Fran Freedle: Nevada County part of a new state?
When is it OK for government to oppress its citizens? Never!
Listening to the public hearing about high-density housing in Nevada County reminded me of why we feel our liberty and freedom are fading away.
I mused that it is no wonder that citizens are banding together throughout the 20 Northern California counties to file declarations and proceed with separation from California to form a new state.
The forms of tyranny by the California government are pernicious.
The California Environmental Quality Act, commonly referred to as CEQA, puts all land owners, especially those who want to develop their land, build a house, etc., under their control.
CEQA requires General Plans to have a Housing Element, that the state must approve, that describes what types of housing we should have including high-density units.
Nevada County was assigned 699 units that must be close to public services including water, sewer, roads, transportation, etc. The County Planning staff selected 18 sites with willing participants from a list of 39 potential sites.
No high-density housing was assigned to Nevada City or Truckee, though it could be argued that both communities have existing needs for affordable housing.
Our community responded with skepticism, especially for remote rural areas in Penn Valley and Lake of the Pines.
The most impacted area elicited comments from Grass Valley City Planning staff, and the mayor who said “we should talk” and collaboratively decide where and how many units.
When asked what would be the consequences of noncompliance, the answer was the county could lose important grants that benefit the community, the General Plan would be out of compliance — a requirement for any development, and the county may not be able to issue building permits.
The newly formed state would not have CEQA, a purely California law with big hammers if we don’t comply.
Development in the new state will reflect the values and lifestyles of the citizens. Building codes will be much like Uniform Building Code 1998.
The new state is envisioned to have a bicameral, part-time legislature meeting every two years, and develop a two-year budget.
Legislators would be limited to only one piece of legislation per two-year cycle, all laws would have sunset clauses, and legislators would be paid a stipend, not a salary.
There would be a governor (four-year term with two-term limit), state senate with one senator per county (same term limit), state assembly with each member serving 30,000 citizens but allowing each county to have at least one assemblyman (two-year term, two-term limit).
The legislature will have sole power over the content of the law.
The state supreme court would have seven judges, who will not have the power to alter the Constitution.
Law enforcement will include a state attorney general and county sheriffs.
Federal law enforcement agencies will pay the county sheriff for any federal law enforcement services within the counties.
One representative from each county will comprise the State University Board of Regents and meet for one week quarterly.
The existing Western States College Alliance will be honored with some states granting in-state tuition to neighboring states like Nevada does for California students.
All state agencies will be directed by legislative mandate and managed by the executive branch. There will be a Department of Justice under the State Attorney General.
A state engineer will help counties with large infrastructure projects, and have jurisdiction over state water projects, waterways, roads and bridges and will oversee water rights.
There will be a Department of Agriculture with jurisdiction over State Fish and Game, Natural Resources, State Forestry, animal and crop matters. They will monitor water quality when arbitration is necessary.
Many of the functions of county government will remain unchanged, but we would shed regulations and unfunded mandates that presently constrain our ability to serve our citizens.
The new state constitution will be based on the U.S. Constitution and be difficult to change.
The new state will function from the bottom up with greater access to our representatives, not from the top down as California does now.
Nevada County citizens are circulating petitions asking that registered voters have an opportunity to vote on whether Nevada County should separate from California to form a new state.
For information, go to Facebook at Nevada County for State of Jefferson.
To sign the petition, stop by the Liberty Center, 256 Buena Vista St., Grass Valley, Monday through Friday from 5:30 to 7 p.m., or Saturdays 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Questions will be answered if you call 530-270-9185 or send an email to email@example.com.
Fran (Grattan) Freedle lives in Grass Valley. She is a former Nevada County planning commissioner, county supervisor and a member of the Nevada County State of Jefferson movement.
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