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Tim Draper, a billionaire venture capitalist based in California’s San Francisco Bay Area, is backing an effort to get a measure on the state’s Nov. 6 ballot that would divide the state into three parts: “Northern California,” running from the Oregon border to Santa Cruz and including the cities of Sacramento and San Francisco; “Southern California,” running from Madera County to Orange and San Diego Counties; and “California,” running along the coast from Monterey County to Los Angeles County.
“People know the state provides the worst education and the highest taxes and that it’s not doing anything to make it better,” Draper said.
He argues that the three new states would be able to tailor their governing priorities to local needs.
“The closer you get to government, the better it’s going to be,” he said. “When you have all the power delegated to someone very distant, it creates a problem.”
Draper said he’ll submit over 600,000 signatures for the proposed measure, well over the 365,880 valid signatures required. The high number of collected signatures is no guarantee of success, however. In 2014 Draper backed an initiative effort to split the state into six parts, for which 1.3 million signatures were gathered. But nearly half of them ended up being disqualified, leaving the measure about 100,000 signatures short of the 807,615 valid ones required. Still Draper is confident in the current effort.
“This time we’re so far over what we need that even if there is a blip in the signature count, we’ve got enough to qualify,” he said.
Qualifying the initiative for the ballot is only one of the challenges Draper faces. He would also have to convince the state’s voters, as well as state and federal lawmakers, who would have to approve the split, that three states are better than one.
Steve Maviglio, a Democratic political consultant who took part in a bipartisan effort in opposition to Draper’s 2014 proposal, doesn’t appear to think too highly of Draper’s current plan.
“This just goes to show that a billionaire with a wacky idea can get about anything on the ballot,” he said. “This doesn’t solve a single problem in the state or add a single job.” (SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE)