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CALIFORNIA AND THE ELECTION PERHAPS IT'S TIME TO LEAVE THE UNION.

Byline: MARIEL GARZA

ONE thing that was glaringly clear from the big light-up election maps on CNN, NBC and other networks Tuesday night was that California and its blue Pacific Coast sister states are wildly disconnected from most of the country. Look due east from Los Angeles and it was red state after red state all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

For Angelenos, imagine it this way: California is like a lone minivan of Crips trapped in a vast neighborhood ruled by the Bloods.

Maybe it's time to get the heck out before things get really ugly. And the San Fernando Valley could help.

It was just two years ago that years of frustration with the city of Los Angeles culminated in the Valley's electoral attempt to break away and form its own sovereign municipality, to be called Valley City or maybe Camelot.

This peaceful secession attempt failed, but the sentiments behind the effort are similar to what many in California are feeling now. Between bouts of hair-tearing and keening wails of ``Why?,'' many in California's Democratic majority are thinking a similar thought: America, let my people go.

California is to the United States what the Valley is to Los Angeles. It's huge in size and population, it's ethnically diverse, has great food and sends lots and lots of money to the government headquarters far, far away. But when it comes to getting a commensurate amount back in services, forget it. And they have the nerve to make fun of us!

This kind of disrespect from ``over-the-hill,'' coupled with the desire to have local control, drove the Valley's secession movement to an election two years ago. And while it didn't pass, the cityhood backers could probably teach the rest of the state about how to initiate a breakaway campaign.

It's time to go our own way. With the sixth-largest economy in the world and a population larger than most countries, we have the means to do it. And we should take Oregon and Washington with us. We could call it Caliwashegon.

Now before you literal-minded readers rush out and write a nasty note to me about how the Constitution doesn't allow for states to divorce from the union and form their own nation blah-blah-blah, let me first say, of course I know that. I even checked with a legal expert who confirmed to me that there isn't any mechanism in place to allow for it.

That doesn't mean it couldn't happen.

``Theoretically, it's possible,'' said Erwin Chemerinsky, a constitutional law professor at Duke University who formerly taught at the University of Southern California. ``Realistically, it won't happen.''

But just for the sake of giving into the hypothetical, here's how it could go: First, California leaders would have to get a mandate from residents to declare the state a republic. Neighboring states would, I guess, do the same. We would need lots and lots of money. Hey, Darrell Issa, time to break out your checkbook again. This is your chance to be secretary of state.

Once the residents are in accord, our leaders, headed presumably by President Arnold Schwarzenegger, inform Washington, D.C., that, um, sorry, we won't be participating in your little republic anymore.

Here's the tricky part. If no one else in the rest of the country objects - if Texas, Iowa, New York and all the others are glad to be free of the Left Coast wackos, good riddance - then we are home free. If not, it's time for Civil War II.

That's the simple version, but I think it could work. The rest of the country doesn't like us that much, anyhow. They just tolerate us and our crazy antics because we send them so many billions in taxes and other revenue, because this is where all the movie stars live and because the we grow the country's best wine. Plus, we cannot discount the Microsoft factor if the state of Washington comes aboard. It would be a way to legally kick Bill Gates out of the country.

And for all of the non-Democrats who think this sounds like some type of godless liberal, trial-lawyer-worshipping, union-loving, business-hating free-for-all zone that would somehow be run by Mexico, don't worry. The Valley's secession movement wasn't partisan, and neither would this movement be. California may be blue on the national level, but we also kicked out a sitting Democratic governor and replaced him with a movie star Republican who is, for the most part, beloved across party lines. On Tuesday, we might have endorsed a tax on millionaires, but we also voted down an attempt to soften our tough-as-nails ``three strikes, you're out'' law.

California can't be categorized as blue or red or even green. We're more of a Jackson Pollock color-splatter print. We are unique, and it's time we were appreciated for it, not used as the butt of the nation's jokes.

Maybe I'm not the only one who's had this thought. Consider, for example, the insidious sedition of Proposition 71. This may have appeared as a mild-mannered bond to fund stem-cell research, or even a referendum on a type of research that many find distasteful. Ha-ha! That is exactly what ``they'' want you to believe. The real significance of Prop. 71 is that it subverts the federal government at a very fundamental level.

How? Traditionally, this type of research is financially supported by the federal government, not states. It's not what states were set up to do. But the well has dried up since conservatives in charge of the federal government don't want to spend money on it. Enter the initiative to just go around the feds altogether. What's next? A new speed limit?

Laugh if you will, but just remember when the new Caliwashegon flags start flying, you heard it here first.
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Title Annotation:Viewpoint
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 7, 2004
Words:965
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