from the flags-with-49-stars dept.
It would be easy to dismiss this as some fringe group trying to make California into its own country, but former intelligence officials tell the ABC7 News I-Team the ballot initiative leader's ties to Russia raise serious questions.
Louis Marinelli has received support in Russia from a far-right nationalist group that wants to break up the United States. Former intelligence officials say that association raises serious questions about his intent.
"You don't need this to be involved in California's campaign for independence," Marinelli said holding up an American flag.
He's the leader of the Yes California campaign, also dubbed Calexit. Marinelli is an American who lives in Russia, but his movement is getting a lot of attention stateside.
A recent Reuters poll found one in three Californians support the idea of withdrawing from the United States.
California's 168-year run as a single entity, hugging the continent's edge for hundreds of miles and sprawling east across mountains and desert, could come to an end next year — as a controversial plan to split the Golden State into three new jurisdictions qualified Tuesday for the Nov. 6 ballot.
If a majority of voters who cast ballots agree, a long and contentious process would begin for three separate states to take the place of California, with one primarily centered around Los Angeles and the other two divvying up the counties to the north and south. Completion of the radical plan — far from certain, given its many hurdles at judicial, state and federal levels — would make history.
It would be the first division of an existing U.S. state since the creation of West Virginia in 1863.
A California technology billionaire said on Thursday that his longtime and perhaps quixotic effort to partition the Golden State into multiple new states could soon be put before voters.
Venture capitalist Tim Draper said he had gathered about 600,000 signatures on a petition to put his proposal to divide California on the November ballot, more than the 366,000 needed to qualify. It is his third attempt to get voters to weigh in on his call to break up the most populous U.S. state.
Draper, who in 2014 and 2016 failed in his efforts to win approval for a ballot initiative to divide the state into six parts, said in a news release Thursday that he planned to file the signatures with election officials next week.
[...] To go into effect, California would first have to certify the signatures that Draper has gathered, and then voters in November would need to pass the measure. After that, the U.S. Congress would have to approve it.