June 04, 2015

 

By STEVEN HERBERT

City News Service 

 

Backers of initiatives to require the display of the California flag above the U.S. flag, change the governor’s title to president of California and ban out-of-state contributions to California election campaigns have received permission to begin gathering signatures, Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced Tuesday. The Cali­fornia National Flag Act would require the display of the Cali­fornia state flag above the U.S. flag on poles and in position of “first honor” when both are displayed at schools, universities, colleges, courtrooms, government buildings and state parks and events held in coliseums, stadiums, bowls, other open air sites and race tracks. The President of California Act would amend the California Constitution to replace the word governor with president.

 

“These initiatives are about Californians standing up and demanding the recognition we deserve as a nation within a nation like Quebec in Canada or Catalonia in Spain,” Louis J. Marinelli, the proponent of all three initiatives, told City News Service.

 

“With a population of over 38 million and the seventh largest economy in the world, California is more of a nation than a state and we believe it’s time for us to start acting like it.”

 

Marinelli is also the proponent for the initiative to create an advisory group to explore establishing California’s autonomy from the United States. Another reason Marinelli offered to sign the California National Flag Act is that “we don’t believe the U.S. flag is the greatest symbol of our freedom..”

 

“Around the world, the American flag represents many different things to different people,” Marinelli said. “To some it represents freedom, to others it represents colonialism and imperialism.

 

“If we really want to talk about a flag that represents freedom for Californians, it is the bear flag. California passed women’s suffrage before the United States did so nationally. Segregation was ended in California almost a decade before Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.

 

“A woman’s right to choose was established in California before the United States. California repealed its ban on interracial marriage and sodomy before the United States did so. California is a marriage equality state yet the United States still has not established a federal right to same-sex marriage.

 

“When it comes to the advancement of civil rights and protection of freedoms, California has been much more progressive and has secured more rights for us and at a faster pace than the United States has.”

 

The California Independence in Statewide Elections Act would prohibit candidates, committees and certain political mailer organizers from receiving funds from non-California residents. Can­didates for federal office and political mailer organizations supporting or opposing candidates for federal office would be exempt from the ban.

 

“Tens of millions of dollars were donated from non-Cali­fornians in other states to influence elections in California in 2014 alone,” Marinelli said.

 

“Our state elections and ballot measures ought to be decided solely by us, the people of California.”

 

Marinelli is undaunted by recent Supreme Court decisions striking down various campaign contribution limits.

 

“If we were to accept precedent for what it was, we would never make progress in society,” Marinelli said.

 

“Progress is made by challenging precedents, not accepting them. If our ban on out-of-state election money is struck down, we will challenge it through the judiciary until we win.”

 

The California National Flag Act and California Independence in Statewide Elections Act both require valid signatures from 365,880 registered voters — 5 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2014 general election — to be submitted by Nov. 25 to qualify for the November 2016 ballot, according to Padilla. The President of California Act requires valid signatures from 585,407 registered voters — 8 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2014 general election — to be submitted by Nov. 25 to qualify for the November 2016 ballot, according to Padilla. The President of California Act re­quires the larger amount of signatures because it is a constitutional amendment.

Category: News



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