Have you heard about Six Californias in the news? Yeah ... it's a proposed 2016 ballot measure to split the Golden State into six separate states. Take that, Dakotas, Carolinas, and West Virginia! We'll see your "double state" status and triple it.
The people behind the measure (specifically venture capitalist Tim Draper) say they've gathered enough signatures to put it to a vote on the 2016 ballot. If it passes, us Californians will be all broken up over it. Hehe, get it? Sorry, I couldn't help myself. Anyway, as a life-long resident of what will be known as South California, I figured I should probably look into this crazy idea and figure out what it means.
OK, first things first. Who the heck is Tim Draper? Draper is one of the founders of the venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, which I'm sure doesn't ring any bells to you, but maybe Hotmail, Tesla Motors, and Skype do? Yeah, they're the one who invested in those little companies. In other words, dude has means.
And why does he care (i.e. -- what's the point)? Draper thinks California has become too big and cumbersome. Basically, our economy has tanked, schools are failing, and unemployment is high, and with so many people living here, it's hard to find common ground, so everything remains gridlocked in Sacramento. Creating smaller state governments will allow more localized control and hopefully happier citizens.
How would it be split up?
- Jefferson: The northern part of the state, including Humboldt and Mendocino counties.
- North California: The wine country counties of Sonoma and Napa, as well as the Sierra Nevada region.
- Silicon Valley: Including San Francisco, San Jose and most of what's considered the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Central California: The vast central valley farm region, including Tulare and Fresno counties.
- West California: Including Santa Barbara and Los Angeles.
- South California: Including what's called the Inland Empire of San Bernadino and Riverside, plus San Diego.
Which party supports the initiative? Well, the Democratic party overwhelmingly opposes it, and a whopping 59 percent of Californians overall are against it. California hasn't voted red in a presidential election since 1988, so it's probably safe to say with these numbers, more Republicans support this idea than liberals. Plus that whole smaller government concept fits right in with conservatives.
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Is it a good idea? In theory, yes. It wouldn't split the state up right away -- we'd need congressional approval to do that, per the U.S. Constitution. It would mean new Senate seats, a new flag with 55 stars, and a lot of other new things that would take a lot of resources that would take time to make happen. But it could be really good to get governments more localized.
Will it ever happen? No. Not a chance. Mitt Romney had a better shot at winning the last election.
Do you think it's a good idea to split California into smaller states?
Image via Chuck Coker/Flickr