Angela Swartz/Daily Journal
Draper University Founder Tim Draper explains his Six Californias plan at a press conference yesterday.
More details are emerging about venture capitalist San Mateo’s Draper University founder Tim Draper’s plan to split California into six smaller states as a way to re-enfranchise and reconnect residents up and down the economic ladder.
“I believe it will allow a governmental refresh in California and people will be better represented here,” he wrote in an email to the Daily Journal.
Draper submitted a just more than four-page initiative Friday to the state’s attorney general in the form of a ballot proposition proposal called Six Californias. He says the plan has been in the works for years and countries are allowed flexibility in their borders. There will also be crowdsourcing to manage the states and each potential state will have its own website.
“I know we didn’t draw perfect lines,” Draper said at a press conference held yesterday to share more information about his campaign. “It looks pretty good, too.”
Once the attorney general assigns the initiative a title and summary, Draper has 150 days to gather enough signatures to qualify for the November 2014 ballot. He needs about a million signatures to get on the ballot and said he will be putting as little of his own money as possible into the proposal.
At the event yesterday, Draper said the status quo isn’t working.
“There was a can-do spirit throughout the state,” he said. “That has changed and the infrastructure is falling apart. Something is wrong with the state and the existing system.”
The six new proposed states would be called Jefferson, North California, Central California, Silicon Valley, West California and South California. The state, in its current construction, is ungovernable and unmanageable, Draper said.
With the proposal, there could be more personalized governments based on political, industrial and population-based needs, like a government focused on water rights and farming in Central California, medical devices in South California, technology in Silicon Valley and film in West California, he said.
“We are the state that charges the most for the worst service,” he said. “Six states would be unencumbered by varying goals. I know change is hard for people, but California’s slide is unavoidable.”
Draper is not alone in rethinking the division of jurisdictions.
Recently, rural counties in Northern California and Southern Oregon have been pushing to create a new state called the State of Jefferson because of frustration with lack of representation at the state Capitol and overregulation. Back in September, the Siskiyou County and Modoc County’s Board of Supervisors voted for secession. He said there’s now a grass roots movement to want to break into smaller states.
Draper’s initiative proposes that on or before Nov. 15, 2017, a county’s voters or Board of Supervisors may enact an ordinance to become part of a contiguous state other than the one to which it is assigned. Within 30 days of that ordinance, a majority of the board of supervisors in the state to which the county wants reassignment must approve the request. The plan then goes to the governor and, if approved at that level, moves to Congress for passage.
Draper said he thinks there will be indifference in Congress, but understands there might be some nervousness over changing the number of Senate votes since each state would potentially receive two of its own senators.
“I hope the country will recognize the momentum and want to make changes,” he said.
The website sixcalifornias.info lets visitors enter an email address for notification when the initiative has launched. Each potential state will have its own social media associated with it along with its website.
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