Tech entrepreneur Tim Draper wants to split the state into six separate states. He said he has collected enough signatures to put his idea on the November 2016 ballot. Draper presented what he said were 44,000 signatures at the Sacramento County Elections Office on Tuesday. Those signatures still need to be verified by officials.
Draper said his campaign would present 1.3 million signatures statewide by the end of this week.
Draper, who resides in Silicon Valley, has spent millions of his own money trying to persuade voters about this idea.
“I want to be well-represented. I want my state to reflect my interests,” said Draper. “I just feel like getting something like this into the hands of Californians, we’re all going to be much better off.”
Here’s how Draper would divide up the state:
- “Jefferson” would include the Northern most counties in California including Humboldt, Mendocino and Shasta. For years, activists in this area have worked to separate from the rest of California.
- “North California” would include California’s wine country and California’s current capital. Napa, Sacramento, and Marin counties are among those listed.
- “Silicon Valley” would include Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.
- “Central California” would include Alpine, Calaveras, Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare and Tuolumne counties.
- “West California” would include Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
- “South California” would include Imperial, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties.
Critics point out this would separate some of the wealthiest and poorest Californians. Under this plan, “Central California” would potentially be the poorest state in the country.
“Those places are poor under the current regime. They don’t have to be poor. These can be wealthy states,” said Draper.
Even if California’s voters passed this, Congress would need to approve it as well. A group called One California has already formed to oppose the initiative.
“I think Californians need about two seconds to dismiss the idea, rather than two years to think about it,” said Democratic political strategist Steve Maviglio, a spokesman for One California. “It’s unworkable on its face. It’ll never happen. Congress will never allow 10 new United States senators. And it’s extremely costly. The chances of that happening are, like, less than zero.”
Several voters told Eyewitness News they would vote against this idea.
“California has everything, why would you want to break that up?” said state resident Caroline Miller.
The response from Eyewitness News Twitter followers was overwhelmingly negative as well.
Robert Rico tweeted out, “Dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.”
California currently has more than 38 million residents, making it the most populous state in the U.S.