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 Local

Storm Spotting Class In Yankton

Todd Heitkamp

We all have to take responsibility for our own safety when it comes to severe weather.

in Local

Rounds Votes No On Lynch

Rounds and Rook

Lorretta Lynch was confirmed by a 56 to 43 vote in the US Senate as the next US Attorney General.

in Local

Executive Board To Meet

state capitol pierre

The Executive Board of the South Dakota Legislature holds its first post session meeting on Monday in Pierre.

in Local

Mental Institutes in Iowa Old, But Effective

hospital hall

Four employees at the state-run Mental Health Institutes in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant testified before the Iowa Senate Oversight Committee Wednesday.

in Local

New University of Nebraska President Tours State

University_of_Nebraska-Lincoln

University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds is new to the position of heading up the university system...and new to the state.