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Man behind plan to split up California likes chances in November vote

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Venture capitalist Tim Draper, fresh off an attention-grabbing victory getting a proposal onto the November ballot to split California into three states, said on Wednesday he was confident voters ill-served by their government would embrace the plan.

California elections officials certified on Tuesday that Draper’s so-called Cal3 initiative had won enough signatures from registered voters to qualify for the ballot, the first step in a politically complicated, uphill fight to ultimately break apart the most populous U.S. state.

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“It is all about educating the voter on how much better this will be for them. As voters become educated, they tend to support Cal3,” Draper, 60, told Reuters in an interview via email.

“Cal3 gives them an opportunity to improve the state,” said Draper, who argued California ranked near the bottom among U.S. states in quality of life, education, the tax burden and as a place to do business. “Cal3 gives them a fresh start.”

It was not clear how he determined those rankings.

A spokeswoman for the initiative said the initiative was nonpartisan and not aligned with either major political party.

If California voters pass Cal3 in November, Democratic Governor Jerry Brown or his successor would be directed to petition Congress to approve the split, as called for under the U.S. Constitution.

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President Donald Trump would then be required to sign that legislation.

Political experts say Congress is unlikely to approve a split-up of California, especially Democrats who would be deeply reluctant to break up a dependably blue state.

But Draper believes politicians in Washington or Sacramento would be taking an even bigger risk by ignoring the will of voters fed up with a state government he says has long stopped working for them.

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“The people we talked to are looking for better education for their children, a better job environment, safer, cleaner water and highways, lower taxes, and a business climate that doesn’t push their companies out of the state,” said Draper, who previously tried unsuccessfully to qualify a ballot measure that would have broken California into six states.

Under Cal3, California, which has almost 40 million people and an economy that ranks as the world’s fifth largest, would be split into three still fairly large states.

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One would include Los Angeles and a swath of the coast extending north to Monterey. “Northern California” would feature Sacramento, San Francisco and a chunk of the state extending to the Oregon border. “Southern California” would include farm communities such as Fresno and Bakersfield, the inland counties of San Bernardino and Riverside, and the San Diego area.

Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Peter Cooney


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Trump says he is Israel’s best friend — and that some Jewish-Americans ‘don’t love Israel enough’

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US President Donald Trump aimed to make inroads Saturday in the politically important Jewish-American vote with a Florida speech where he declared himself the best friend Israel has ever had.

At a conference in Hollywood, Florida, the Republican real estate magnate said Jewish-Americans had been wrong to vote for Democrats under his predecessor Barack Obama.

"So many of you voted for people in the last administration," he said.

"Someday you'll have to explain that to me because I don't think they liked Israel too much."

By contrast, Trump said, "the Jewish state has never had a better friend in the White House than your president, Donald J. Trump."

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Pearl Harbor veteran interred on sunken USS Arizona

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Will Smith still feels "emotional" about homelessness years after playing a destitute man in one of his most acclaimed film roles, the Hollywood star has told charity campaigners braving a fierce New York winter night to sleep rough.

Hundreds of people had gathered in Times Square on Saturday, rugged up and ready to bunk down in freezing temperatures, in a campaign to raise funds for what organizers said was record homelessness globally.

Smith told the crowd that his Oscar-nominated role in "The Pursuit of Happyness" -- a 2007 biopic of a salesman forced to live on the streets of San Francisco with his young son -- was a "life-changing experience" that had allowed him to understand the misery of poverty.

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‘Emotional’ Will Smith campaigns against homelessness in New York

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Will Smith still feels "emotional" about homelessness years after playing a destitute man in one of his most acclaimed film roles, the Hollywood star has told charity campaigners braving a fierce New York winter night to sleep rough.

Hundreds of people had gathered in Times Square on Saturday, rugged up and ready to bunk down in freezing temperatures, in a campaign to raise funds for what organizers said was record homelessness globally.

Smith told the crowd that his Oscar-nominated role in "The Pursuit of Happyness" -- a 2007 biopic of a salesman forced to live on the streets of San Francisco with his young son -- was a "life-changing experience" that had allowed him to understand the misery of poverty.

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