Yreka, Siskiyou County -- Some folks around here think the economic sky is falling and state lawmakers in Sacramento and Salem are ignoring their constituents in the hinterlands.
Guess the time is ripe to create a whole new state.
That's the thinking up here along the border between California and Oregon, where 12 sparsely populated, thickly forested counties in both states want to break away and generate the 51st star on the nation's flag - the state of Jefferson.
You can see the signs of discontent from Klamath Falls to Dunsmuir, where green double-X "Jefferson State" flags hang in scores of businesses. You can hear the talk of revolution at lunch counters and grocery lines, where people grumble that politicians to the north and south don't care.
You can even hear the dissent on the radio, where 21 area FM stations broadcast from Oregon into California under the banner of "Jefferson Public Radio."
"We have nothing in common with you people down south. Nothing," said Randy Bashaw, manager of the Jefferson State Forest Products lumber mill in the Trinity County hamlet of Hayfork. "The sooner we're done with all you people, the better."
Talking about secession has been a quasi-joking conversational saw since 1941, when five counties in the area started things by actually declaring themselves - briefly - to be the state of Jefferson. But now, with the economy in trouble and unemployment soaring, the idea of greater independence is getting its most serious consideration since World War II.
Locals complain that federal and state regulators have hampered the fishing and timber industries to protect forestlands and endangered species such as sucker fish and the spotted owl. Jobs are so scarce that the median income in the area is only two-thirds that of the rest of the state. Most water from the rainy Shasta region is shipped south, with little economic benefit to the area. Even the California sales tax draws sneers.
If they ran their own state, the reasoning goes, folks in Siskiyou, Modoc and the other potential Jefferson counties could whack the red tape from both federal and state officials and get rid of the sales tax. [link to waronyou.com]