Venture capitalist Tim Draper's plan to split up California into six separate states has apparently gained enough signatures to earn itself a spot on the November 2016 ballot. A spokesperson for the "Six Californias" initiative told Reuters that the required signature threshold — approximately 808,000 — has already been crossed, and organizers will be presenting the list to officials in Sacramento tomorrow.
#SixCalifornias will be submitting signatures in Sacramento tomorrow for placement on the November 2016 ballot. Stay tuned for coverage!— Six Californias (@SixCalifornias) July 14, 2014
Supporters say breaking up California would allow the various regions of what Draper calls an "ungovernable" state to focus on local interests more closely and better serve their constituents. (Silicon Valley would become its own state according to the plan.) The idea isn't novel, but Draper expressed determination to get Six Californias on the ballot late last year; he personally funded the petition drive to make it happen and poured over $2 million into the effort.
"We have many things going on that just aren’t working in California," Draper said on Fox Business in April. "This is an opportunity to reboot, to restart California and get people excited about it." But it turns out many people aren't excited about Draper's plan. They claim it's a terrible approach that's distracting Californians from the truth: the state has already turned a corner and is on an upward swing.
"Jobs are increasing and state tax revenue is pouring into Sacramento beyond all projections," Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton wrote in April as part of a piece titled "A state divided is no longer golden." Democratic strategist Steve Maviglio agreed with his take and said Draper's "totally nutty" Six Californias plan should be avoided. "Just when we're getting our momentum back in California, we now have a conversation about how screwed up the state is. And it's totally erroneous," he told Skelton.
The measure's appearance on a ballot obviously in no way guarantees success. Voters are likely to shoot it down without hesitation, and it's doubtful that Congress or the President would ever sign off on a plan that could dramatically shake up the political landscape. Draper missed his chance for voters to have their say on Six Californias this November, but he thinks waiting until 2016 may play to his advantage. "I’d love for it to happen sooner, but I think it would also be very effective and allow people to bring it into their consciousness if it happens a little later."