Referendum to split Calif into three states will appear on the November ballot

A colossal waste of time, money, and the public's attention span is underway in the golden state.

Casey Tolan of the Mercury-News reports:

For the first time since before the Civil War, voters across California will decide in November on a proposal to split up the Golden State – potentially remaking it into three new states.

An initiative dividing California, pushed by Silicon Valley venture capital investor Tim Draper, received enough signatures to qualify it for the November ballot, the Secretary of State's office confirmed Tuesday afternoon.

Supporters of the radical plan submitted more than 600,000 signatures, and a random sample projected that enough are valid that the measure can go before voters, setting up a campaign that is sure to attract a carnivalesque atmosphere and only-in-California chuckles from across the country.

Here is how the measure proposes to divide the land:

Credit: Bay Area News Group.

Even if this misbegotten measure gains a majority (which is unlikely), Congress would never approve it, so nothing would happen, other than a diversionary sideshow during a critical election.  The plan would create two sure-thing blue states and one swing state, benefiting the Democrats and forcing the flag into accommodating 52 stars.

Besides, the three states each would be dominated by major metropolitan areas, ignoring the real division in California, which is between the rural areas of the state (inland areas plus north of the Bay area to Oregon) and the coastal cities.

Draper has tried this sort of nonsense before but was unable to buy enough signatures (gathering that many signatures is a matter of hiring people to stand outside supermarkets or shopping malls and asking enough people):

Draper, who did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday, previously pushed an effort to break California into six states, but didn't receive enough signatures to put that plan onto the 2016 ballot.  He and other supporters argue that the Golden State has become ungovernable and smaller states would be more efficient.

"California government has rotted," Draper said in an interview last month.  "We need to empower our population to improve their government."

Unless Draper invests many millions in a pervasive advertising campaign, the measure is unlikely to succeed:

poll conducted in April found that only 17 percent of registered California voters favored the proposal, while 72 percent opposed it.

Draper, a third-generation investment banker, hit it big in Silicon Valley and is reckoned a billionaire.  However, he was a major and persistent backer of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos, which ended up as probably the biggest fraud in the history of Silicon Valley investment banking.

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