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.
Christian university president quits after massive backlash over inviting Mike Pence
Vice President Mike Pence's role in toxic administrations caused such a backlash that a Christian university is now searching for a new president.
"Taylor University President Paul Lowell Haines has resigned from the nondenominational Christian university a month after hosting Vice President Mike Pence as commencement speaker," Religious News Service reported Monday.
Students and alumni had protested the invitation.
Student debt a ‘life sentence’ for millions of Americans
Haley Walters is five years away from earning her law degree. If everything goes according to plan, she will be under a mountain of $100,000 in student debt by the time she enters the work force.
Like millions of Americans, Walters is paying a steep price for an education that will likely weigh her down financially for much of her adult life.
"I think the student debt crisis is truly a life sentence," the 19-year-old Californian told AFP.
With 45 million borrowers owing some $1.6 trillion, the debt burden of American college graduates has exploded in recent years.
Florida library forced to cancel ‘Pride Prom’ after death threat sparks fear for teens’ safety
A Jacksonville, Florida library worked to hold a prom for LGBTQ teens who feel uncomfortable about going to their high school prom as they are or with the person they truly want to bring. That's why they started the Pride Prom. But after fears for the safety for the teens, the library had to cancel.
According to WOKV, the prom was supposed to be this Friday, with a Storybook theme where attendees were encouraged to dress up as their favorite storybook character. There would be music, dancing, a selfie station and more. All of that is over now, however.