Editorial: Save us from another kooky California breakup plan

Marcus Ruiz Evans of the Yes California Independence Campaign talks about California seceding from the United States and becoming its own nation in Sacramento in 2017.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

The two guys behind the secession effort that came to be known as “Calexit” just won’t give up. They are back pushing another ill-conceived ballot proposal. Incredibly, it’s even worse than their previous versions.

Now, not only do they want California to leave the United States, but they also want to split the state into two pieces. It’s a secession/breakup double whammy. The eastern half of California would be broken off to form a new autonomous Native American territory.

What is it about the Golden State that makes nutty people want to mess with its geography in ill-thought-out ways? Another bad breakup plan would have turned California into three states. It was pulled from the November ballot by the California Supreme Court, which is considering the constitutionality of the measure. It’s still possible that the “Three Californias” measure could be cleared for the 2020 ballot. It’s also possible, though we hope not likely, that the Calexit secession/breakup boondoggle will also be on the ballot.


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We’d like to think such a kooky idea has no shot at getting on the ballot, like the previous attempts by the two main Calexiters — Marcus Ruiz Evans and Louis J. Marinelli — to get some sort of secession proposal on the ballot. But crazier things have happened.

Last year, there were three different secession proposals by different groups, but not one has qualified for the ballot yet, despite having despair over the election of Donald Trump on their side. But those efforts may have been tainted by a strange Russian connection. It turned out that Russian trolls were pushing the California secession movement. Shortly after this revelation, Marinelli Calexited himself and moved to Russia.

But Marinelli is back, evidently, and so is another harebrained secession plan. One of the straight secession proposals from last year is currently in the process of gathering signatures for a 2021 special election, but is not faring well and may miss its October deadline. That may be the impetus behind the creation of the secede-and-break-apart proposal. Yet they cooked up this harebrained idea, including the idea of an autonomous Indian territory, without input from actual Native Americans. They say they plan to reach out to California’s tribes “soon.” They shouldn’t expect a warm welcome. It’s incredibly patronizing to come up with a plan to help a group without asking the people if that’s what they want.

It seems more likely that the Native American proposal was concocted to get attention, which it has. So far, this proposal is little more than an outline sketched out on Evans and Marinelli’s Yes California website. That’s as far as it should go. California doesn’t need to strike out on its own. Both the country and the state are stronger and better together. And if Native Americans want an autonomous state, let them start the discussion.

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