News

Could California become six states?

Could California become six states?

CALIFORNIA:Timothy Draper, Founder and Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, speaks at the Reuters Global Technology Summit New York May 21, 2009 file photo. Photo: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

By Jennifer Chaussee

San Francisco (Reuters) – A long-shot effort to break California into six separate states got a boost on Monday, when the billionaire venture capitalist behind the proposal said he had gathered enough signatures to place it on the ballot in two years.

Timothy Draper, a founder of a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that has invested in Twitter, Skype and Tesla, among other companies, has been agitating for months for a ballot initiative to chop the most populous U.S. state into smaller entities.

“It’s important because it will help us create a more responsive, more innovative and more local government, and that ultimately will end up being better for all of Californians,” said Roger Salazar, a spokesman for the campaign. “The idea … is to create six states with responsive local governments – states that are more representative and accountable to their constituents.”

Salazar said Monday that the campaign had gathered more than the roughly 808,000 signatures needed to place the measure on the November, 2016 ballot. Draper and other supporters plan to file the signatures with California Secretary of State Debra Bowen on Tuesday.

But the plan has raised bipartisan hackles across the state, and opponents say it stands little chance of gaining voter approval. If it does win the support of voters, it must still be passed by Congress, which opponents say is also unlikely.

“This is a colossal and divisive waste of time, energy, and money that will hurt the California brand,” said Steven Maviglio, a Democratic political strategist who has formed the group OneCalifornia with GOP strategist Joe Rodota to fight Draper’s plan. “It has zero chance of passage. But what it does is scare investment away… at a time when the Governor is leading us to an economic comeback.”

Draper’s plan would split the world’s eighth-largest economy along geographic lines.

One state, to be called Silicon Valley, would include the tech hub along with the San Francisco Bay Area. Jefferson, named after the third U.S. president, would encompass the northernmost region. The state capital of Sacramento would be in North California, while South California would be made up of San Diego and the eastern suburbs of Los Angeles.

L.A. itself would be part of a state called West California.

Proponents say the division would help create a more business-friendly environment, solve the state’s water issues, and ease traffic congestion.

(Editing by Sharon Bernstein and Eric Walsh)

Recent Headlines

in Sports

MLB: 4 Royals elected All-Star starters

joseallstar

Houston second baseman Jose Altuve passed Kansas City's Omar Infante in the final days of voting, leaving four Royals as starters for the All-Star Game.

in Sports

Serena downs Venus to reach Wimbledon quarters

serenawimbledon

A contest featuring the sisters, who between them have hoisted the Rosewater Dish 10 times, should have been a blockbuster but turned out to be yet another awkward anti-climax.

in National

Postal carriers getting a panic button

10-overlay3

It used to be that mail carriers had to just contend with dogs and weather but a rise in other work-related dangers has pushed the postal service to adopt new technology.

in National

Back at work: Congress facing busy agenda, funding deadline

congresspelosi

Lawmakers return to Washington on Tuesday with a long to-do list.

in National, World

Iran demands end to U.N. missile sanctions, West refuses

kerrynucleartalks

A dispute over U.N. sanctions on Iran's ballistic missile program and a broader arms embargo are among issues holding up a nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers.