Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Great State of Jefferson: The 51st State

Ok, close your eyes and think of California. You probably picture sun drenched skies, crowded freeways, overly trendy people, over priced houses, and the occasional mudslide and wildfire. Oh, and lets not forget the earthquakes. While this may seem like a somewhat accurate picture of the state, this picture really only reflects a small part of the state. This really only describes, albeit in a slightly exaggerated manner, areas south of Sacramento and within 20 miles of the ocean.

The vast majority of the state doesn’t look anything like this, especially up north where I live. I’m not saying one area is better than the other, that’s just the way it is. There are lots of benefits to living in a large cosmopolitan metro area. The reality is, most of the people in the state do live below Sacramento and close to the ocean, so while that picture does not reflect the whole state well, it does reflect the area where most of the people live.

Every so often the local University spits out a report that drives home the point of just how different we are up here behind The Redwood Curtain. Here some statistics. Most of the information comes from the census.

Over the age of 65
The State: 10.7%
Humboldt County: 12.5%

Non Whites
The State: 22.8%
Humboldt County: 12.3%

The State: 6.8%
Humboldt County: 1%

American Indians
The State: 1.2%
Humboldt County: 5.3%

The State: 34.7%
Humboldt County: 7.4%

People Per Square Mile
The State: 217.2
Humboldt County: 35.4

Living Below Poverty Level
The State: 13.8%
Humboldt County: 15.6%

Population Growth 1990-2000
The State: 13.6%
Humboldt County: 6.2%

Mean travel time to work (minutes)
The State: 27.7
Humboldt County: 17.8

Median Household Income
The State: $48,440
Humboldt County: $32,123

So we’re older, less diverse, make less money, and fewer people want to come up here. The last one’s fine with me. On the plus side, it’s less crowded and we spend less time driving to work. We also have more American Indeans, and if nothing else, that means more casinos. These differences between Us & Them have been apparent for quite some time. In as early as 1852 parts of No. Ca. and So. Oregon tried to succeed and create a new state. There has been talk of it ever since. The map changes a bit every time it comes up. Below is the current map of The Great State of Jefferson.

Currently Del Norte is Ca. & Curry is Or.

In 1941 there was a very real attempt to create what would have been at that time the 49th State. A Governor and a Legislature were elected and highway signs were changed at the “state boundaries”. The big complaint in 1941 was that the counties in No. Ca. and So. Or. were being ignored by Sacramento and Salem. Resource extraction was the livelihood for thousands and roads and bridges either weren’t being built, or weren’t maintained so the jobs couldn’t grow and continue. The state seal had a Double XX on it to represent the feeling of being double crossed by politicians so many times.

It’s interesting to note that the rail link between Eureka and the Bay Area washed out in 1999 and there are still no plans to rebuild it. The feelings about Jefferson State are very real for some even today. In 1941 the whole thing sort of fizzled out when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. I’m really not sure if we would be better or worse off if we did succeed and create a new state. I can say the Thomas Jefferson is maybe my favorite Patriot (I wouldn’t mind living in The Great State of Franklin either), so living in Jefferson state would be pretty cool. A boy can dream...

Become a Jefferson State Patriot - The Great State of Jefferson


Anonymous said...

Cool post, but the state of Franklin already existed and is taken. ;-)

Anonymous said...

And appaprently, you also have some pretty advanced technology there in Eureka! I haven't been able to find info about ordering this "cryo-kennel" anywhere - if they sell them in one of the stores downtown, could i send you a check to buy one for me? ;)

Greg said...

Wow! The state of Franklin! I love it. It’s too bad it didn’t work out.

As for the cryo-kennel, I could get you one but then I’d have to kill you, so, you know….. It’s all very top secret. Looks like the secret’s finally out about Eureka.

K said...

Makes sense to me. I'm all for the state of Jefferson! Though really the name "Greg" has a better ring to it. Long live the state of Greg!