Eric Campbell says he wants 51 states, splitting The Golden State in two to create the state of New California.
Campbell, a Tulare County resident, said the new state will create an opportunity for better political representation and present the chance to address education, taxes and water rights and use — the very issues that have him calling to break up California into 2 new states.
"Businesses are being taxed to death," Campbell said.
On Tuesday, Campbell and his wife, Amy Dickinson Campbell, read Grievance 22 in front of the Tulare County Courthouse to spur on the movement as they gather local support.
"We should have those grievances heard," he said.
Amy Dickinson Campbell, left, and Eric Campbell, members of the New California State Movement, read grievances at the Tulare County Courthouse on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. The group has objections to the way the State is run and wants to break the state into two states.(Photo: Ron Holman)
The New California movement calls for splitting the current state with coastal counties keeping the name and off-the-coast locations forming the nation's 51st star on the American flag.
"We are determined to live under a state government in the United States of America and under the Constitution of the United States," part of the grievance read.
The New California State would receive between 25 and 27 electoral votes. The process to create the new state may take up to two years.
Already, there are residents in 48 counties recognizing the New California State movement. Residents in the states of Washington, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, New York and Virginia are also following the movement.
Dickinson Campbell said those states follow California's model of one city or region controlling the state.
For instance, in Washington state, Seattle, the Pacific Northwest's largest city, is in power, Dickson Campbell said. Seattle-based Democrats control Washington state's political landscape, ignoring the rest of residents.
It's much the same in California, Dickson Campbell said.
Democrats in the Bay Area and Los Angeles have a firm hold of Sacramento's political landscape. The Central Valley, which leans Republican, is left out of the decision-making and political process.
The effort Campbell is fronting locally that calls for breaking up California is at least one of three similar efforts. For nearly three decades, residents in Northern California have pushed to create the State of Jefferson.
Cal 3, a ballot initiative to split the state, gathered enough signatures to get on the November ballot.
Campbell said the New California State movement is independent from the others.
But he said the 425,000 signatures gathered to have Cal 3 (not to be confused with New California State movement) on the ballot shows there's a common feeling among Californians.
"People are tired of the crap," Campbell said. "People are tired of being stomped on and walked all over, and ignored politically on an everyday basis."
Campbell said the US Constitutions' Article 4 and sections 3 and 4 explained the way the New California state can firm.
However, there's too much economic interest to permit it. The Golden State's economy is the sixth largest in the world.
California Assemblyman Devon Mathis (R-Visalia) said splitting the state would be a major task.
"I feel that it would be prohibitively challenging for California to split into three states, but we have seen stranger things happen," he said.
Mathis said the legislative process can't be a simple state constitution change.
"Rather than an amendment to the constitution, the people would need to consider an outright revision," he said.
Talking about a possible new state takes away from the work at hand, Mathis said.
"In the meantime, I find it valuable to focus our attention on California as it stands now," he said. "We need to strive to lower taxes and make this a better place for our working families."
Campbell said the New California can be abandoned if Gov. Jerry Brown permits a freer style of governing.
"They work for us. They mismanage our money," he said. "Their ideas, style of leadership is not what people want."
Dickinson Campbell said the weekly grievances reading will continue for at least five months. The movement's state convention will be on July 21 at Harris Ranch, an hour away from Visalia.