Tim Draper is back! The billionaire venture capitalist behind Hotmail and an early investor in Skype and in Bitcoins, is again aiming to split up the state of California.
As previously noted – Draper initially proposed splitting up California into six new states. While the “6 Californias” effort floundered, it likely only failed because it was overly ambitious: It sought six Californias instead of just, say, two or three.
Splitting California into three states, instead of six
Draper’s learned his lesson. On August 18 he filed a new proposed ballot initiative. It would instead proposed only three new states, Northern California, California, and Southern California. See the map below for Draper’s proposed borders.
He’s on the right track here in reducing the number of proposed states from six to three, as we said ourselves on August 14. Draper’s new chosen borders are a little bit dubious.
For example, he’s now ditched the idea of “Jefferson,” in far-northern California, and one of the few long-running grass-roots movements for partition within the United States. Under this new proposal, Jefferson would be folded into the state of Northern California, and which would include both the San Francisco Bay area, including the wealthy areas around Silicon Valley, and Sacramento.
Confusingly, his state of “Southern California” would extend further north than the rump of central California. Los Angeles County and northward north would become a new coastal state, while the state’s vast hinterlands and deserts would be attached to a “Southern California” centered on Orange County and San Diego.
Shrinking the notion down to three states was an improvement, but Draper’s proposed borders may still need serious input from Californians – if even they are willing to go from thought experiment to concrete proposal.
Supreme Court decision boosts chances of splitting California
Also of note, the Supreme Court 2015 decision in Arizona v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission gives the proposal a modest boost. In Arizona v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, the justices settled an important question pertaining to the federal Constitution’s reference to a state’s “legislature.” That can mean whatever the state chooses.
In other words, if a state constitution grants legislative powers to the people at large through an initiative and referendum process, that as valid as if done by the body that is generally termed a state’s “legislature.”
Thus, a partition plan in California could go straight to the voters for approval, bypassing the notoriously dysfunctional state legislature in Sacramento.
Read more about previous attempts to split up California, and other state plans, below.