There was enough talk on Twitter this morning about California seceding from the United States to merit a story on CBS News. I don’t think the folks at CBS were taking it too seriously, but some of the people putting out tweets were. And now the Guardian (UK) has picked up the story as Silicon Valley folks talk about funding a referendum. One member of the state Assembly is going to introduce legislation to begin the process. There is, of course, a website devoted to the idea.
Based on #Calexit tweets, the good people of Oregon and Washington would like to join us.
And Trump would probably be happy to see the West Coast go.
Maybe Nevada wants to join, too.
I’m only a little bit serious, but I’m only a little bit kidding. The West Coast seems to have to little in common with the rest of the country now. More important, the states and the cities that are not in synch with what Trump has in mind are going to have to do something pretty radical:
We aren’t actually going to secede (I think) – but we have to act as if we are.
By that I mean that California, and its major cities, now have to recognize that the federal government is not only no longer our friend, it is probably our enemy. And we have to stop thinking that Washington is going to help and start figuring out how we can deal with the massive impending crisis on our own.
And we need to start now.
We don’t know what Trump and a GOP Congress will do, but we can guess. And those guesses tell us that we are in for some serious shit.
We need to plan before the bad stuff comes down – and city and state officials need to immediately assure their constituents that they are on top of this. It’s as if we knew there would be a 9.0 earthquake in three months.
Seriously: People in the city are really, really scared. I was just out of college when Reagan won, but it was nothing like this – the Democrats controlled the House, we figured it would be bad but survivable … and of course, we were wrong. It was horrible. But as I walk the streets I see people more afraid than I’ve ever experienced in politics.
So far, City Hall and Sacramento haven’t responded.
So what we need to do is hold hearings and make plans for what we are going to do when:
The modest money we still get from the federal government for transportation, housing, and other services almost entirely goes away. That’s hundreds of millions of dollars. How is San Francisco going to replace that funding? We’re no longer talking about pushing a Clinton administration to add money for affordable housing; we’re talking about losing almost everything that’s left.
The Affordable Care Act is repealed and tens of thousands of San Franciscans and millions of Californians lose their health insurance. Where are they going to go when they get sick? How are we going to pay for the impact on SF General?
Medicare is so deeply cut that tens of thousands of seniors lose their health insurance. How are we going to take care of them?
Privatized Social Security tanks in a bad market, and tens of thousands of seniors can’t pay their rent or eat. Who is going to help them?
A huge new force of federal agents starts trying to deport thousands of San Franciscans, tearing up families and shattering communities. How are we going to respond?
The Charter School movement takes aim at our public schools at the same time that a new secretary of education pushes a radical-right agenda.
The list goes on; this is just a start. But it’s not far off – much of that could happen in the next 12 months or less. And then how about
The Trump economic agenda causes the markets to tank and the economy to go into a tailspin, and we have another deep recession, where tax revenue to local and state government falls off and we are facing deep deficits just as we most need local and state services.
As I said: An 9.0 or greater earthquake. And we don’t have any insurance.
I know it’s only been one day, but we need to get to work now. Mayor Lee: The city is full of people so afraid that they can’t go to work. What are you going to tell them?
The new supervisors will take office just as the Trump Earthquake hits. That’s too late – the board needs to start making plans now.
Gov. Jerry Brown needs to call an emergency session of the state Legislature to line up contingency plans: How will the state handle health care if the ACA is repealed in February? What will happen if the Environmental Protection Agency is defunded (as Trump promised) to the point where it can’t function?
Who’s going to address the very real potential for massive poverty among seniors?
I’m waiting for Jerry Brown and Ed Lee to say:
We are California, and we are San Francisco, and we can survive this. It will require the wealthiest among us (many of whom voted and worked against Trump) to accept much higher taxes. It will require us all to enforce Sanctuary City laws – even if that means, as Trump threatens, that we will lose federal money.
The state is going to give cities the tools they need to last this out (the Ellis act, Costa Hawkins, and every other law that restricts local rent control and eviction protections) will be repealed. State rules limiting local taxes will go. We will all work together to modify Prop. 13.
When the ACA is gone, we will create a state-run single-payer program that provides health care for all.
California is rich. San Francisco is rich. We can build housing for vulnerable seniors, and supplement what the feds cut, and create our own safety net. And we are going to do it, because we have no choice.
That’s what I want to hear, and I’m not hearing it. The earthquake is coming, and its damage is going to be incalculable. Why are we not getting ready, now?