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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Proposed bill may divide California into six states

Tim Draper, a venture capitalist from Silicon Valley, is collecting approximately 808,000 signatures for a bill that would divide the State of California into six separate states.

Draper said that this measure is necessary for the state to move forward as the “state government has become rusted, and operates as a monopoly.”

According to Draper, the State of California is ranked 50th out of 50 as the worst managed state in the Union.

The Forward Observer, a non-partisan consulting firm that conducted an analysis of the Six California’s ballot measure, reported that the measure could cause two out of three UC students to pay out-of-state tuition. Notably, the analysis states that 78 percent of UC Davis students would be required to pay out-of-state tuition under this new bill.

However, only the physical boundaries of these six new states have been drawn up — if the bill were to pass, 24 people would be appointed to consult with industry leaders on the best way to proceed, according to Alexandra Klun, the campaign manager of Six Californias.

While those involved with getting the bill on the ballot, notably Draper and Klun, believe that it’s important to bring up these topics, others feel as though lobbying for this bill highlights issues as worse than they are, and harms the image of the State of California.

Specifically, the topics under discussion as California’s main “issues” include the prison system and the water crisis, among other things, according to Democratic Political Consultant Steve Maviglio.

The media attention that the proposal has drawn is damaging to California’s image as a national leader, according to Joe Rodota, CEO of The Forward Observer.

“While most political observers feel that this bill is unlikely to pass, the proposal is a signal to the state and to the country that California cannot be governed,” Rodota said. “California hasn’t failed. If people feel that something needs to change, it should be locally or at the state level. It’s a misguided and bad idea . . . the California experiment hasn’t failed.”

Klun believes that these conversations are one of the most important things about the bill.

“We haven’t had a political conversation like this for awhile,” Klun said. “A more local and centralized government will bring people to the areas that they’re making decisions about.”

Maviglio believes that there is a less than zero chance that the bill will become reality.

“This is somebody’s pie in the sky idea that might be on the ballot just because he’s able to write a big check,” Maviglio said. “That’s not the way that public policy should be made.”

While dividing the State of California into six smaller states may be a huge task, Klun pointed out that similar divisions have been made in the past in the United States.

“It’s definitely a big change, nothing like this has been done in a couple of hundred years, since the 1800s,” Klun said.

Economically, Klun said that any up-front costs that the restructuring would encounter would be offset in the long term.

“It’s an investment. Put in capital in the beginning to make a long term impact,” Klun said. “We’re talking millions now versus billions saved and a better structure for the future.”

Rodota argues that money should be spent on expanding higher education in California, not dividing our current system.

“Splitting up California would open up a Pandora’s box,” Rodota said. “It would be extremely costly, and there would be squander trying to sort and split up the assets and liabilities of the State of California.”

Draper said that he hopes that the bill will bring more efficient, streamlined state governments, choice for Californians and better representation for the people of California.

In opposition, Rodota said that he only sees one good thing coming out of the proposal of the bill.

“Bipartisan, diverse group of Californians who speak up about a misguided proposal and reaffirm upon their commitment to building upon California’s reputation as a worldwide leader,” Rodota said.

The proposed bill needs to collect eight percent of the number of votes that were cast for governor during the last election, approximately 808,000, to be verified by the county election officials.

TAYLOR CUNNINGHAM can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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