A Silicon Valley investor proposing to split California into six separate US states passed an initial poll hurdle this week, even if the initiative appears ultimately doomed to fail.
Governor Jerry Brown’s office immediately rebuffed the idea, which would make Silicon Valley a super-rich state in contrast to California’s impoverished rural Central Valley, saying it would present “serious practical challenges.”
Investor Tim Draper said he had submitted 1.3 million signatures Tuesday in favor of his proposal, more than enough to get it on to a state-wide ballot in November 2016, along with multiple other ballot initiatives.
“Californians understand the current structure doesn’t work,” Draper said in a statement on his sixcalifornias.com website.
“California, this is your opportunity to get a better government,” he added.
“We understand that kind of change can be hard for people to imagine. We pushed this initiative to November 2016 because wrapping your mind around this kind of fundamental change takes time and it is worth having an extended conversation.”
The six new states would be Jefferson — which already has a separatist movement near the Oregon border — North California, Silicon Valley, Central California, West California and South California.
San Francisco would be in North California, Los Angeles in West California and San Diego in South California.
Even if the measure is confirmed on the ballot, and even if Draper manages to convince a majority of California’s 38 million voters to support it, it would still have to be approved by lawmakers in Sacramento and ultimately the US capital Washington.
“While we generally do not comment on ballot measures, the proposal has serious practical challenges,” Brown spokesman Evan Westrup said in an email comment Wednesday.
The Economist magazine said the idea was a good one, even if Draper’s proposal will die sooner or later.
“Mr Draper, who made his fortune backing the likes of Skype and Baidu, is no fool; his motives in pursuing this quixotic dream are unclear. Still, even if his answer is silly, he is asking a good question,” it said.
But the magazine added that even if California voters back the initiative, “it must still be approved by the Californian legislature as well as Congress. That will not happen.”
[Gov. Jerry Brown photo via Shutterstock]