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Plan to split California into 6 states moves forward

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:16 a.m. HST, Jul 16, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. >> Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper began submitting signatures Tuesday for a ballot initiative that would ask voters to split California into six separate states, a move he said would create governments that are more manageable and responsive to residents' needs.

Draper and a bipartisan team of political consultants delivered what he said were 44,000 signatures to the Sacramento County registrar of voters. The signatures are among 1.3 million the Six Californias campaign plans to submit statewide this week.

If enough signatures are verified, voters in November 2016 would be asked to divide the nation's most populous state into six states called Jefferson, North California, Silicon Valley, Central California, West California and South California. The regions would vary greatly in size, demographics and incomes.

Draper said the state of 38.3 million people has become ungovernable and that there are too many diverse interests for politicians to effectively represent their constituents.

"We've got all of these constituents, 38 million of us, all trying to talk to the same state," Draper said during a news conference outside the registrar's office. "They're hearing noise coming from all different sides. There is not a concentrated effort to get jobs into the Central Valley because there are so many other issues around all of these different people."

Critics note that the plan would separate the wealthiest and poorest Californians, potentially creating some of the poorest states in the nation. But Draper, who wore a tie with the initiative's proposed new map of the states, brushed away such concerns, saying the individual states could pursue new revenue and jobs when they are freed from other burdens.

"Those places are poor under the current regime. They don't have to be poor. These can be wealthy states," he said.

It's too bad that California's initiative process subjects voters to the whims of an eccentric billionaire, said Steve Maviglio, a Democratic political consultant and spokesman for OneCalifornia, a group formed to oppose Draper's initiative.

"If you have $30 million, you can put anything you want on the ballot in California," he said. "It's just a tragedy of the initiative system that the voters have to go through this kind of debate and our state will have to go through this kind of debate for now two years, not just a regular campaign season, just to gratify his ego."

California has the world's eighth-largest economy, right behind Brazil, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis, and it outpaced the U.S. in growth last year.

Among the problems the new states and their leadership would face: Whether to grant in-state tuition rates for university systems that would now be out-of-state for some students, how to fund billions of dollars in state public employee pension plans and divvying up crucial resources such as water, much of which is shipped from Northern California to the south.

Draper said residents in the six states could decide whatever they want through social-media platforms that will be hosted by the campaign.

When asked how the geographic boundaries were chosen, Draper gave only a vague answer about grouping like-minded voters together. Counties that are contiguous to other states could choose to align with a different state, he said.

Voters in two Northern California counties in June weighed in on a longstanding effort to create a 51st state called Jefferson. Tehama County voters joined four other counties that are considering breaking away, while Del Norte County voters rejected the idea.

Critics also have questioned whether Draper is tying his political aspirations to the oddball initiative, which most people believe has little chance of passing. He already has spent nearly $2 million of his own money to collect signatures.

"I'm not running for anything, don't want to," said the Republican-turned-Democrat-turned nonpartisan.

Even if voters approve it, Congress would have to give its approval.

"The chances of that happening are, like, less than zero," Maviglio said.

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csdhawaii wrote:
At first I thought "Wha...?" And then I thought "Hmmm..." That's outside the box thinking. I get his concept, it does seem like trying to govern 38 million people under one state government is untenable. I think six states is too many, and they'd have to be really careful about separating state lines, as the article mentions, into states that would start out already poor. It's too bad this is being poo-pooed as a hare-brained idea, it has enough merit to consider and debate.
on July 15,2014 | 01:20PM
Pocho wrote:
Unreal, I'd say divide California in 2. One side for US citizens and the other named New California that's for undocumented migrants. New California can create it's new State government which could plead for more monetary resources. No borders needed and see the results of it.
on July 15,2014 | 01:21PM
false wrote:
Pocho, your plan would give the undocumented migrants two U.S. Senators to push the undocumented workers' agenda. Is that what you really want?
on July 15,2014 | 01:51PM
jkjones wrote:
The democrats in Congress are pushing it already to have more voters. where have you been?
on July 15,2014 | 03:13PM
ricekidd wrote:
on July 15,2014 | 04:15PM
NamFouc wrote:
Give it all to China to pay off our debt and only remove one star from the flag,, 7X7 Hows that?? Chinafornia.........
on July 15,2014 | 06:24PM
Mythman wrote:
on July 16,2014 | 12:40PM
inHilo wrote:
Why not just go back to when California belonged to Mexico?
on July 16,2014 | 05:35AM
gary360 wrote:
Good idea. Let's give them BO too. Nothing wrong with an illegal leading an illegal.
on July 16,2014 | 06:55AM
E_Ogawa wrote:
This crazy idea would never pass the California State Legislature nor the U.S. Congress.
on July 15,2014 | 01:37PM
loquaciousone wrote:
Now USC will be known as the University of California version 5.
on July 15,2014 | 02:11PM
Bdpapa wrote:
It appears an attempt to separate people who are poorer from the wealthy. Especially the nouveau rich near the Bay area.
on July 15,2014 | 03:44PM
false wrote:
No. potus takes care of that everyday
on July 15,2014 | 04:41PM
Surfer_Dude wrote:
56 stars won't fit on the flag.
on July 15,2014 | 05:04PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
7 x 8 equals 56. Doable.
on July 15,2014 | 06:27PM
rayhawaii wrote:
Then there will be 55 states in the US and a new 55 star flag will cost this country billions to change everything that has an image of the Red White and Blue.
on July 15,2014 | 05:11PM
bumba wrote:
Just an angle for the venture capitalist to make more money.
on July 15,2014 | 05:39PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Talk about weird.
on July 15,2014 | 06:26PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
I think it's already divided into counties. Isn't that enough?
on July 15,2014 | 06:28PM
inHilo wrote:
The more money you have, the more rules you make.
on July 16,2014 | 05:33AM
XML808 wrote:
If Draper doesn't like California the way it is, he can always move to Idaho.
on July 16,2014 | 05:36AM
fbg wrote:
The end game? 10 additional senators to give the west coast control the Senate!
on July 16,2014 | 06:29AM
lokela wrote:
They digging deep into the barrel now. Hey while you're at it look for some water.
on July 16,2014 | 07:01AM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
This will never fly in front of the federal government. Nonstarter.
on July 16,2014 | 02:43PM
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