The Business of Exiting Trump's America Is Getting Crowded

There's yet another effort — the third so far — to put California independence in the age of President Trump on the ballot in California.

This one is called the California Call for a Constitutional Convention initiative, and it's backed by a small group of people that includes Marcus Ruiz Evans, who's also behind a competing measure by the group Yes California. The latest is a meandering, ultra-lefty call for abolishing the Electoral College, respecting nature and completing Golden State sovereignty. The initiative's main "ask" would be for a U.S. constitutional convention on Golden State independence. It would request that the California Legislature call for such a convention.

However, even if voters say yes, it wouldn't necessarily bind the rest of the nation to such a request.

Co-author Clare Hedin, a British healer and musician who has lectured at San Francisco State University, filed her proposed language for circulation on Thursday. It will be evaluated by the Secretary of State. If approved it can be used to gather the required 585,407 valid signatures.

That's going to be a steep requirement. Hedin admits organizers don't have much cash and that they'll have to rely on like-minded groups to help organize a grassroots effort to get endorsements from registered voters. She mentioned Black Lives Matter, Greenpeace and the Sierra Club as potential partners. "It might be a way we can bypass the dependency on money," she says.

Still, California hasn't seen a successful grassroots campaign — without the help of professional signature gatherers, which costs about $3 million — since the 1980s.

The measure also could dilute the vote for increased California independence. The groups California Freedom Coalition and Yes California also are asking citizens to back their own, somewhat similar initiatives that would share space on the November 2018 ballot. Hedin says she's been involved with those nonprofits as well but that her "CalConCon" effort is a necessary one.

The California Freedom Coalition's initiative, the only approved for signature gathering so far, would take measured steps toward decreased dependence on the federal government. Hedin calls it "a softer approach." Yes California would ask voters to vote twice on its vision for independence. "No one’s done an initiative with a complete overhaul of the U.S. Constitution," Hedin says.

"We have different focuses," she says of the three proposals. "Ours is common sense for a fair life."


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