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Pacifica: If At First You Don’t Secede….

December 17th, 2018 by dk

California this summer passed the United Kingdom to become the 5th largest economy in the world. Since the Great Recession, California has added 2 million jobs and increased its economic output $700 billion. It’s time to acknowledge our southern neighbor’s prowess in new ways.

Election returns show what’s been called “the big sort” is accelerating. Blue states are becoming increasingly blue. Red states are getting redder. Democrats attained super-majorities in state legislatures in Oregon, California, and Washington.

On the other end of the country, New England is sending an entirely blue delegation to Congress, except for one embattled, centrist Senator. Many believe Sen. Susan Collins will retire or be defeated in 2020. A clean sweep may be coming soon from that corner of the country.

Returning to this coast, our three governors and their sympathetic legislators should begin crafting state-to-state treaties. It’s time to bind together into a pacific swath of political unity. The New England states have always shared a cohesive identity. Western states have preferred their independence to a single regional image.

We’ve coordinated efforts before, but on a case-by-case basis. The time has come to get ahead of this process and plan for collective action.

We’ve coordinated our efforts on automobile emission standards, net neutrality policies, and the Paris Accord’s climate response. We can do much more — if we agree in advance that we’ll do more. If our three states shared a single identity — call it Pacifica — we might not form the 4th largest economy in the world, but we would have substantial clout.

There are four major computer operating systems in the world today. All four of them come from Pacifica. Apple and Google are in California. Microsoft is in Washington. And the father of Linux recently moved to Portland. What sort of leverage could Pacifica exert for itself by controlling or inspiring how everyone’s computers think and connect?

Once the band is on the wagon, others will want to join us. Hawaii is another Democratic stronghold. British Columbia might be drawn closer to us than to the rest of Canada. Baja California could be next. Alaska might eventually fear missing out. As a political bloc, the western coast of North America could attain a unity that each nation involved currently lacks.

And I know where we can begin. California voters this month ratified Proposition 7, which frees up its state legislature to reconsider Daylight Saving Time. Some state legislators want to skip DST altogether. Others prefer that the state stay on DST year round.

The consensus seems to be that moving clocks twice a year is silly and no longer necessary. It doesn’t save energy and it doesn’t save lives. It just confuses people and cows and everything else around us. We’ve outgrown any need for biannual time shifting.

Oregon and Washington should pledge to follow California, wherever it leads. We should move together as Pacifica. If the federal government balks at giving our states permission to make the time change, we can remind them that everyone’s personal computer clocks are controlled by us. Problem solved, and Pacifica is begun.


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at

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