A California high-tech venture capitalist is pushing a plan to divide the most populous U.S. state six ways.
Tim Draper is set to hold a news conference Tuesday in Sacramento, the state capital, where he is expected to announce that enough people have signed petitions to put the question on the ballot in November 2016. At least 807,615 valid signatures -- more than the entire population of Alaska -- are needed.
With more than 38 million residents, California is the most populous state -- with 13 million more people than runner-up Texas. It has the third largest area behind Alaska and Texas.
Draper's plan would create six new states. San Diego and Orange County would become South California, the Los Angeles area West California, and the Central Valley and much of the Sierras would be Central California. To the north, the San Francisco-San Jose area would be the state of Silicon Valley, Sacramento and areas on the north side of San Francisco Bay would be North California, and the rural and thinly populated area to the north would be Jefferson.
If Draper has the signatures to get the issue onthe ballot, he has an uphill fight. In a Field Poll in February, 59 percent of respondents said they like a single California.
Both the U.S. Congress and the California legislature would also have to endorse the plan. Given that Democrats now control both houses in the state -- and oppose dividing California -- that would seem to be a long shot.
Draper argues that smaller states and state governments would be more effective. He is a registered independent and says the plan is not simply aimed at putting more Republicans in power.
"Think of it as Sacramento being sort of ... rusted," Draper said in a February speech in San Francisco. "We need to do something structural, something fresh. ... If we don't try, we're failing in our complacency."
Original headline: Venture capitalist hopes Californians will vote to split up
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