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latest news San Bernardino County secession could head for November ballot

A measure that would allow San Bernardino County supervisors to explore secession from the state of California could come before county voters in November.

The supervisory board approved the ballot measure at a meeting Wednesday evening after the issue was raised at several board meetings. Wednesday’s vote was the first step in adding the measure to the ballot, which will be followed by a second and final reading and vote scheduled for next week.

“Do the citizens of San Bernardino County want the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors to explore all options to get its fair share of state and federal resources, up to and including secession?” reads the proposed measure. Voters would choose yes or no.

Even if approved by voters, secession from California County, whether to become its own state or to become part of a neighboring state, is extremely unlikely. This decision would have to be approved by state lawmakers, Congress, the Senate and, possibly, the president.

At last week’s board meeting, speakers and board members expressed frustration with the amount of funding San Bernardino County receives from the state, an issue that has made its way into the wording of the proposed ballot.

“Our sheriff’s department, our judges, are constantly being overtaxed with not enough resources,” Jeff Burum, president of development corporation National Community Renaissance, said at the meeting.

Burum urged the council to put a secession measure on the ballot and was supported by Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren and Uplands Mayor Bill Velto.

“The last line is the most controversial because the rest is like a no-brainer,” council chairman Curt Hagman said Wednesday, referring to the options clause “up to and including secession.”

The measure would allow the council to expend staff resources to study the funding that San Bernardino County receives from the state.

“Then we can look at the options,” Hagman said. “How can we push for more? How do we warn our state officials that, hey, we’re not getting our fair share? »

The threat of secession has long been a weapon for disgruntled political minorities in California, the nation’s most populous state and one of the most liberal. Conservative forces in far northern California have repeatedly attempted to create their own state, without success. A proposal to divide California into several states also failed. Nothing indicates that this one would unfold differently.

Hagman told The Times that a vote on the issue would show “the seriousness of the public.”

Supervisor Dawn Rowe called secession an “extreme example” of action that could be taken and expressed skepticism about the possibility of seceding from the state.

“I received overwhelming support for looking at all of our options, [and] several who told us we were crazy to have considered such a thing,” Rowe said. “They were basically interested in having a voice and hoping their elected officials would listen to them and get frustrated.

“I’m very worried about what it would mean if we were to consider going on our own,” she said, citing concerns about the effects of secession on school funding and mental health.

Supervisor Joe Baca was more direct in his assessment.

“I am not in favor of secession,” he said. “I just don’t believe we have the resources or the means, the personnel or the capacity to create our own state.”

“I’m proud to be from California. I love California,” he said.

Baca still voted in favor of putting the measure on the ballot, saying he supported reviewing funding levels.

“It is clear that people are suffering; let’s go out and get more [funding]and let’s make sure we help them,” he said.

Supervisor Janice Rutherford saw the vote as a way for voters to express “increasing palpable anger” against the state, while adding that secession would be unworkable.

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