By Joseph Jankowski
An organization which has the aims out separating the state of California from the Union of the United States is set to hold a meeting at the state capitol in Sacramento on Wednesday, November 9, 2016, the day after the presidential election.
The Yes California Independence Campaign, which is based in San Diego, describes itself as a “nonviolent campaign to establish the country of California using any and all legal and constitutional means to do so.”
The group is currently trying to qualify a citizen’s initiative in 2018 to get a referendum for secession on the ballot in 2019, reports SF Gate. They will be in Sacramento in hopes to gather support for the state’s exit, or the “Calexit”, as they call it.
“In our view, the United States of America represents so many things that conflict with Californian values, and our continued statehood means California will continue subsidizing the other states to our own detriment, and to the detriment of our children,” reads Yes California’s official website.
The group’s page reads on:
Although charity is part of our culture, when you consider that California’s infrastructure is falling apart, our public schools are ranked among the worst in the entire country, we have the highest number of homeless persons living without shelter and other basic necessities, poverty rates remain high, income inequality continues to expand, and we must often borrow money from the future to provide services for today, now is not the time for charity.
However, this independence referendum is about more than California subsidizing other states of this country. It is about the right to self-determination and the concept of voluntary association, both of which are supported by constitutional and international law.
It is about California taking its place in the world, standing as an equal among nations. We believe in two fundamental truths: (1) California exerts a positive influence on the rest of the world, and (2) California could do more good as an independent country than it is able to do as a just a U.S. state.
Yes California’s website lays out 9 different points covering topics the group believes will benefit from a California exit from the US, including education, peace and security, debt and taxes and immigration.
THE CASE FOR INDEPENDENCE IN 9 SIMPLE POINTS
Being a U.S. state is no longer serving California’s best interests. On issues ranging from peace and security to natural resources and the environment, it has become increasingly true that California would be better off as an independent country. Here’s a summary of why we think so.
1. PEACE AND SECURITY
The U.S. Government spends more on its military than the next several countries combined. Not only is California forced to subsidize this massive military budget with our taxes, but Californians are sent off to fight in wars that often do more to perpetuate terrorism than to abate it. The only reason terrorists might want to attack us is because we are part of the United States and are guilty by association. Not being a part of that country will make California a less likely target of retaliation by its enemies.
2. ELECTIONS AND GOVERNMENT
California’s electoral votes haven’t affected a presidential election since 1876. On top of that, presidential election results are often known before our votes are even counted. So, why should we keep subjecting ourselves to presidents we play no role in electing, to 382 representatives and 98 senators we can’t vote for, and all the government officials and federal judges appointed by those very same people we don’t elect.
3. TRADE AND REGULATION
The U.S. Government maintains a burdensome trade system that hurts California’s economy by making trade more difficult and more expensive for California’s businesses. As long as California remains within this burdensome trade system, we will never be able to capitalize on the trade and investment opportunities that would be available to us as an independent country. On top of that, the United States is dragging California into the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement which conflicts with our values.
4. DEBT AND TAXES
Since 1987, California has been subsidizing the other states at a loss of tens and sometimes hundreds of billions of dollars in a single fiscal year. As a result, we are often forced to raise taxes and charge fees in California, and borrow money from the future to make up the difference. This is partly why California presently has some of the highest taxes in the country, and so much debt. Independence means that all of our taxes will be kept in California based on the priorities we set, and we will be able to do so while repaying our debts and phasing out the current state income tax.
California is the most diverse state in the United States and that is something we are proud of. This diversity is a central part of our culture and an indispensable part of our economy. As a U.S. state, our immigration system was largely designed by the 49 other states thirty years ago. This immigration system has since neglected the needs of the California economy and has hurt too many California families. Independence means California will be able to decide what immigration policies make sense for our diverse and unique population, culture, and economy, and that we’ll be able to build an immigration system that is consistent with our values.
6. NATURAL RESOURCES
Certain minerals and other natural resources like coal, oil, and natural gas are being extracted from California at below market value rates by private corporations with the permission of the U.S. Government. While a small portion of the revenue is shared with us, our share has been withheld during times of sequestration. That means the U.S. Government is paying their debts with royalties collected from selling off California’s natural resources. Independence means we will gain control of the 46% of California that is currently owned by the U.S. Government and its agencies. We will therefore take control of our natural resources and be the sole beneficiary of royalties collected if and when they are extracted from our lands.
7. THE ENVIRONMENT
California is a global leader on environmental issues. However, as long as the other states continue debating whether or not climate change is real, they will continue holding up real efforts to reduce carbon emissions. The truth is this country accounts for less than five percent of the world’s population yet consumes one-third of the world’s paper, a quarter of the world’s oil, 27 percent of the aluminum, 23 percent of the coal, and 19 percent of the copper. Independence means California will be able to negotiate treaties to not only reduce the human impact on our climate but also to help build global resource sustainability.
8. HEALTH AND MEDICINE
The Affordable Care Act was enacted by the U.S. Government to lower the cost of health care and expand health insurance coverage to the uninsured, yet millions of Californians still lack access to quality health care because they can’t afford it. For many, access to hospitals and medicine is a life or death issue. Independence means we can fund the health care programs we want and ensure everyone has access to the medicines they need because our taxes will no longer be subsidizing other states. Finally, California can join the rest of the industrialized world in guaranteeing health care as a universal right for all of our people.
California has some of the best universities but in various ways, our schools are among the worst in the country. Not only does this deprive our children of the education they deserve, but it also costs taxpayers billions in social services and law enforcement expenses linked to lacking opportunities resulting from poor education. Independence means we will be able to fully fund public education, rebuild and modernize public schools, and pay public school teachers the salaries they deserve. On top of that, independence means freedom from federal education policies and one-size-fits-all standards set by political appointees on the other side of the continent.
One blog post on their page draws parallels with a “Calexit” and the recent referendum known as “Brexit” that passed in the UK in June which showed that most British people are ready for their country to leave the EU.
The push for secession is nothing new to California. In 1941 the mayor of Port Orford, Oregon, Gilbert Gable, proposed the idea to push the Oregon counties of Curry, Josephine, Jackson, and Klamath to join with the California counties of Del Norte, Siskiyou, and Modoc to form a new state, later named Jefferson.
Modoc County of Northern California voted in 2013 to join neighboring Siskiyou County in a push to secede from the State of California.
In 2014, two counties in northern California petitioned for the right to form a 51st State of America, which they also wanted to name Jefferson.
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