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Updated 11:00am - Nov 26, 2014

Home arrow Opinion arrow Columns arrow Coastal Voices: This isn’t necessarily just a ‘crackpot’ idea

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Coastal Voices: This isn’t necessarily just a ‘crackpot’ idea

What does it take for an idea to go from “crackpot” to “worthy of consideration” to “the time has come” to “acceptance?”

I imagine our ancestors asked that question as they contemplated the “crackpot” idea of organizing 13 British colonies so that they could consider the outlandish idea of breaking away from the British yoke of oppression.

 They had legitimate reasons that they enumerated in the Declaration of Independence. They were willing to risk their lives, fortunes and sacred honor for a cause.

Today we live under an oppressive state government that only listens to the citizens living in large metropolitan areas like San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. 

Our forebears fought the British because those colonists had no representation before the British crown. Is that any different than a state  imposing a tax that only applies to those living in rural areas and exempts cities?

The fire tax is a case in point where only those living in rural areas pay this $150 tax every year even though they are protected by their own local fire departments, to whom they also pay a tax.

Thomas Jefferson, writing in the Declaration of Independence, gave “imposing taxes on us without our consent” as a reason for declaring independence. This is exactly what has happened to rural residents.

Jefferson also said declaring independence was to fight forces that were “destroying the lives of our people.” Is this any different from shutting down lumber mills and throwing people out of work to protect an owl even when the protection was unwarranted?

Is it any different from the tremendous fish kill that destroyed thousands of salmon when the government decreased the level of water flowing in our rivers?

Do our elected representatives represent us or the big metro areas? We only have to look at a piece of federal legislation called HR 1526. It would permit limited timber cutting of Forest Service land. It would be a sustained yield cut that would slow the fuel buildup on the forest floor, thus lessening the chance of a fire.

In addition, 25 percent of the proceeds would go to fund rural counties and schools.  Our representative, Jared Huffman, vote "no." He Why? Because along with representing Del Norte and Humboldt counties, he also represents Marin County. Whenever there is a conflict between the counties he represents in the north and Marin County, whose side do you think he is going to be on?

Is it any wonder that Siskiyou County voted to secede from the state of California?  The metro newspapers editorialized that they must be crackpots to even contemplate such an action.

Now with the addition of the Modoc County Board of Supervisors voting to secede, the rest of the state is starting to pay attention to the idea of a real state of Jefferson where local folks would have real representation, where instead of having two U.S. senators representing the Bay Area, we would have two senators who represent our interests. Rather than having a member of Congress who does the bidding of Marin County, we would have one who represents the interests of Del Norte, Humboldt, Shasta, Modoc and Siskiyou counties.

The financial argument made by the other side is that we would be a poor state if we split from California. Not necessarily.

We could offer tax benefits for businesses to locate here. We could again practice sustained yield forestry and create a timber and fishing-based economy with high-paying jobs again.

Groups are presenting the secession idea to Shasta and Humboldt counties.

Is there a Del Norte supervisor who has the courage to put this on the agenda so we can have an honest and open discussion about this?

Bob Berkowitz is a Crescent City resident.

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