During a recent Board of Supervisors meeting, an Inland Empire real estate developer made his pitch that San Bernardino County should become its own state.
“San Bernardino County has long suffered enough,” said Jeff Burum. “The state of California continues to allocate resources to the high-cost areas to our detriment and other inland valley communities… We have been the dumping grounds of whatever you want.”
With the support of two mayors, Burum told the Board of Supervisors that the county should secede from California after being neglected, ignored and never prioritized by the state.
“Our future is at stake,” said Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren. “We cannot continue to beg, crawl and squirrel count. That’s what I call it when they’re getting their little nuts out of the tree — to get resources for our county.”
Upland Mayor Bill Velto added that the mandates issued by the state have been own the learning curves that he has had to mange in his first term.
“I’m in my freshman term as mayor of Upland,” he said. “Probably one of the learning curves is watching the mandates come out from
Sacramento and trying to impose those on residents and listening to the levels of frustration.”
Even though Burum knows seceding from the state is a long shot, he said that he is trying to make a point.
“People move out here for quality of life, but [when] the state decides they want to build a new prison, they pick a spot in San Bernardino County,” he said. “They want to dump a truck of parolees — and give them vouchers. It’s cheaper to move here, where they can get a job. They dump them here.”
Burum said the state does not prioritize infrastructure, such as roads, sewage and water lines, making it difficult to build new housing.
San Bernardino resident Daniel Altamirano said there have been improvements but more needs to be done.
The Gibson family, residents in the county for 13 years, said they left for Riverside County because they felt it offered more to their family. One family member said that the economic resources and financial situations, especially for minorities, contribute to the crime committed in the County.
Chief Deputy County Counsel Tom Bunton noted that even if San Bernardino County voters were to approve secession the state legislature and U.S. Congress would have to approve it.
If the secession were to happen, it would be the first new state since Hawaii was granted statehood in 1959.
The Governor’s office did not respond to comments.