YesCalifornia was founded in 2015 by Louis Marinelli, a conservative activist known for his campaign against same-sex marriage that culminated in a public change of heart on the issue, and Marcus Ruiz Evans of Fresno, a state government employee who at the time had been a host of a conservative talk radio program and who had written a book about California and subnational sovereignty.


The Early Days

In its early days, YesCalifornia advocated for a special status for California in the United States that would delegate additional powers from the federal to state government to allow California to set its own immigration and trade policies while still remaining part of the United States.

It was also during this time that YesCalifornia organized a political party called the California National Party. Louis Marinelli was elected the party’s first chairman and the party’s first platform was adopted under his leadership. 


YesCalifornia and #CalExit go viral

At the direction of Louis Marinelli, YesCalifornia took what at the time felt like a very bold step and publicly announced its support for the full political independence of California from the United States.

Prior to doing so, YesCalifornia advocated several initiatives to promote California nationhood, including one to declare the Bear Flag the national flag of California as well as a constitutional amendment to change the title of the chief executive of California from governor to president.

To promote this cause, Mr. Marinelli qualified for the ballot as a No Party Preference candidate for California’s 80th Assembly District. His ballot designation was “California Independence Leader” but did not place in the top two to advance to the general election against incumbent Democrat Lorena Gonzalez.

Also as part of this new effort, and with a massive growth in support following the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, YesCalifornia drafted its first secession ballot measure, which it filed in Sacramento in January, 2017, the week after Donald Trump was sworn in.

The campaign grew rapidly and took on many supporters from around the state and country. Our signature collection effort was well underway. Then, our campaign was maliciously attacked in the media as a Russian plot as part of the greater Russian collusion frenzy surrounding now largely debunked claims of Russian interference in the 2016 elections. The organization was forced to withdraw the ballot measure.


A time for divorce

On Valentines Day in 2018, Louis Marinelli and Marcus Ruiz Evans organized an event at the State Capitol in Sacramento and filed a new ballot measure to have California secede from the Union. Only this time the theme was divorce. 

As Mr. Marinelli had to return abroad to attend to some personal matters, the campaign on the ground was run by Mr. Evans, who had become the president of YesCalifornia during the summer of 2017. Unfortunately, Mr. Evans failed to run a robust signature collection effort and the organization did not turn in the required number of signatures to qualify the initiative for the general ballot. 

Nonetheless, the theme of “divorce” stuck and has been a recurring theme of YesCalifornia’s ever since, and has been picked up in a broader sense with respect to ongoing discussions about a so-called National Divorce, as proposed by Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene.


Louis Marinelli returns as president and parts ways with Marcus Ruiz Evans

In the fall of 2021, Mr. Marinelli announced his affairs abroad had concluded and that he was returning to California. Mr. Evans resigned as president, a role he held in name only, and Marinelli was officially reappointed to his previous post.

The first matter of business was the upcoming governor’s recall election in California and Mr. Marinelli announced his intent to run as a replacement candidate, however, was unable to return to California early enough to meet the filing deadline and was forced to withdraw. 

Having returned as president, Mr. Marinelli then took action to change the organization’s trajectory, which Mr. Evans had allowed to sway off into far left political activism and wholly unrelated topics including American Indian issues.

Mr. Evans had also, against Marinelli’s counsel, established a working relationship with Iranian state media through an Iranian-American lawyer in Los Angeles and, in exchange for publicity and the promise of a California ’embassy’ in Tehran, promised to have YesCalifornia file a ballot initiative on their behalf that would force California to call upon the US government to lift its sanctions on that country.

The combination of failed signature collections, efforts to coddle the Iranian regime in exchange for publicity and an ’embassy’, a long train of flawed research and rushed projects, a focus on issues wholly unrelated YesCalifornia’s mission, and his embrace of the leftist mob, all led Marinelli to part ways with Evans, who subsequently became and continues to be disgruntled and irate about being held to account for his failures and poor judgement.

With Evans out, Marinelli vowed to “clean out the woke politics” and far left ideology from the organization and return YesCalifornia to its philosophical roots based in classical liberalism, the Declaration of Independence, and Thomas Jefferson. YesCalifornia has also cut ties with any and all foreign persons.

“Today, YesCalifornia is rebuilding upon its original philosophical foundations with a new team and a new mission: to divorce the most far-left region of California from the United States as part of a National Divorce to save America.”

Louis Marinelli
President, Yes California