Remember that widely derided plan to break California up into six states that died before making it to the ballot for the 2016 state elections? It’s been reincarnated – by the same billionaire who flouted the original plan – but this time, instead of six states, the proposal is to split the Golden State into three: Northern California, Southern California and a new California.
The proposal has cleared its first hurdle, and its proponent, billionaire bitcoin enthusiast Timothy Draper, can now begin collecting signatures to qualify for next year’s ballot.
Secretary of State Alex Padilla made the announcement Thursday. Draper must collect signatures of 365,880 registered voters in order to qualify for the ballot. He has 180 days to circulate petitions for the measure, and the signatures will have to be submitted to county elections officials by April 23, 2018.
The split would look like this: Northern California would include the Bay Area all the way to the Oregon border, Southern California would begin in Fresno and cover most of the southern state.
A new California would also begin in Los Angeles County and cover coastal areas.
So why three states?
The proposal says that the current state of California has 39.5 million people, and Northern California — with the Bay Area as the center of technology — leading in per capita personal income levels across California.
In the current California, wealth is dispropotionately concentrated in the Bay Area, with the San Joaquin Valley being one of the poorest regions in the country.
With three states, income levels would also vary, but the Bay Area would be among the wealthiest per capita income levels in the nation (mainly in San Francisco and Marin County).
Changes in the state's higher education, water, prison, transportation, health and retirement and tax structure could lead to a healthier state, the proposal argues.
California's existing state assets and liabilities would be divided among the three new states, which would make their own decisions about state and local taxes and spending.
Supporters say citizens would be better served by three smaller state governments, while opponents say the plan would create chaos.
Even if voters approve it, Congress would have the final say.
Here's what the split would look like:
CALIFORNIA: Los Angeles, Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Fresno, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Tulare
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA: Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Joaqui, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo, Yuba.
— Riya Bhattacharjee (@loislane28) October 27, 2017