California 'three states' plan OK'd for November ballot

A plan to break California into three states - California, Northern California and Southern California - has qualified for the November ballot after supporters turned in a petition with over 400,000 signatures.

The Cal 3 initiative - spearheaded by San Francisco venture capitalist Tom Draper - would divide California into three new states: Northern California, Southern California and California.

The measure, which qualified Tuesday for the November 6 ballot, would divide California into three states, including one dubbed "Southern California" that would include San Diego, Orange County and the Central Valley - but not Los Angeles - for a jurisdiction with real red-state possibilities.

Still, the "Cal-3" campaign said the ballot initiative will at the very least give voters an opportunity to express dissatisfaction with the status quo. Southern California would consist of 12 counties, including San Diego and Orange counties, the Inland Empire and much of the Central Valley. More recently, a group of Californians proposed the state leave the union altogether (they called it Calexit) after Donald Trump was elected president in 2016.

The ballot initiative describes the state of California as so enormous and diverse as to be "nearly ungovernable".

According to the Constitution, any initiative to move state boundaries or split states into new ones requires approval from Congress.

See below for the total number of signatures collected in each California county. "Californians deserve a better future".

Venture capitalist Tim Draper delivers signatures to push for a vote in 2014
Camera Icon Venture capitalist Tim Draper delivers signatures to push for a vote in 2014

California (new): This would include six counties: Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, and San Benito counties.

Stephen Lam / Reuters This is the third time Tim Draper, above, has tried to split up California.

Steven Maviglio, a Democratic political consultant who opposes breaking up the Golden State, told the Mercury News that Draper's initiative was taking the wrong track.

"How would we pay for basic services, what are our basic services, how would we fund just basic state government", he said. It would divide the population of the state roughly into even parts.

The campaign says that the creation of the separate states would lead to a stronger education system, safer roads and infrastructure, and lower taxes. "California government can do a better job addressing the real issues facing the state, but this measure is a massive distraction that will cause political chaos and greater inequality". College students who live in cities like Fresno may balk at being charged out-of-state tuition at University of California, Los Angeles.

A plan to split California into three states has made it to the November ballot and, though a long shot, could result in the first division of an existing state since West Virginia was created in 1863.

  • Jon Douglas