Home > Local > Breakaway Group Wants San Bernardino County to Form ‘Empire State’

Breakaway Group Wants San Bernardino County to Form ‘Empire State’

By: Manny Otiko, IVN

San Bernardino, CA — A group of Inland Empire politicians and business leaders is lobbying for the County of San Bernardino to break away from California. The proposed new state will be called “Empire State.“ The announcement was made at a recent meeting of the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors.  

 According to Jeff Burum, an area property developer, the group is frustrated by high taxes and “unfunded mandates.” 

Burum said he was frustrated by political leaders in Sacramento who he claimed were out of touch with the needs of the people in San Bernardino County. 

“Our Sheriff’s Department, our judges, are constantly taxed with too much with not enough resources,” said Burum, according to news reports. “The state of California continues to allocate resources to the high-cost areas to our detriment and other inland valley communities. It’s time to stop it.” 

Burum said he wants the issue to be on November’s ballot. He was supported by two mayors of Inland Empire cities, Acquanetta Warren, mayor of Fontana, and Bill Velto, mayor of Upland.  

Both mayors spoke for themselves and were not representing their cities. 

Board Chair Curt Hagman also said he supported the idea but admitted that it was unlikely to succeed. 

California, the nation’s most populous state, has frequently faced moves to secede. In 2020, a group in northern California pushed for a succession movement because they felt their region is more conservative than predominately liberal California. They proposed merging with a breakaway part of Oregon and joining Idaho.

There was also a move for California to secede from the United States and become its own country. However, the “Calexit” movement was backed by Louis Marinelli, an American citizen who is currently living in Russia. In 2014, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Tim Duncan spent $4 million on his effort to split California into six states. It failed, as did several other attempts to divide the Golden State.  

The last new states to join the union were Hawaii and Alaska, which both joined in 1954. And the last state to be created by splitting away from another state was West Virginia, which was created in 1863. 

If this latest succession was approved, it would create several new administrative problems. For example, San Bernardino County residents who were attending California universities, such as Cal-State San Bernardino, would be suddenly charged with higher fees since they were no longer California residents.

Inland Valley News coverage of local news in San Bernardino county  is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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