Calexit effort is dead - for now

Posted April 19, 2017

While no indications exist of a direct Russian government hand in Mr. Marinelli's organization, a group that is nominally independent but nonetheless state financed, and supports only causes that dovetail with the Kremlin's foreign policy, paid for a hotel room in Moscow during a congress of secessionist groups from around the world in September 2016.

Marinelli cited his struggle with USA officials since 2012 over his wife's immigration status. The leaders of a recent effort to secede California from the United States - and form its own country - said Monday they have suspended the effort due to a number of concerns.

The secretary of state's office confirmed to The Associated Press that Marcus Ruiz Evans, Yes California's vice president, had withdrawn the Calexit ballot measure.

However, the group needed more than 585,000 signatures by July to put a measure on the ballot.

The CalExit movement gained visibility the day after the presidential election.

Less than three months after being given the green light to start gathering voter signatures, the author of a closely watched effort to split California from the United States has chose to withdraw his proposal.

Marinelli, who was born in Buffalo, New York, said in his farewell statement that he had planned to return one day to "occupied California to struggle for her independence from the United States so we could build the kind of country that reflects our progressive values", but now his "disillusion" with the USA points to a "new direction".

Evans, who resigned as vice president of Yes California this week, and Marinelli got behind the effort last fall in response to President Donald Trump's surprise electoral victory.

In an e-mail blast to supporters Monday, Marinelli called public support for Calexit encouraging, but not enough to make it a reality.

"No other plan offers better solutions to the problems or alleviates the growing fears of tens of millions of people who live in California", Marinelli wrote in an email to Yes California supporters.

The campaign - which already faced an extremely hard road to California secession - got some bad publicity in December to go along with its incredulous publicity when it was discovered that its leader, Louis Martinelli, actually lives in Russian Federation.

He also says he's pulling his California independence initiative from circulation so a new one "free from ties to me and drafted by others" can be created.

And Ruiz Evans, Yes California's now former vice president, is joining the California Freedom Coalition, another Calexit political group, and hopes to file a new proposal for Californian nationhood by the end of the month - one without any Russian baggage.

Marinelli and Evans said California's overwhelming support of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and measures legalizing recreational marijuana and reducing crime penalties showed how far California voters were removed from the rest of the nation.

If you were clinging to the empty ballot measure Marinelli has now swept from under your feet, don't worry too much.

"This measure obviously is not tapping into popular consciousness", said Jack Citrin, director of UC Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies, which released the poll.