“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



  1. NorCal and SoCal….the division already exists, now draw the line and split it!

  2. Nightmare yes !! However, the only people that gets represented in California, is the Bay Area, and LA Basin…………….

  3. Just think how much more power the west coast would have if we had 12 senators instead of 2. No more East coast ruling the West.

  4. askeptic says

    There needs to be an additional clause in the referendum, disqualifying from an office of public trust in any Mini-CA, any and all current office holders.

  5. Being a “transplant” Californian, I think the division makes sense. Not only are the states conservative voters not represented in the state legislature but also in DC.

  6. JLSeagull says

    “… with chronically water-starved Los Angeles, the southern colossus that would dominate the new state of “West California.”
    Better that they dominate the new state of West California than the whole state as they do now. The author obviously lives in either the Bay Area or The LA Basin and has never been screwed over by the urban centers as the rural voters have. Long Live the State of Jefferson!!!

  7. Al Chirico says

    Somehow, North Dakota and South Dakota, North Carolina and South Carolina seemed to make a go of it. Maybe not 6, but 3 would probably work much better; North, Central and South California, for example. I’m sick and tired of Sacramento making decisions for us.

  8. Two would be a dream come true. Six is stupid. How the hell does that make the ballot? The rich democrats throwing money at it? This one state is a lost cause. CA has Brown Rot.
    Split in two, stop the raping of our water, seal our borders from Southern CA, Send the Capitol building to LA, and refuse to let any democrats that hold office enter Northern California.

    Northern California, The 51st State. Has a nice ring to it.

  9. It would be a nightmare under the CURRENT regime. Competition is good for the people bad for government. I think it makes perfect sense. And I hope it gets on the ballot, I think it would pass. But then the Communist regime in office right now would just pay off a drunken federal judge to deem it UNCONSTITUTIONAL. ANOTHER reason it should happen!!!!!!

  10. MH Snider says

    We tried for a year to get you to write about Downsize California but you would not give us the time of day. Why? Because we have a way to split the state into two states that would really work. Anyone that is interested can go to the Downsize California page on facebook

  11. ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

    • It’s broke all right, in more ways than 1. If you haven’t discovered that, you maybe should quit drinking.

  12. Split it up, get us away from the liberal crazies!

  13. This would be no worse than the existing state lines. Representation would probably be much better than existing representation. I would vote for it.

  14. I will vote to separate the state. Too much power in L.A. and S.F. Most of the 6 states would be in favor of drilling for oil, and selling water to LA and SF at a profitable price. And the US Senate would have 10 new conservative Senators.

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