Backers of an initiative to hold a vote on whether California should become a separate nation have received permission to begin gathering signatures, Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced Thursday.
The initiative was inspired by the 2014 unsuccessful referendum that sought to make Scotland an independent nation, according to former San Diegan Louis J. Marinelli, president of the Yes California Independence Campaign.
“California is a conquered territory which was annexed and made a state by an act of Congress but the people of California never actually affirmatively voted to join the union like the people of the other states had the chance to do,” Marinelli told City News Service.
“This puts us in a unique position where international law supports our right to self-determination and we designed this initiative to first establish a mandate for independence.”
The initiative includes provisions requiring the vote for independence to receive at least a 55 percent yes vote and turnout to be at least 50 percent of registered voters.
The reasons to support independence for California are spelled out in Yes California’s Calexit Blue Book.
They include freeing California from being subject to U.S. trade policy; keeping all the taxes paid by Californians in California; having control of California’s natural resources; and allowing California to set policies on immigration, the environment, health care and education.
Valid signatures from 585,407 registered voters — 8 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2014 general election — must be submitted by July 25 to qualify the measure for the November 2018 ballot, according to Padilla.
To Marinelli, “there is no reason for people to oppose this initiative.”
“If we qualify, we will have a serious conversation about the merits of statehood versus the merits of nationhood and the people of California will vote to affirm their desire to remain a state by voting no, or express their desire to become an independent country by voting yes,” Marinelli said.
“If the campaign to defeat our independence vote can make their case, then the people will vote no. If we prevail, the people will vote yes. Let’s have an open and honest conversation about our future and let the people vote.”
— City News Service
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