Here in California, we never seem to be completely happy with the status quo. Almost 170 years after joining the union, there are still debates about the form the state should take. There have been all kinds of campaigns over the years to split up California. And now an ESL teacher near San Diego, Louis Marinelli, is taking it even further. He is head of a group called Yes California that wants the state to break away completely from the United States. He’s running for the state Assembly on that platform.
He says the state sends the federal government $50 billion dollars more a year in taxes than it gets back from Washington in services. That number is far from universally accepted, but it has become a driving force behind his campaign for California sovereignty.
Marinelli said the goal initially was just more autonomy, not complete independence, but that evolved after research and travel around the state talking to potential supporters.
“We were surprised to find that when we said we were not for complete independence, people were kind of disappointed,” he said.
California’s economy is larger than that of most nations – the world’s seventh-largest by Marinelli’s measurement. So he maintains that an independent California could not only handle the costs of its defense and border controls, but should “set its own path on the international stage, to lead on things like climate change and humanitarian relief.”