Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Californias? Initiative to break up state may be on November ballot

Three Californias? Billionaire gathers enough signatures to trigger referendum Mike Blake Reuters
Deanna Wagner | 14 April, 2018, 10:26

Billionaire Tim Draper says he has enough support to ask Californians if they want to divide the nation's most populous state into three states.

Draper said he conceived the initiative out of a belief that "the citizens of the whole state would be better served by three smaller state governments while preserving the historical boundaries of the various counties, cities and towns".

According to the proposal, first announced in November, this will solve California's most pressing issues, including the state's failing school systems, high taxes, deteriorating infrastructure and strained government.

Nevertheless opponents say creating three states will do nothing to resolve California's monetary and political points.

Draper said voters overwhelmingly approved the splitting of California into two states in 1859, but Congress never acted on that request due to the divisions that led to the Civil War in 1861.

"When you get together and you start something fresh, you have a new way to look at it and create better things" he added.

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Draper has proposed creating California, Northern California and Southern California.

Draper lobbied unsuccessfully for similar ballot initiatives in 2014 and 2016, but this year he said he was able to amass approximately 600,000 signatures, well more than the 365,880 required. Southern California would begin in Fresno and cover most of the southern state. The Secretary of State's office counties have a month to verify the signatures.

Voters could get a chance to decide whether California should be split into three states this November. And a new California would begin in Los Angeles County and cover most of the coastal areas. The three-way split goes like this: Northern California would include the Bay Area all the way to the OR border.

Constitutional lawyer and professor Jonathan Turley told CNN that congressional approval is not impossible, but not likely to happen, as Democrats could feel they have too much to lose.

"There's very little support for tripling California's representation in the U.S. Senate", said Jack Pitney, who teaches politics at Claremont McKenna College.