Lt. Governor Newsom calls for resurrection of ComCal to intensify California-Mexico connections, as Trump presses divisions
SAN DIEGO - Addressing a roundtable of Latino civic leaders in San Diego today, California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom called for the resurrection of the Commission of the Californias ("ComCal"), a tristate forum between the states of California, Baja California, and Baja California Sur that facilitated cooperation and relations between the United States and Mexico, and among the three Californias.
"President Trump seeks to divide us but Mexico is our neighbor, our ally, and our partner. ComCal was a critical instrument in treating the wounds of Proposition 187 and given the threat to our regional relationship today, it's needed now more than ever," said Lt. Governor Newsom. "Resurrecting ComCal would create a state-level mechanism to hold doors open for business and cultural exchanges within a region whose economies, histories, and conventions are inseparable. The global economy is increasingly driven by the competition between an international web of high performing, interconnected metropolitan areas and regions, each serving as the resource base for powerful clusters of enterprises."
ComCal was established in 1964 as a mechanism for cooperation among the three states across a range of issues including education, health, the environment and economic development. It was disbanded in 2004 by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Representatives had included the Governors of each state, and the California delegation consisted public appointees made by the Governor and both houses of the state's legislature.
The Lt. Governor's announcement is made under the shadow of President Trump's proposal to build a wall along the 1,900-mile US-Mexico border, which one conservative Think Tank estimated could cost $400 billion. The same study calculated that his complimentary plan to deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants would reduce the labor force by 6%,send the economy into a depression greater than the most recent global economic collapse, and costing the economy $1.6 trillion over 20 years.
"Our binational San Diego-Baja California region provides an opportunity to see the positive aspects of building bridges with our neighbors," said Josie Calderon, of the Mexican American Business and Professional Association. "Bridges can engender trust, economic growth, and a strategic approach to our U.S.-Mexico relationship."
California's biggest partner in trade is Mexico. In 2014, California exports to Mexico were worth over $25 billion, with exported products ranging from fish, to fabric, to Facebook ads. California's economy is more diverse than ever and the state's prosperity is tied to exports and imports of both goods and services by California-based companies, to exports and imports through California's transportation gateways, and to inflows and outflows of human and capital resources.