California secession advocates get the green signal to start collecting signatures on petition

Secretary of State Alex Padilla said on Monday that the backers of the secession initiative can begin collecting signatures in an attempt to place it on a ballot.


                            California secession advocates get the green signal to start collecting signatures on petition
(Source:Getty Images)

On Monday, California advocates who want to secede from the United States were given the green signal to begin collecting signatures for their petition. Alex Padilla, the Secretary of State for California, announced the clearance of the ballot proposal, reported Fox News.

According to the proposal, voters would be asked in 2020 if they want to open up a discussion on secession. Once the proposal is passed, a second election would be held a year after the passage asking voters to confirm their decision to become an independent country.

Secession advocates need to gather a total of 365,880 signatures of registered voters until mid-October if they wish to get it on the ballot.

“Issue after issue, from immigration to agriculture, from taxation to banking, and on a host of other issues, it is clear that California and the United States have irreconcilable differences and it is time for a divorce,” Yes California's website says. “We shall now begin circulating the petition forms for that divorce.”

Founders of the group Yes California, Louis J. Marinelli and Marcus Ruiz Evans, said that the purpose of the second vote is to strengthen the case for foreign governments to recognize the sovereignty of the independent state. The final vote would also show the seriousness of Californians on the secession issue, reported The San Diego Tribune.

“We realize it may seem like a long time to wait,” Marinelli told The Times of San Diego. “But we need time to have a serious dialogue with the people of California about why they should support the independence referendum by voting yes. The voters need to make an informed decision when they go to the polls to determine California’s political future.”

 

 A participant holds a 'Calexit' sign during the Women's March on January 21, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Chelsea Guglielmino/Getty Images)

Although the said group is hardline progressive, Evans told CNBC that they do uphold quite a few conservative ideals.

"Calexit is left — we are progressive, and that's why we don't like Trump," Evans said. "But there are some very hardcore Republican concepts to Calexit, including the group saying don't waste our tax money."

According to him, his group's membership proliferated after President Trump took the reigns of the White House. Currently, Yes California boasts a total of 44,000 members. 

That being said, there have been several attempts in the past for California to secede from the union, but each time, the initiative has either been withdrawn or the advocates failed to gather the required number of signatures in order to proceed.

Marinelli had introduced similar initiatives in the past with little success. Back in 2015, he had introduced a number of independence related initiatives in San Diego that eventually faded out.

“If President Trump is reelected in 2020, Californians will want to secede from the United States just as they wanted to, following the 2016 election,” the campaign says. “This ballot measure we are now circulating will make this vote possible. We are asking the people to hedge their bet in 2020: vote against Donald Trump, but at the same time vote to schedule an independence referendum for six months later on May 4, 2021. You may end up wanting the referendum if he is reelected.”

According to the campaign, its main policy revolves around universal health care, fighting climate change, education reform, keeping the tax revenue within the state, and localizing immigration enforcement, or, in other words, the skewed definition of a liberal utopia.

Fascinatingly, Marinelli had announced back in 2017 that he wished to move to Russia for the rest of his life and cut off completely from the Calexit movement.

A finance lecturer at San Diego State University, Seth Kaplowitz, told CNBC that he thinks the campaign will lose its fire sooner than later. "It would be ridiculous to secede from the union,” he said. “The only person who would probably be happy about that is probably Donald Trump."

As the drive proceeds, there is another initiative running parallel which aims to break California into three separate states. The said plan would create a northern California state with San Francisco at the center. The second state would be Los Angeles and the third would cover San Diego along with the Central Valley. The plan is currently backed by Silicon Valley billionaire Tim Draper.

What's more? There is another proposal to cut out rural counties and turn them into individual states, called "New California".

Interestingly, the founders of New California deem the rest of California as "ungovernable," which some critics would call a premature stance, considering that they aspire to govern their newly proposed state.