California Secretary of State Debra Bowen gave 55-year-old tech investor Tim Draper permission to start collecting petition signatures to split California into six separate states.
For the plan to get on a ballot, Draper needs 807,615 signatures from registered voters on his petition by July 18. He plans to launch a large-scale “grass roots” effort to get the signatures that he needs.
Under his plan, “South California” would be consist of San Diego and Orange County; “West California” would consist of Los Angeles and Santa Barbara; “Central California” would consist of Bakersfield, Fresno, and Stockton; “Silicon Valley” would consist of San Francisco and San Jose. “North California” would consist of the Sacramento metropolitan area; and “Jefferson” would consist of the Redding and Eureka areas.
In the past decade, California has dealt with financial hardships largely as a result of overspending. If divided into six separate states, the total debt would be divided between each state based on population. Secretary of State Debra Bowen said on Tuesday, “All tax collections and spending by the existing State of California would end, with its assets and liabilities divided among the new states.”
Critics claim that the plan is full of flaws and is unlikely to materialize. Dartmouth College Professor of Government Brendan Nyhan said, “Splitting California into six states would raise all sorts of concerns about the partisan balance of the senate. I can’t imagine this would ever go anywhere.”
Still, Draper insists that his plan would benefit all residents in the current Golden State.
A more localized government will allow citizens to have more of a voice in their state and communities, he asserted. “We’re simply too big and bloated,” he said. “The sheer size of California raises questions about representation and accountability. A single state Senate district has more people than all of South Dakota… With six Californias, people will be closer to their state governments, and states can get a refresh.”
If successful at splitting California into six states, Draper will make his new home in “Silicon Valley.”