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Riverside lawmakers to vote on meeting to create South California as 51st state

Could Southern California become the 51st state? There's a new push to divide the Golden State into two.

July 11, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Riverside lawmakers will vote Tuesday on whether to support a meeting to discuss creating a 51st state known as South California.

Republican Jeff Stone has asked fellow members of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors to support a motion to bring together officials from 13 mostly conservative counties to discuss the idea. It would not include Los Angeles County.

Stone said California is too big to govern, a situation that has led the state to raid local government coffers because of runaway spending. He said he knows it will be a challenge to create another state but doesn't believe it's an impossible task.

The effort marks the latest in several secession movements in California dating back to the 1850s that aimed to cleave the state and split counties and cities.

Gil Duran, a spokesman for California Gov. Jerry Brown, said Stone's proposal is "a supremely ridiculous waste of everybody's time."

The new state would include coastal Orange and San Diego counties and more sparsely populated inland areas like Fresno, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Mono, Riverside, San Bernardino and Tulare counties.

Combined, those counties have about 13 million people.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.