Plan to split California into six states closer to vote

Plan to split California into six states closer to vote

Credit: Robyn Beck, AFP/Getty Images

California State Capitol in Sacramento.

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by Jolie Lee / USA TODAY

USA Today

Posted on February 21, 2014 at 10:53 AM

A plan to divide California into six states is one step closer to a vote.

Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper got the go-ahead this week to collect signatures for his "Six Californias" plan, according to the California Secretary of State's Office.

Draper needs more than 807,000 signatures of registered voters by July 18 to get his proposal on the November ballot.

With 38 million people, California is too big and diverse to properly represent all of its residents, according to Draper's plan.

"Vast parts of our state are poorly served by a representative government dominated by a large number of elected representatives from a small part of our state, both geographically and economically," the plan says.

Draper is a founding partner of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, a venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, Calif. The firm has cashed in on some well-known start-ups, including Skype and Baidu, China's largest search engine company.

Beyond venture capitalism, Draper has also served on the California State Board of Education, according to his online bio. In November 2000, Draper launched a statewide school voucher initiative, spending $20 million of his own money, the Contra Costa Times reports.

With his "Six Californias" proposal, Draper points to a need to address the state's troubled public schools and outdated and overmatched infrastructure systems.

"I think Californians believe California is ungovernable in its current state," Draper said in a Jan. 31 interview with Bloomberg TV. He added that the idea of six separate states was "sparking their imagination."

Draper's plan encourages "regional cooperation." A new structure will also create competition between the states "which will lead to better and more responsive governance," according to the plan.

The six states would be:

  • South California: San Diego and Orange counties
  • West California: includes Los Angeles and Santa Barbara
  • Central California: includes Bakersfield, Fresno and Stockton
  • Silicon Valley: includes San Francisco and San Jose
  • North California: Sacramento area
  • Jefferson: Redding and Eureka areas

But the prospect of a six-state California becoming a reality is unlikely. Even if passed by voters, Congress would still have to approve the plan, including the addition of 10 more senators.

"The implications would have tremendous repercussions at every level of government, from Congress all the way down," said Kurt Bardella, president of public relations firm Endeavor Strategic Communications and former aide to Rep. Darrell Issa. "Even just adding five more stars to the American flag."

This isn't the first proposal to split up California. Other proposals over the years have suggested making California two, three or four separate states.

Contributing: The Associated Press.

Follow @JolieLeeDC on Twitter.

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