"Three Californias" initiative qualifies for November ballot

Blanche Robertson
June 13, 2018

As Los Angeles ABC News affiliate KABC-7 reported Tuesday evening, the campaign, led by Silicon Valley billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper, turned in 600,000 signatures, almost twice the 365,000 that were required.

Under the proposal, which Draper submitted to the state Attorney General's office last September, California would be split into: Northern California, which would consist of 40 counties; California, which would be composed of six counties, including Los Angeles; and Southern California, which would house the remaining 12 counties.

The reasons for wanting to split California up?

This is the third time Draper has attempted to split up the state.

The only solution, he maintains, is smaller governments better equipped to respond to residents' specific needs depending on the region of California where they live. "States will be more accountable to us and can cooperate and compete for citizens". West Virginia was formed by seceding from a Confederate state over differences around slavery. It would create the states of Northern California, Southern California and a narrow central coast strip retaining the name California.

Southern California, which you might expect would include Los Angeles, instead covers counties ranging from Fresno to San Diego.

Northern California would include 40 counties from Santa Cruz to the OR border, including San Francisco and Sacramento, the state's current capital.

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What are the chances of this happening?

In the unlikely event the measure is approved, the change would be the first division of an existing USA state since the creation of West Virginia in 1863.

If the proposal passes in November, it would still need to be approved by Congress. With its 55 electors in the Electoral College, California has always been a stronghold for the Democratic Party. His first proposal, in 2014 suggested the state breaking into six, not three, but this was rejected.

Critics of the initiative say having three Californias would actually diminish the power of Democrats. Joe Rodota, a political consultant and founder of intelligence services company Forward Observer, described the ballot to CBS as "a waste of time", and one that makes some issues unnecessarily complicated.

Getting an initiative on a November 2016 ballot required about 808,000 signatures. But the Russia-based leader of that campaign backed off.

Any effort to break up the state would still have to receive Congressional approval.

When a person or group backing a measure says it has enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, those signatures are turned over for verification.

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