<b>State of Jefferson</b>

EDITOR: I take exception to Pete Golis' disingenuous and patronizing column ("Hard times in rural counties," Sunday). His sophistry implication is that these underemployed, low-wage, high poverty, socially distressed, lack of health care pessimists shouldn't even think about undertaking such a historic option as forming a new state called Jefferson.

The fact is the people of Southern Oregon and Northern California have felt marginalized for decades. Over-regulation is a simplistic answer to the much larger issue of under-representation. The condescension expressed in this column exacerbates the status quo and is exactly why the people of Siskiyou County and other northern counties are choosing to actively pursue representation closer to home.

Why not let a few counties form a new state if they are in fact such a drain on California's financial resources? Would it not be better to have them form a representative government they relate to, as opposed to one they feel alienated from? We should be cheering them on — think of all the great possibilities in starting over. The question is, can Sacramento let them go?

TOM CONNICK

Santa Rosa