The California Secretary of State’s office gave the green light this week to a proposal that could split the nation’s most populous state into six separate governments.
If activists can collect 807,000 signatures by July 18, voters would get the issue in a November referendum. If the measure passes that hurdle, the proposal would then be up to Congress to decide, according to Fox News.
The man behind the “Six Californias” plan, Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper, justified the ballot initiative by pointing out the state’s vast inefficiencies and conflicts.
“We now spend the most and get the least,” Draper told Time magazine. “We spend among the most for education, and we rank 46th. We spend among the most for prisons, and we are among the highest recidivism rates. … So the status quo is failing.”
Draper, who helped launch Skype and other high-tech initiatives, envisions states named Jefferson, North California, Silicon Valley, West California, South California and Central California. In a competitive environment, he said, people get good services and fair prices.
“The people in the south are concerned about immigration laws and the people in the north about taxation without representation,” he told Time. “People in coastal California are frustrated because of water rights. Silicon Valley is frustrated because government can’t keep up with technology. And in Los Angeles, issues revolve around copyright laws. … I think California is ungovernable because they can’t balance all these interests.”
Draper said he’s worked with experts in constitutional law, political thinking, demographics and water rights, speculating that if California splits, New York would divide into three states and Texas would break into five. When asked how Gov. Jerry Brown reacted to the idea, he said, “The governor just said, ‘Bring it to me.’”
Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute, conceded that a state with 38 million residents is rife with squabbling, but he called Draper’s prospects nil, the Washington Post reported.
“It’s fun to talk about,” Sonenshein said, “but I don’t think anyone [in Congress] is going to give California 12 Senate seats.”
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