The California state flag. Image via Wikimedia Commons
The California state flag. Image via Wikimedia Commons

A San Diego man’s initiative to create an advisory group to explore establishing California’s autonomy from the United States has failed to receive enough signatures to qualify for the November 2016 ballot, Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced Friday.

The number of signatures submitted to county election officials by the Oct. 26 deadline was less than the 365,880 valid signatures from registered voters needed to qualify what San Diegan Louis Marinelli dubbed “A New Hope for California,” according to Katherine Montgomery, the initiative program manager for the Secretary of State’s Office.

The number of signatures submitted was not announced.

If it had been approved by voters, the initiative would have created a panel of government officials and private experts to explore establishing California’s autonomy from the United States.

The panel would have been required to hold public hearings and take expert testimony, investigate impacts from California statehood, determine the impact of establishing autonomy, submit a monthly report on its activities to the Legislature and prepare an annual report of its findings.

If California had received autonomy, it would have remained part of the U.S. and its residents would have continued to hold U.S. passports, use the U.S. dollar, and host and serve in the U.S. military, said Marinelli.

The state would have assumed control over its own trade, immigration, health care, education and other areas of domestic concern, he said.

Marinelli told City News Service he and other backers of the initiative want “to see California become an autonomous region of the United States like Scotland in the” United Kingdom.

Marinelli is also the proponent of initiatives that would require a vote every four years on whether California should become a separate nation; requiring the display of the California flag above the U.S. flag; changing the governor’s title to president of California; tax bottled water containing any water collected in California; and ban out-of-state contributions to California election campaigns.

— City News Service

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.