California Supreme Court blocks ballot measure to divide state into three

Cal-3 (1)The California Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked a proposal to split the state into three from appearing as a ballot measure in November, according to multiple reports.

The proposal, championed by venture capitalist Tim Draper, had gathered at least 600,000 signatures which was enough to earn a spot on the midterm ballot.

The court said that it decided to remove the measure from the ballot “because significant questions have been raised regarding the proposition’s validity,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

“We conclude that the potential harm in permitting the measure to remain on the ballot outweighs the potential harm in delaying the proposition to a future election,” the court wrote.

If passed, the proposal, known as “Cal-3,” would have divided the state into California, Northern California and Southern California, each with similar populations. …

Click here to read the full article from The Hill

‘Three Californias’ plan would give Dems more seats

Tim DraperA proposal to split the nation’s most populous state into three smaller states would give Democrats a huge boost in the perpetual battle for control of the United States Senate — likely dooming the plan even before voters have a chance to weigh in.

California voters will vote this November on the ballot measure, backed by tech billionaire and venture capitalist Tim Draper. If the measure passes, Congress would have a year to allow the state to split up into three separate states — one centered around Los Angeles, another in Northern California that includes the Bay Area and Sacramento, and a third in Southern California that would include the Central Valley and San Diego.

Democrats have easily won California’s electoral votes in recent years. George H.W. Bush was the last Republican to win the state at the presidential level, and Republicans haven’t won a Senate seat in California since Pete Wilson won reelection in 1988.

But if Democrats are leery of splitting California’s 55 electoral votes, recent election results show the three new states all would have voted for Democratic presidential nominees Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. …

Click here to read the full article from The Hill

Is One California Really Enough?

california-flagIs it time for Californians to seriously consider breaking up their state into smaller portions? We’ll soon see if they think so after Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper’s latest plan to turn California into three Californias has qualified for the November ballot. Unfortunately, it won’t fix most of the problems that ail our massive and ungovernable state because of the way the plan draws the borders. Breaking up is a good idea, but it has to be done the right way.

Even if the initiative passes, it would only be a start in a long and arduous process that would ultimately require the approval of Congress and probably the state Legislature (depending on how the courts rule). Don’t start designing the new state flags quite yet. In what world will California legislators calmly give up power or Congress consider turning one state into three? The Draper-backed measure has gotten national attention, but it’s little more than an advisory vote, although his plan is more feasible than a couple of other break-up proposals.

Timing for the initiative is pretty good though, coming on the tail end of a primary election that has reminded us that virtually every other political reform idea here has failed. Last week’s wild California primary election was defined by a relatively new “top two” system that was supposed to moderate the extremes in each party and give voters a greater say in their representation. It was just the latest “rearrange the deck chairs” solution.

Under the new primary system, the top two vote getters move on to the general election, regardless of party affiliation. It’s hard to conclude that it did much this year in the governor’s race as liberal Democrat, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom of San Francisco, faces off in November against Republican businessman John Cox, a Trump-backed conservative from the San Diego area. This is a standard political match up — and one that heavily favors continued Democratic dominance. Republicans are unlikely to win any statewide office in November.

Other recent process-oriented reforms included a non-partisan redistricting committee that has made no discernible difference in the Legislature’s make up and allowing the Legislature to pass budgets with a simple majority vote rather than a supermajority. The latter “reform,” pushed by business-oriented moderates, reduced partisan bickering by totally cutting Republicans out of the process. It has paved the way for budgets that set spending records. What a triumph.

The problem, it seems, is more fundamental than anything that could be addressed by tinkering with political rules. This state runs nearly 800 miles from the border at Tijuana to the Oregon border. Some of those tiny eastern states — Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware — wouldn’t be more than a decent county out here. In fact, San Bernardino County is larger geographically than nine individual states and the four smallest states combined (those above three plus Hawaii). Considered in context, then, Draper’s idea isn’t so unreasonable.

Los Angeles County, with its 10 million population, is more populous than 41 states. Practically speaking, it’s hard for any Republican to win statewide office when one of its 58 counties has that many people — and its electorate votes overwhelmingly Democratic. The end result is people who live in the agricultural Central Valley, the rural resource-oriented north state, or in relatively conservative suburban coastal areas have little say in statewide governance. It’s the kind of problem that nationally was addressed by the Electoral College. Maybe there’s nothing else to do than break up the state into more sensible, self-governing portions?

Draper’s particular plan comes up short, though. Californians have been arguing about their state boundaries since it was admitted into the union in 1850. There have been more than 200 efforts since then to rearrange its boundaries, which were the product of happenstance and greed (the desire to grab as many of the gold fields as possible). It’s fine to try it again, but the reason for any current break up has to be clear. It’s not only to create smaller, more geographically compatible portions. It’s to give the state’s more conservative regions a chance to unyoke themselves from the liberal Democrats who have complete control of the place.

Draper had previously proposed a six-state solution that artfully solved most of the above-mentioned political problems, but he chiseled it down to three states to provide something more politically palatable to voters. The main impetus for a break up has come from residents of the low-population north state through a State of Jefferson movement that used to include southern Oregon counties. Its purpose is depicted by the two “X’s” that are on its proposed state flag. Residents have been double-crossed by politicians in Sacramento and Salem.

But this plan double crosses them again by drawing Northern California’s boundary so far south that it grabs the entire San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento. Instead of getting greater independence, these residents would get the same situation, only worse. San Francisco area voters will have more influence in that region than they currently have now in the Golden State. Draper then puts Los Angeles in with the state’s left-leaning Central Coast, thus creating a second state that’s still called California. That makes sense. The third state, Southern California, includes the more conservative southern suburban areas (Orange County, San Diego, the Inland Empire) and grabs a large swath of the San Joaquin Valley, the state’s agricultural heartland.

That’s a reasonable new state, also. It would become something of a political toss up, given that its main population areas are trending Democratic. My three-state proposal is far better. I would put California’s most liberal coastal areas into one long state that goes from Long Beach through the Bay Area to the northern border of Mendocino and cuts inland to grab Yolo (the college town of Davis) and government-centric Sacramento. This will be a progressive’s Nirvana, with counties that are totally compatible culturally, geographically, and politically. (I’d have to move, of course, but I can’t let personal considerations get in the way of a good map!)

Then the State of Jefferson will include the rural north state and drop down and grab most of the Central Valley. It will be a solid red state. Then the new state of Southern California will include the major Southern counties sans Los Angeles and run east through the desert regions and up through the eastern Sierra. It will be a purple state. This breakdown provides better representation for everyone, but doesn’t dramatically change the balance of power.

Even with the coming initiative ballot, it’s all largely for the intellectual exercise given its low likelihood of happening. Nevertheless, all good ideas start with thought experiments, so it’s important to get the maps right. Perhaps at some point we’ll all realize that California, in its current geographical framework, is unsalvageable — and that better boundaries will lead to better governance.

Steven Greenhut is Western region director for the R Street Institute. Write to him [email protected]

This article was originally published by the American Spectator

‘Three Californias’ Referendum to Appear on November 2018 Ballot

Cal-3 (1)“Cal 3,” a proposal to split California into three states will likely appear on the November 2018 ballot after gathering far more than the minimum number of signatures required, organizers announced Tuesday.

“Thanks to Californians from every corner of the state, the Cal 3 initiative will be on the statewide ballot this November for the first time ever,” read a statement on the initiative’s website.

As Los Angeles ABC News affiliate KABC-7 reported Tuesday evening, the campaign, led by Silicon Valley billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper, turned in 600,000 signatures, nearly twice the 365,000 that were required.

The three new states would consist of Northern California, extending from the San Francisco Bay Area north to the Oregon border and east to the Nevada border; California, including Los Angeles County and extending northwest along the Central Coast; and Southern California, including San Diego and the rest of the southern part of the state.

This is not Draper’s first attempt to break up the Golden State. In 2016, he produced an even more ambitious plan called “Six Californias.” However, it failed to gain enough signatures to qualify for the ballot that year.

Draper believes that California has become virtually ungovernable, with a state government that is too remote from its citizens.

Similar sentiments have fueled the “State of Jefferson” movement in the conservative northeast portion of California. However, some conservatives fear that the state has become so liberal that breaking it up into new states would simply elect more Democrats to the U.S. Senate.

Regardless, the “Three Californias” referendum could boost turnout — especially among Republicans — in November, making the state more competitive.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

This article was originally published by Breitbart.com/California

Tim Draper says he has signatures needed for third try to break up California

Billionaire venture investor Tim Draper on Thursday said he has the signatures he needs to put his initiative to break up California into three states before the state’s voters.

Draper said in a press release that he has gathered about 600,000 signatures for his “Cal 3” initiative that would divide the country’s most populous state into three new ones: Northern California, Southern California and California.

Los Angeles would be in the new California. The farmland and forested areas, along with San Francisco and the Silicon Valley technology hub, would be turned into the two other states.

The signatures on the Cal 3 petition have yet to be certified, so it isn’t officially on the ballot yet.

This is Draper third attempt to split California into multiple states: His earlier efforts to split the state into six new ones failed in 2014 and 2016. …

Click here to read the full article from the Silicon Valley Business Journal

Plan to divide California into 3 new states clears first hurdle

A plan to split California into three separate states has cleared its first hurdle. Supporters are set to begin collecting signatures to qualify for next year’s ballot.

The plan is being funded by Bay Area tech billionaire Tim Draper, who previously funded a similar proposal back in 2014 to divide the state up into sections.

That plan failed.

Draper argues that citizens would be better served by three smaller state governments, rather than one large one.

The three-way split goes like this: Northern California would include the Bay Area all the way to the Oregon border, Southern California would begin in Fresno and cover most of the southern state.

A new California would begin in Los Angeles county and cover most of the coastal areas.

Opponents say the plan would create chaos. …

Click here to read the full article

Low Turnout In 2014, High Initiative Count In 2016

Elections have consequences. Ironically, California’s abysmal election turnout this November has teed up a veritable flood of ballot initiatives for 2016. Because the signature threshold for qualifying initiatives is pegged to the number of Californians who cast votes in the previous election, activists with a losing track record are angling for a breakout opportunity just around the political bend.

Only a third of those eligible to cast ballots did so on Nov. 4. “Of those who registered to vote, little better than four in every 10 – about 42 percent – actually voted, either in person or by mail,” according to the California Secretary of State. Even more important, the total votes cast for governor, which determines the numerical hurdle signature-gatherers must clear to get their initiative on the ballot, hit a quarter-century low. The San Francisco Chronicle reported:

“In California, the number of signatures required to qualify a measure for the ballot is a percentage of the total votes cast for governor. Since the 42 percent turnout on Nov. 4 meant only about 7.3 million people bothered to take a side in Gov. Jerry Brown’s landslide win over Republican Neel Kashkari, the bar for qualifying ballot measures in 2016 will be at the lowest level in at least 25 years.

“The change isn’t a tiny one. Since the last governor’s election in 2010, it has taken 504,760 valid signatures to put a standard initiative on the ballot and 807,615 signatures for a constitutional amendment. Once the November election is certified Friday, those numbers will drop to about 366,000 and 586,000, respectively.”

A host of initiative hopefuls has already begun to plan for a big 2016, including public employee unions and taxpayers rights’ groups. But attention will focus most strongly around two high-profile efforts that have failed in the past, but enjoy the support of powerful backers: marijuana legalization and the breakup of California into six smaller states.

Hemp hopes

As Reason magazine observed, advocates of marijuana legalization and regulation have picked up steam in recent years, thanks to voter support. Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia all have given pot the green light; emboldened, activists have turned for 2016 to Maine and Massachusetts in the East and Montana, Arizona and California — the biggest prize — in the West.

Along with proposals to fly the California flag at the same height as the U.S. flag, and to require the use of condoms in pornographic video performances, the marijuana legalization initiative has already been publicly proposed, but not yet made official with the Attorney General’s office.

Pot advocates hope to use 2016’s low bar to land on the ballot in a well-publicized but cost-effective way. In 2010, voters rejected a legalization initiative; this year, advocates see themselves catching a nationwide wave in favor of looser drug laws — and capitalizing on recent changes to California criminal law that treat inmates convicted on drug charges more leniently.

Six Californias 2.0

Venture capitalist Tim Draper, meanwhile, hasn’t given up his own hopes for an up or down vote on his Six Californias proposal. That idea, ridiculed in many corners of the press but viewed favorably by those seeking to shake up dysfunctional state governance, didn’t make it onto the ballot last time around. It would break up the state into six new states.

“Draper put about $5 million of his own money into gathering some 1.13 million signatures for ‘Six Californians,’ only to have the California Secretary of State’s office rule that just 752,000 were valid,” the Chronicle reported. “That was not enough to make the 807,000 required this year to make the cut.” In an interview with the Chronicle, Draper chose his words carefully:

“’We’re going for 2016, and we have 750,000 signatures, but they say we have to start all over again,’ he said Tuesday. ‘It’s a kind of Catch 22.’

“Asked if he will re-launch the signature-gathering process in light of the new 2016 lower bar, Draper said, ‘We want Six Californias to happen. We’ll see.’

“’This is a mission critical for the state,’ he said. ‘I live here and so does most of my family,’ and more than ever, he said, ‘we’re saying wait a second: we can make this change.’”

That’s an attitude typical of those who struggle to land initiatives on the statewide ballot. For them all, 2016 offers a once-in-a-generation chance to do so.

This article was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

“Six Californias” would be a nightmare

DIVIDING CALIFORNIA – California has launched more than a few inventions considered utopian that were eventually adopted throughout the nation.

Some of the more famous are Sour Dough Bread, Barbie Dolls, Pet Rocks, Hula Hoops, wetsuits, theme parks, the computer mouse, and — yes — even the Martini!

But no state has ever put forth a plan to completely replace itself — until now.

Tim Draper, a multimillionaire venture capitalist, would like to do just that.

If the constitutional amendment he is proposing succeeds, it would divide the Golden State into 6 separate duchies Six CAseach with its own sovereign government.

There is little doubt that Californians have strong differences about how exactly they want to be identified and what traits best epitomize their particular regional lifestyles. That diversity is part of our beauty.

There is little similarity between a Stockton cattle rancher, a business executive from Los Angeles, a hi-tech entrepreneur from Silicon Valley and a fisherman from Eureka.

Under Draper’s plan none would have to go through Sacramento any longer to address their concerns. Instead they would each have independent lawmaking bodies that would compete with their neighboring states for revenues and services.

Of course many things such as water and electric power, mass transit, highway systems, reservoirs and bridges, colleges and universities, hospitals, prisons and countless other attributes of statehood already exist and the benefits are intended to be shared.

While some residents may consider themselves disadvantaged because they come from regions that are less populous and rightfully complain they sometimes get short shrift, as separate states their political clout would only be further fractured and diminished.

Through reapportionment, which received bipartisan support, the majority of governmental entities meet the requirements of geographical contiguity and commonality of interests and this is reflected in the makeup of the legislature. Rural and urban lawmakers alike must vie for one another’s support.

In a big vs. small state arrangement compromises would be harder to achieve and intractable conflicts would be inevitable.

For example, one could envision the new state of Silicon Valley voting for reasons of regional self-interest to refuse collection of taxes assessed on out-of-state businesses under Proposition 39 which is adding billions of dollars to California’s treasury for education and energy efficiency.

Pitting less populated, agriculture-based Fresno and Stockton, bulwarks of the “Central California” under the Draper scheme, against mighty “Silicon Valley” with commercial giants, San Francisco and San Jose, at its epicenters would be comparable to Nevada dictating policy to California.

Central California with all its farms would have even less reason to negotiate with chronically water-starved Los Angeles, the southern colossus that would dominate the new state of “West California.”

As the drought-induced water wars escalate, it is not surprising that some polls show Central Valley inhabitants favoring the Draper plan. It so happens that the majority of valley residents tend to vote Republican as do many others along a large swath of territory running through the state’s interior. 

Many feel disempowered since the state, for now, is in the firm control of the Democrats.

However, it was not that long ago when Republican governors ruled and the newly installed “open primary” system gives outsiders a fighting chance to get in.

Carving up the state would only accentuate these partisan divisions with little incentives for the strongest regions to reach agreements or strive for parity.

This article originally appeared on citywatchla.com