California is big, but it may not be big enough for liberals and conservatives. Former Republican Assemblyman Mill Maze is pushing a plan to split the Golden State in two.
Not Northern and Southern California, as others have envisioned --but Coastal and Inland California. Liberal and Conservative California. Maze wants the 45 inland counties to breakaway from the 13 coastal counties, and create the 51st state in the U.S.
Maze served California's inland counties as an Assemblyman, and says his former constituents believe the state's taxes and environmental rules are killing their interests.
"Citizens of our once Golden State are frustrated and desperately concerned about the imposition of burdensome regulations, taxation, fees, fees and more fees, and bureaucratic intrusion into our daily lives and businesses," declares downsizeca.org, the movement's website.
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So Maze, who was an Assemblyman until he was termed out last year, is traveling the state, selling his plan. He's raising money, and raising his profile. He says he wants to put the issue before the voters. The odds against him are long. California has a long history of trying to split itself apart, but few ever gained much steam at all.
The movement that seemed to have the most momentum was back in 1941, when some Northern California counties wanted to team up with some southern Oregon counties to form a state of Jefferson. At the time, it would have been the 49th state. But World War II put an end to that plan.
But Maze says he'll try again, and even if he can't get the Legislature's ear, he'll probably grab a lot of attention from talk radio.