Jeff Stone

July 13th, 2011, 11:49 am · posted by Martin Wisckol, Politics reporter

A Riverside County supervisor backed off of his call for 13 counties to secede from the state when fellow supervisors threw cold water on the idea Tuesday night.

As something of a consolation prize, the supervisors endorsed the idea of a statewide convention for local government leaders to discuss possible solutions to the state’s problems – provided no county money was spent on the endeavor.

Supervisor Jeff Stone, frustrated with Sacramento’s fiscal crisis and legislators decision to take money from four Riverside County cities, had proposed that 13 counties – 12 of them Republican – break away and become the 51st state of South California.

The effort would be a longshot, in part because it would need the approval of Congress and the state Legislature. Supervisor John Benoit cited approximately 220 secession efforts that went no where.

“I just can’t in good conscience commit Riverside County as a primary promoter of the concept” of secession, Benoit said.

I called Scott Baugh, chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County, and he said pursuing secession was probably not a good use of public money but that it didn’t hurt to talk about the idea.

“I don’t think it’s a discussion that’s going to lead to a better outcome, but it’s worth having the discussion,” he said.

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