SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — California voters could soon be asked to decide whether their state is too big.
Venture capitalist and billionaire, Tim Draper, who pushed for a six-state proposal, now has a three-state proposal.
Draper did not have enough signatures to get his six-state measure on the California ballot in 2016.
For this new proposal — to break California into three states — he needs 366,000 signatures to put it on the ballot.
On Thursday, he announced he’s got more than 600,000 signatures.
Draper said, “…I’m proud to announce we’ve collected more than enough signatures to qualify for the 2018 ballot.”
In the proposal, the Bay Area would be in ‘Norcal’ along with the counties north of Merced. Along the coast from Monterey to Los Angeles would be ‘California’ and the counties east would be ‘Socal’.
The population of each new state would range from 13.9 million people in Socal and 13.3 million in Norcal to 12.3 million in California.
The three new states would still be among the top ten most populous in the country.
Draper, the chairman of the Cal 3 campaign, said, “…this would make sure everyone has a government that is responsive and responsible.”
But the devil is in the details, and there are a lot of details here.
Joe Rodota is the founder of Forward Observer and he said, “…there are a lot of good ideas that come out of Silicon Valley, this isn’t one of them.”
Rodota is a longtime California political consultant and he says this is all a “waste of time.”
Take the UC system, for example. There are 10 UC campuses in California, built and paid for by taxpayers throughout the state.
Rodota asked, “How are you going to tell a family that lives in L.A. they have to pay out of state tuition to go to Berkeley?”
Then there’s water rights, state pensions, prisons, education funding. And figuring all this out takes time and money, and so would setting up three new governments.
Rodota says that even if this makes it to the ballot, he doesn’t think voters will go for it.
“Voters have been skeptical in California,” Rodota said.
And even if it passes, it all has to be approved by Congress, who might not be eager to dilute their own power by creating four new U.S. senators from the West Coast.
Still, Draper says, it’s California’s nature to push the envelope.
“California dreams big…” Draper said.