Editor’s note: This column first appeared May 4, 2003
First it was north versus south.
There were those who thought splitting California in half at the Tehachapi Mountains. La-La Land until the mid-1960s was considered the aberration by many North state residents.
There have been several serious attempts to introduce legislation to study such a scenario in the California Legislature form the early days of the state to the 1970s.
The 1990s brought a half-serious proposal from demographers that California should be divided east/west or coastal versus inland to reflect a shift in political attitude.
Simply put, the coastal areas were growing more liberal and the interior areas more conservative as population shifts started occurring.
Now there’s a proposal that some in the Bay Area are taking seriously because they believe the rest of the country is out of step with them on issues such as the war in Iraq, President Bush and Chevron.
A gentleman named G. Pascal Zachary penned an opinion piece in the San Francisco Chronicle suggesting the creation of not a new state but a new nation dubbed “Bay Nation.” This, by the way, should not be confused with Raider Nation.
It would take in Marin County and the people’s republics of Berkeley, San Francisco and Oakland.
Readers, for the most part, thought it was a great idea.
They wrote in that it was time to get away from the hicks who went Bush in the last election. Too bad they didn’t realize that the liberal coast carried the state for Al Gore. They might be able to go about the day without hyperventilating about how horribly conservative the rest of the Golden State is compared to Baghdad by the Bay.
They told of how we are environmental thugs on this side of the Coastal Mountains. It is the rest of California that is destroying the environment and agriculture, not them. If they stopped ragging on the Central Valley long enough they might realize that the reason a popular dairy products line is called Berkeley Farms is that there were once dairies in the radical enclave.
Guess what happened? The fine people of Berkeley grew their city too much and drove the dairies out. They paved over paradise generations ago and promptly forgot about it now that they had their share of the American dream.
One letter writer went as far as saying once Bay Nation created its own ideal state they could rid the new country of corporations like Betchel, Chevron and other firms that might profit from war.
Actually, it’s not a bad idea. Expel firms and put up a gate. Citizens of the fledging nation could hop in their SUVs and patrol the streets for any signs of the offending cooperation.
Things would go fine until they run out of gas since the hard core constituencies of Bay Nation also want to close down every oil refinery in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Bay Nation could become super dependent on other foreign lands like the United States for oil. Then they could pay $4 or $6 a gallon to drive their Mercedes, Land Rovers, Jaguars and smoke belching VW buses.
And given the tendency of those who would bear allegiance to Bay Nation, companies would probably be subjected to super taxation to pay for Cadillac-style homeless programs and such.
It wouldn’t take too long for major corporations and manufacturers to flee Bay Nation.
And if they want a central presence on the West Coast to serve customers including Bay Nation what better choice than the Northern San Joaquin Valley? Of course, the unemployment statistics would probably shift with Bay Nation going from the low to mid single digits to double-digit and San Joaquin County doing the exact opposite.
The snobs of Bay Nation turn their nose down at the bounty offered by the Central Valley. Given the extent of farming in Bay Nation — a few organic farms, pot growers and vineyards — they may find the cost of food going up.
That’s not that the United States would impose export fees. Quite the contrary, Bay Nation would probably be forced to ignore NAFTA and tax the heck out of incoming food products to protect their meager but politically connected “farmers.”
Yes, Bay Nation is a great idea. Get rid of enough Left Coast voters by dissecting out liberal cells in and around the Bay Area and the odds of electing another Gray Davis governor goes down substantially.
This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209-249-3519.