If Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper has his way in November, voters will go to the polls in California and decide to…essentially write an end-date on the state’s tombstone. Draper, after several failed attempts, has finally succeeded in taking the first step towards fulfilling his dream of a divided California. State officials certified the results of Draper’s petition campaign this week, meaning a proposal to split California into three new states will official be on the ballot on November 6. Now the only question is whether or not there is enough support on the West Coast for bringing California’s 168-year life span to an end.
From the Los Angeles Times:
If a majority of voters who cast ballots agree, a long and contentious process would begin for three separate states to take the place of California, with one primarily centered around Los Angeles and the other two divvying up the counties to the north and south. Completion of the radical plan — far from certain, given its many hurdles at judicial, state and federal levels — would make history.
It would be the first division of an existing U.S. state since the creation of West Virginia in 1863.
“Three states will get us better infrastructure, better education and lower taxes,” Tim Draper, the Silicon Valley venture capitalist who sponsored the ballot measure, said in an email to The Times last summer when he formally submitted the proposal. “States will be more accountable to us and can cooperate and compete for citizens.”
If the measure passes (and clears all of the subsequent constitutional hurdles, which will be no small feat), it would break California into three different states. One would remain “California,” and it would encompass the six counties surrounding Los Angeles in the central West Coast region of the state. The second would become “Northern California,” including 40 counties stretching from Santa Cruz all the way up to Oregon. The third would be “Southern California” and would include everything from Madera County down to Mexico.
Draper’s interest in the split is largely apolitical; he claims that the current configuration of California is economically unstable and that the split he proposes would solve many of the region’s financial problems. Even so, politics will play a huge role in determining how far his long-shot proposal makes it; Democrats will be loathe to give up what has been, for them, an easy and predictable swath of presidential electoral votes. On the other hand, conservative Californians who are sick of Sacramento’s liberal domination could be convinced that a change of this magnitude is exactly what the West Coast needs.
The chances of this actually happening range from slim to none.
But then again, that’s what they said about Brexit and the election of a certain U.S. president.