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Could San Bernardino County secede from California? Voters will decide this November

San Bernardino County voters will get a chance this November to decide whether they want the county to secede from California.

The Board of Supervisors this week opted to put the measure on the ballot.

"People are ticked off, and they have rights to be," said Yucca Valley resident Joy Pam.

"I definitely think it's crazy," said high desert realtor J. Ovier Alvarez. "Are you kidding me?"

Inland Empire real estate developer Jeff Burum made the pitch to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors that the county should become its own state. He said the county has been neglected by California leaders and is missing out on its fair share of resources.

"San Bernardino County has long suffered enough," Burum said.

San Bernardino County ranks 36th of 56 counties in per-capita revenue received from state and federal governments – despite being home to the 5th largest population in the state.

"I don’t believe it’s feasible politically or financially to secede from California," said San Bernardino County Supervisor Janice Rutherford. "However, I absolutely join with my constituents who have a growing, palpable anger about everything from high gas prices to burdensome taxes."

San Bernardino is geographically the largest county in the nation – bigger than 9 states in the U.S.

Nearly 2.2 million residents live there – more than in 15 states.

"The taxes are ridiculous," Pam said. "And I think that the leadership is just – they have no logic."

Alvarez said seceding doesn't seem realistic to him – but he suspects this is a stunt to get attention from higher government.

"I do see a strategy behind them," Alvarez said. "They're trying to push the state for them to figure out what to do."

If voters decide to secede, the measure would still need to clear the state legislature and United States Congress, which few believe would ever happen.

If successful, the long-shot plan would create the first new state since Hawaii in 1959.

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Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.

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