Backers of a plan to cut California into six states say they now have enough signatures from supporters to get their proposal on a general-election ballot in the state. The plan would create new states with names like Jefferson, Silicon Valley, and South California.
The initiative's main backer is tech industry investor Timothy Draper, who planned to hold a news conference Tuesday to officially announce that his group has enough petition signatures to move the plan forward. The constitutional amendment would need more than 807,000 valid signatures to qualify, SFGate reports.
If the Six Californias petition is verified, the ballot proposal wouldn't come up for a vote until 2016; to be enacted, the plan would require the approval not only of California's Legislature, but also of the U.S. Congress. (This is not the first time someone has suggested splitting California up; check out maps of previous efforts.)
Draper has said he wants to create areas that are governable — something he says California is not, as it is currently constituted.
"We pay the most for education and we're 46th," Draper told Marketplace earlier this year. "We pay among the most for prisons and we are among the highest recidivism rate. So we have a failed state."
A commentary on the nonprofit KCET's site says the six-state plan will never become reality. From writer Chris Clarke:
"Even if the California Legislature were to sympathize with the initiative, the task of dismantling the state's regulatory infrastructure would be mind-boggling. Take for instance an issue on everyone's mind right now, that of water. Splitting the state would put the water supply for the state's largest urban area in question, as well as for much of the rest of the state."
Long before Draper unveiled his plan, Clarke notes, many similar movements had already failed in California.