Initiative to split California into three states qualifies for ballot


A proposal by billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper to split California into three states has gathered enough verified signatures to be put to a vote this November.

Draper previously proposed splitting the state into six separate states in 2012 and 2014, but election officials invalidated numerous signatures his campaign collected, the Hill reported.

A proposal to divide California into three states is now eligible for the November statewide ballot. Though the proposed NorCal and SoCal states would have access to water within their borders, California state-home to ever-thirsty Los Angeles County-would be required to import water from the other two. The upper portion of the state, which would include San Francisco and the state capital Sacramento, would become Northern California. Southern California would consist of 12 counties, including San Diego and Orange counties, the Inland Empire and much of the Central Valley.

Even if Californians voted for the initiative, it would still require congressional approval. The state's elaborate system of aqueducts would become a managerial-and political-challenge for three states instead of just one.

Present day California is the world's fifth biggest economy with a GSP (gross state product) of $2.75 trillion, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, making it bigger than the United Kingdom economy.

"The California state government isn't too big to fail, because it is already failing its citizens in so many crucial ways", Citizens for Cal 3 campaign spokeswoman Peggy Grande said in a statement, according to CNN.

In 1992, Stan Statham, an assemblyman from Northern California, embarked on "a quixotic campaign to split California in three", as Sacramento's News & Review recalled.

While proposals about separating California have been bandied about for years, Golden State voters will have their say on this particular initiative in November. The last time any American state succeeded at such a plan was in 1863, when West Virginia, which did not want to be part of the Confederacy, split from Virginia, which did.

Padilla said he would certify the initiative on June 28 unless it is withdrawn by Draper.

A good-humored Draper rolled with the punches as Colbert ripped the new states of "Silicon Valley, the richest state per capita" and "Jefferson, famous for producing 60 percent of the country's marijuana". His first proposal, in 2014 suggested the state breaking into six, not three, but this was rejected.

But the most immediate obstacle to three Californias is that the voters of one California would have to approve it before anything else happened, and at the moment, they don't like the idea at all.

If the plan was approved by the voters, it would need to be approved by both houses of the California legislature, an unlikely prospect.