from the divide-et-impera dept.
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.
Supporters of a plan for California to secede from the union took their first formal step Monday morning, submitting a proposed ballot measure to the state attorney general's office in the hopes of a statewide vote as soon as 2018.
Marcus Ruiz Evans, the vice president and co-founder of Yes California, said his group had been planning to wait for a later election, but the presidential election of Donald Trump sped up the timeline.
"We're doing it now because of all of the overwhelming attention," Evans said.
The Yes California group has been around for more than two years, Evans said. It is based around California taxpayers paying more money to the federal government than the state receives in spending, that Californians are culturally different from the rest of the country, and that national media and organizations routinely criticize Californians for being out of step with the rest of the U.S.
Could California go it alone?
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.
This weekend comes word that two of the masterminds behind the United Kingdom’s ongoing divorce from the European Union, Nigel Farage and Arron Banks. The duo just returned from the United States, where they reportedly helped raise a million bucks for one of the Calexit campaigns floating around — a scheme that would split the state into two eastern and western regions.
Farage and Banks are known as the Bad Boys of Brexit, and for good reason. As the controversial leader of the UK Independence Party, or Ukip for short, the one-time broadcaster Farage stirred up the anti-immigration pot in England among the white British working class. Banks, who co-founded the Leave.EU group, angered many when he claimed that Britain’s UK membership is “like having a first class ticket on the Titanic.’’ He also got into hot water with his controversial move to commission a poll after the murder of British politician Jo Cox, asking respondents whether the crime would have an impact on public opinion.
Now the Bad Boys have brought their shtick to California, according to a report in the Daily Mail which says the pair are helping exit backers trying to pit the eastern, more rural side of California against the western ‘coastal elite’ liberals in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The plan would be to create a Republican stronghold in the new state cleaved off California’s eastern flank, thus giving the GOP two more senators and electoral college votes for a 2020 presidential election.
Mercury News continues:
Meanwhile, a second Calexit campaign is underway. It’s called Yes California and it would see the state seceding from America entirely. If that initiative successfully finds a place on the ballot, a Yes vote would repeal clauses in the California Constitution stating “California is an inseparable part of the United States and that the United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land, ‘’ according to a statement from California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s office said.
[Ed note: corrected typo in this story's last paragraph and expanded same to include the entire paragraph from which it was extracted. --martyb]
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.
The California Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked a proposal that would split the state into three from the November ballot.
The court wrote that it took the step "because significant questions have been raised regarding the proposition's validity and because we conclude that the potential harm in permitting the measure to remain on the ballot outweighs the potential harm in delaying the proposition to a future election."
Last week, an environmental group sued to have the measure removed from the ballot. To substantially alter the state's governance under the California constitution, the group argued, a constitutional convention would need to be called -- and that requires a supermajority of both houses of the state's legislature. A ballot initiative, the group said, was constitutionally insufficient.