.”“He really has the testicular fortitude, doesn’t he?” Rapoza said of Gallagher.
Gallagher said he is a “big supporter of trying to get better representation, especially for the rural areas,” and he is interested in changing the structure of the state Senate, perhaps to one senator per county. California and many other states had such a setup until the mid-1960s, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that legislative districts had to have equal numbers of people.
But Gallagher side-stepped questions about whether he would support Jeffersonians’ efforts to secede: “We’re not there yet.”
Baird said they’re still looking for lawmakers, preferably a Republican and a Democrat, to sponsor a State of Jefferson bill.
“The fact that (Gallagher’s) out here means something to us,” he said.
Ginny Rapini of Placer County soon called the rally to order, where Baird would condemn California’s cap-and-trade program and high-speed rail, as well as socialism.
“Can we get it done without the intervention of God?” Rapini asked the crowd of more than 100. “No! Let’s pray.”