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Are six Californias better than one?

Are six Californias better than one?

Unintended consequences?

The idea of splitting California into pieces is not new. The procedural hurdles are monumental, and perhaps insurmountable, but the idea doesn’t go away.

CAlifornia is too damn big to govern, and has differing regional qualities that would make sense to separate out rather than bury under one state government.

From a national political point of view, a break up would be a mixed bag. Yes, it might (might, not would) break the now near-permanent condition of all those electoral votes going Democrats without a fight.

But as separate states, wouldn’t they be entitled to two Senator each? The more Californias there are, the more Democratic Senators we are likely to have, although depending on how the split-up takes place, perhaps it would be more neutral.

While the likelihood remains low, there is a possibility that Californians will get to vote on a Proposition to break the state into six pieces, via SFgate:

Venture capitalist Tim Draper says he is getting “close” to collecting the necessary 800,000 signatures needed to get his “Six Californias” measure before state voters in 2014 — but he acknowledges his own internal polling shows Silicon Valley is most opposed to the idea of splitting the state into six parts.

“You’d think that Silicon Valley would benefit” greatest from the plan, said Draper, whose plan calls for the foundation of a state of Silicon Valley, which economists suggest would likely be the richest state in the nation. But “Silicon Valley is the least likely to vote for this,” Draper acknowledged Tuesday. “It’s bizarre.” ….

Under Draper’s Six Californias proposal:

– San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose would be part of the state of Silicon Valley, which would extend to Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.

– San Diego and Orange County would be in South California.

– Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Santa Barbara would be part of West California.

– The Central Valley – Fresno and the San Joaquin Valley – would be Central California.

– North California would include Marin and Sonoma counties and the greater Sacramento area.

– The rural counties in far Northern California would make up the state of Jefferson.

Asked to respond to Democrats’ criticism that he’s really just creating a way for Republicans to seize four new states — and eight new senators — who might be created in the new territories, Draper said that wasn’t his idea.
He said he used to be a Democrat, then a Republican, and now is an independent voter. “I don’t actually like either of these two parties,” he said. “They don’t really represent me.”

But “I’m going to do everything I can to get this on the ballot,” if not in 2014 then in 2016, he said. “And at that point, it’s up to California.”


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DINORightMarie | March 26, 2014 at 11:38 am

Why would the people’s vote be considered relevant anymore? Precedent has established that the vote of the people is irrelevant. So, why wouldn’t the Supreme Court (or lower Federal Court) just deem this separation vote as void – or “unconstitutional” as they like to say, as they have done for the CA state-wide votes on marriage being between 1 man and 1 woman? What would stop them?

So, my opinion: given the above, unless Democrats and leftists who basically own the state and federal judicial branch deem it helpful to their goals, it will not be allowed to happen.

Tyranny by oligarchy is part of the plan to move “forward” toward the cause of “fundamental transformation.”

    TrooperJohnSmith in reply to DINORightMarie. | March 26, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Let any county in Texas that is bigger than any two New England states become a separate state.

    On a serious note, make any admission of these break-up states to the United States contingent on a repeal of the 17th Amendment. I mean, as long as we’re doing the whole “this is MY state” thing, let’s go back to the Founders’ vision of what that entails. Make the Senate once again, “the States’ House”.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to DINORightMarie. | March 26, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    There are vast swatches of CA that would go ‘pub if the state was broken into 6 or even 3 states. The ‘rats have had a stranglehold on CA for the 25 years since the ‘pubs there basically surrendered it to them, and they will never allow this to occur. Stick a fork in CA.

    I lived there my entire life until two years ago. That once magnificent paradise has been turned into a toilet. The middle class is leaving there in droves.

    If this becomes a referendum, it won’t pass because there is a larger population in SoCal than there is in NorCal and EaCal. SoCal wants the water from Norcal and SoCal will never vote for anything that they will end up paying for that they now get for free.

    AConsidiot in reply to DINORightMarie. | March 26, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Wow, you mean states controlled by republicans haven’t behaved the same way? We could debate the legitimacy of Voter ID and partisan redistricting, but is there any question that the states pushing these things are republican?

    I am not saying it is right, but it is time honored. If you really want to have a fairer system, why not elect the president by popular vote?

While we’re at it, can VA give Fairfax County to DC?

    Another Voice in reply to Czar Kasim. | March 26, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Czar, an oops -1, my apologies. Let me wash it here with a +1 and another +1 for an astute post.

    Responding with a: While we’re on topic, how about taking NY State and making the separation to two states with everything north of Orange County as New Amsterdam keeping Albany as the state Capital, and let the original New Amsterdam “maintain the current de facto” capital in NY City. (How convenient would that be for the last five governors). We could actually save money not having to litigate the majority of the theft and graft perpetrated by the downstate elected legislatures where they then ship their Idea of good government up the Hudson to Albany and leech out into the rest of the state. We could look forward to living in a state which actually maintains a capital that has residents represented at the table.

    NC Mountain Girl in reply to Czar Kasim. | March 26, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Wasn’t Arlington county in the original District of Columbia? I twas returned to Virginia in the 1840s. Part of the reason was to counter the abolition movement growing in western parts of the state and part was to pave the way to abolish the slave trade in the District of Columbia as the areas west of the Potomac contained the most slaves. Maybe the rest of Virginia can give it back.

    Also, I seem to recall the treaty that admitted Texas to the Union allowed Texans to divide their state into five separate states at some future date if so desired. Is that language still operable?

    AConsidiot in reply to Czar Kasim. | March 26, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    Sure. Just as soon as D.C. gets 2 Senators and a voting Representative. I do see your point, though. Why should gerrymandering stop at the state line? In the last election 1.6 million more people voted for Democratic Congressional candidates.

    You guys don’t really want democracy? Wouldn’t there be too many ‘low information’ voters? Of course, they are balanced by conservative ideologues who can’t ever let the facts get in the way of a good theory.

It’s never going to happen. Even if by some miracle it makes it to the ballot and voters pass it, they’ll find some BS procedural way to strike it down.

The Democrats need the tax base of the whole state (especially Silicon Valley) to sustain their ridiculous pet projects and handouts. West California would be totally bankrupt inside a year if this went through.

Wouldn’t that guarantee Democrats a permanent majority in the Senate?

The last thing our Republic needs is for CA to become the six hell spawns of Hydra.

    Archer in reply to Aucturian. | March 26, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Not necessarily. The two northern-most new “States” – Jefferson and Northern California – are mostly rural, Republican-dominated areas. Central California, IIRC, is a toss-up leaning slightly right, and Southern California is a toss-up leaning slightly left. I’d call it mostly a wash, give or take a Senator or two, as far as the Senate goes.

    The real kicker is electoral votes. Currently, the left-leaning coastal areas have the overpopulation to hand all of California’s 55 electoral votes to the Democrats, every election, every time. Under this plan, I’d predict that Jefferson would get two, Northern Cali five, Central Cali six, Silicon Valley 10, Southern Cali 15, and West Cali 17 – give-or-take a couple. The real big deal isn’t that seven extra electoral votes go red; the big deal is that there are two more swing states totaling 21 votes. Presidential elections won’t come down to Pennsylvania and Ohio every single time. The Democrats will actually have to *gasp* work to get the purple areas of California.

      FlareCorran in reply to Archer. | March 26, 2014 at 1:09 pm

      I think you’ve forgotten that there would also be 10 new electoral votes (two for each Senator.) That’s a huge number of potentially up for grabs though.

        FlareCorran in reply to FlareCorran. | March 26, 2014 at 1:10 pm

        One per Senator, two per state. Duh.

        Archer in reply to FlareCorran. | March 26, 2014 at 2:15 pm

        I did forget that. Thanks for the reminder.

        Still, my point stands – just adjust the numbers accordingly: 11 more near-guaranteed GOP electoral votes, 29 still probable Democrat votes, with 25 newly-designated swing votes.

        And the elections don’t always hinge on Ohio, Pennsylvania, and (as I’ve just been reminded) Florida.

        (As an aside, I wonder if the people of OH, PA, and FL ever get as frustrated at constantly being the deciding factor as I do at constantly being rendered essentially irrelevant.)

Looking at this map, it just adds more liberals to the equation.

Just because California splits that doesn’t mean the Federal Government has to automatically accept five new states. Go ask Puerto Rico about statehood.

And if so what is to stop texas and all the flyover states from subdividing? Before long we will have 200 senators with the vast majority being conservative.

    Czar Kasim in reply to DrewCWSJ. | March 26, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    If Virginia could do it, why not California?

    Musson in reply to DrewCWSJ. | March 26, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Texas entered the Union with the specific provision that it could later split into 5 states. My understanding is that no other states had the split provision.

    So, any splitting would doubtless require ratification by the other states.

      Walker Evans in reply to Musson. | March 30, 2014 at 1:31 am

      Actually, it didn’t enter with that proviso intact. And then, when it was re-admitted after the Civil War it became a moot point anyway. Any divisions will have to be done in accordance with Article IV, Section 3.

    JOHN B in reply to DrewCWSJ. | March 26, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    If there was a split the Democratic feds didn’t like, they would send troops and claim they were saving the country from “extremists.” And that the borders of the state were “inviolate” – a word they like to use.

    Of course, if certain groups want to break up Yugoslavia, the peace-loving Dems drop bombs on civilians to help them divide the country. Claiming it was to give people freedom and diversity.

Subotai Bahadur | March 26, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Neither the vote of the people, nor the rule of law apply in California, as DINORightMarie noted. I would accept the concept of walling the state off from the rest of the country as an alternative.

    Thank you, old friend, for the kind thoughts. Sometimes I think a wall would be nice. Could you keep Justin and Piers on the east side please? Seriously, this state is being bankrupt by the Liar Party, and the Racist Party is a joke. Unless the “big one” sucks us into the sea. the world’s 8th largest economy – which pays a higher proportion of support per capita to the US than any other state – is going into the tank and letting the rest of U guys take up the slack. Splitting us up would be good for your pocketbooks sake, but go ahead and build that wall. We will keep trying to make lemonade out of whatever is left for us to pick.

David R. Graham | March 26, 2014 at 12:45 pm

While our moral and intellectual betters plot global oligarchic centralization — though not all oligarchs want each other in the ruling class — the world they aim to dominate moves towards miniaturization, decentralization and diversification. Even when propelled, as in this case, by oligarchs. Life force is florid, not staid. It drives towards unity of life but not of forms of life. Of forms it drives towards miniaturization, decentralization and diversity.

What would the US flag look like with 56 stars?

    Archer in reply to JohnC. | March 26, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    56 could be an even 7×8 field, but dividing CA into 6 states would only make 55. 11×5 is too long and narrow, so it’s more likely they’d do rows (or columns) of six, then five, and repeat that 5 times.

    Basically, it’d be what we have now (five rows of six, interspersed with four rows of five), except with another row of five above or below the current field (I vote below).

I agree with Archer, we’d be looking at a probable wash. Orange county used to be called Reagan Country, so maybe South California could lean right. Central California is fed up with the liberals taking their water to keep an invasive fish species alive and Jefferson, where I live, leans way right. A Dem can’t get elected in my district, though the further west you go it gets a little more liberal.

West and Silicon will go left, Central and Jefferson will go right and South and North will be toss ups.

Of course, all of this is an exercise in futility, even if it passes, it’ll get struck down by the courts. I’ve always thought it funny that a Democrat (someone who supposedly believes the will of the people is the final say in such matters) always looks to courts or elected representatives to fix the will of the people when the vote doesn’t go their way.

California cleaving: I think the San Andreas Fault might have the deciding vote.

This will simply be gerrymandering on a national scale. If it continues, those boundary lines will look nothing like they do now. All six will be solidly Democrat.

There’s a non-war example of a state split: Maine used to be part of Mass and became a state as part of the Mo compromise.

I have a potential compromise: California is allowed to split into 5 states. So long as Texas does the same and the city of Chicago is expelled from the union completely.

    NC Mountain Girl in reply to Jay Jones. | March 26, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    There was almost a fourteenth state of Franklin in what is now eastern Tennessee. When North Carolina ceded the land to the Federal government, residents there declared their own nation and petitioned for admission to the union as Franklin. The vote for admission fell short of the 2/3 approval needed. I recall reading that during the Civil War there was an idea to recreate Franklin and admit it along with West Virginia that came to naught. I know at time to this day people in eastern Tennessee sometimes wishes it could get a divorce from those in western Tennessee.

    randian in reply to Jay Jones. | March 26, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    I’d eject New York City and San Francisco while we’re at it.

    California isn’t the only state where voters don’t matter. Washington State’s Supreme Court nearly always strikes down voter initiatives intended to restrain the legislature.

US Constitution:

“New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.”

Question: In states that have direct legislation by ballot initiative and referendum, would an initiative or referendum splitting the state constitute “Consent of the Legislature”? Or would the constitutional provision be strictly interpreted? Have the courts (especially the US Supreme Court) ever addressed the question? Would the Republican Form of Government Clause make any difference?

    Archer in reply to ManekiNeko. | March 26, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    I’m no Constitutional scholar, so take this for what it’s worth.

    In my opinion, in states that regularly do business (i.e. make law) by ballot initiative or referendum, that practice had to originate somewhere, likely from the legislature passing a law or approving a state constitutional amendment conceding some law-making authority to another entity (in this case, the popular vote). If the legislature willingly granted that authority to the People of the state, then the People have the tacit consent of the legislature.

    It would still have to get the consent of the U.S. Congress, and no, I don’t believe SCOTUS has ever addressed this one. (Somebody correct me if they have.) It’s very possible that if challenge, SCOTUS might decide that even referendum-approved splits must be approved by the state legislature in addition to Congress.

    The “Republican Form of Government” clause simply means that all states in the Union must have a functioning republican government; a bi-cameral legislature (i.e. House/Assembly and Senate), an executive (i.e. Governor), and a system of courts. Monarchies-in-miniature and pure democracies need not apply for Statehood.

      Estragon in reply to Archer. | March 26, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      Bicameral legislature is not required for “republican” government. Nebraska, for instance, has a single legislative house.

P.S. The question that I was referring to was the equivalence (or non-equivalence) of actions of the people by direct legislation and actions of a state legislature for US Constitutional purposes (where the action taken is not necessarily splitting a state).

6 Californias would give these morons 12 US Senators instead of 2.

Take a gander at the two the California morons gave us.


    You do realize that probably more votes were cast against those two than actually elected your two. don’t you? We are tired of idiots in the US senate. Look at the diversity of thought and politic in our House members.

I would suggest splitting California into six states would be a bad idea for one main reason. The liberals always, always, find a way to tip the balance their way. I recall reading about the great work of the ‘neutral’ redistricting commission/board. Only to find out after the fact that the liberals had packed the meetings and submissions with their own supporters.

Where were the conservative groups?

I R A Darth Aggie | March 26, 2014 at 3:21 pm

So, how would they divvy up the debt, as well as the underfunded pension liabilities? and all the other liabilities for that matter.

This has a very long way to go before it gets before Congress for approval.

Henry Hawkins | March 26, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Instead, I think we should combine small neighboring states into one bigger state. Combine Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland into the big state of Blovia (lower number of lib senators from ten to two, lib governors from five to one).

Congress would never approve it, of course, but it’s more fun to talk about than the Duke porn star.

As if Californians could agree on how to apportion the state’s debt and unfunded future obligations among six new entities. That would be a show worth watching.

Does that mean that they would end up with 12 Senators?

This measure, with the states divided along the lines proposed, would be good for conservatives and the GOP.

I’ve done a quick analysis here:

In summary, if there had been six states in 2012, Romney would have gained 12 electoral votes against Obama, with “Southern California” narrowly going for Obama. “Central California” and “Jefferson” went for Romney. However, the 2010 A.G. candidate in California won the counties that comprise “South California” easily. “South California would also have a Republican registration plurality and likely a Republican legislature.

The state of “Northern California” could even be converted to a relatively conservative area if there is enough of an influx — it would contain Napa county and Sonoma county, but be balanced by Placer county and the other mountain/valley counties inland. With a favorable and mild population influx, “North California” could become a purple state. Even L.A. dominated “West California” will no longer have San Fransisco to drag it ever leftward as fast as it is.

The politics of the states would not remain static, though. Sacramento is dominated by Bay Area politicians, who are electorally supported by L.A. county. By confining the insanity to the state of “Silicon Valley,” the rest of the state would become much more conservative (even L.A., which is saying something). You’d have new states that were friendly to the sane and the conservative.

    Thanks for that analysis. When I first saw the proposal, my reaction was that there was no way this would go anywhere.

    Other states are not going to want to see a new 10 votes in the Senate representing West Coast interests.

    Democrats are not going to want to see their lock on California’s electoral votes broken up into smaller pieces, some of which will go to the GOP.

    Neither Sacramento nor Washington would okay this on political grounds.

Why not just give California back to Mexico? It would repatriate 85% of all illegal Mexicans back to Mexico in one fell swoop?

    JOHN B in reply to mackykam. | March 26, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Just Southern California.

    Not fair to the Northerners.

    The thinking here is that if we go ahead and approve it but the rest of the US shoots us down, our next move would be to secede from the union, invade Mexico and rename it’s mainland “Southern California”, thus solving 95% of our problems.

Never happen. Under the Constitution, it would need federal approval and Senate D’s would kill if they had to to stop it.

Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1: “New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.”

That last bit is key: “…without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.”

The real problem is Electoral College: currently, D’s have 55 votes for President every four years without having to lift a finger. Split the state into six states and you’d have 65 Electoral College votes (given the 10 new US Senators), but two of those new states would be R and two more would be swing states. The D’s would find getting another Democrat President elected FAR more difficult.

Then there’s the new Senators. D’s would oppose because they’d rather have 2 solid D Senators than 4 D, 4 R and 4 contested seats. Also, every other state in the country would realize that the added Senators would result in a loss of their own influence (better 2 of 100 than 2 of 110). So, again, tough to get Senate approval.

The Congressional seats should be pretty much a wash, at first, but then there’d come a Census and any new states controlled by R’s would get to gerrymander all the districts in their state in R favor, districts that’ve been gerrymandered for decades to favor D’s.

Unfortunately, also, while there is provision to split states into more than one state, create a new state from parts of more than one other existing state, and even merging multiple states to create one big state, there’s no provision for an existing state to give part of its territory to another state. There’s all kinds of possibilities there: IN could give Gary, IN to IL as part of the Chicago disaster. Philadelphia and Camden, NJ could be given to DE. There’s any number of possibilities here, but none are possible without a Constitutional amendment.

WV was formed from part of VA. KY was also formed from part of VA. Maine was created from part of MA. VT separated from NY. DE “separated” from PA, but did so prior to the Revolution and Constitution – they still celebrate “Separation Day” annually as a state holiday (considering what a craphole Philly is, who can blame them?). The procedure in each case varied, and didn’t always follow the Constitution’s provisions (especially WV and VT).

Juba Doobai! | March 27, 2014 at 1:16 am

Do we really want 10 more pigs feeding at the public trough? Let’s just give CA back to Mexico since they’ve already taken it.

The borders make no sense at all. What’s the point of separating “Jefferson” from “Northern California”? Separating Orange County from Los Angeles is also strange. OC is much closer to LA (or “West California” than it is to San Diego). Plus, “West California” is a stupid name for a state where most of it is east of “Silicon Valley”.

    Cranky? Borders follow established county lines. Make a lot of sense. “Jefferson” area has been a well-organized separation movement for decades. OC is polar opposite politically of LA, and the two are like water and oil. OC is more politically attune to SD and the other included counties. “West California” would be the westernmost of the other three and it’s position vis-a-vis a state named Silicon Valley is irrelevant.

      gusmahler in reply to 49erDweet. | March 28, 2014 at 11:35 am

      ““West California” would be the westernmost of the other three and it’s position vis-a-vis a state named Silicon Valley is irrelevant.”

      No, it’d be like South Dakota actually being north of North Dakota. Because “West California” is east of “Northern California” Why not just name it Los Angeles?

        “Why not name it Los Angeles?” Because it’s more than that, and folks from the other areas are influential. 🙂
        These are working names. I think there are provisions in the state bill for voters within the boundaries – and only them – to determine the actual name. That’s why I’m not hung up on the stupidity.
        There’s also a one-time chance for each county bordering another proposed “state” to join that state instead of the one in which it is included (in the bill). I wouldn’t be surprised to see San Luis Obispo county opt for Central rather than West. I doubt they would go Silicon. The rest are probably pretty well placed, IMO. I, personally detest it that I would be in Silicon, but I can live with that and see the greater good. It would give my kids and their kids a greater chance for economic stability.