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Plan to split California into 3 may be on November’s ballot

Plan to split California into 3 may be on November’s ballot

Even more California to kick around!

Last October, I reported that tech billionaire Tim Draper had organized a petition drive to get a vote to split California into 3 states (Northern California, Southern California, and California) on the ballot.

Draper’s team has managed to get enough signatures to qualify for a vote.

Venture capitalist Tim Draper, who authored an initiative to break up the Golden State, says it has received enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot. Draper says the initiative, which he calls the “CAL 3” has more than 600,000 signatures and will be submitted to election officials next week.

The initiative needed signatures from 365,880 registered voters – 5 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2014 election – to qualify for the ballot.

“This is an unprecedented show of support on behalf of every corner of California to create three state governments that emphasize representation, responsiveness, reliability and regional identity,” Draper said.

The proposed CAL3 plan partitions California into northern and southern regions, with a strip along the coast that would encompass the Los Angeles basin.

The regions were selected based on their “leading industries. For example, Northern California has wine production and and forestry, Southern California focuses on financial services and trade, and “California” includes tourism and motion pictures.

The next hurdle Draper’s team has got to jump is the signature validation process.

The supporters of CAL 3 will submit the signatures to election officials next week, and if the California secretary of state verifies the signatures, and if it passes review from the attorney general, the measure could appear on the November ballot.

Typically, thousands of petition signatures are found to be invalid, something Draper knows all too well. In 2014 he mounted a similar effort to split California into six states and turned in 1.3 million signatures, only to see nearly half of them disqualified. He ended up about 100,000 short of the valid signatures he needed.

Interestingly, California has been the subject of more than 220 proposals to divide it into multiple states since its 1850 admission. More recent proposals include 1941’s “State of Jefferson”, 1965’s North/South split, 1992’s 3-state solution, a 2011 plan for a separate Southern California, and Draper’s original 6-state plan in 2014.

I suspect that the CAL3 plan is also doomed. One of the key reasons I suspect that it will ultimately fail is the proposal fails to address the substantial political differences in Northern California.

The 2016 election results map by county reveals a substantial ideological split within that region.


There is a reason that the NorCal Tea Party is one of the most active conservative independent groups in the country: They are battling the twin progressive centers of San Francisco and Sacramento.

As a San Diegan, I love the idea of detaching from areas that have brought us Nancy Pelosi and Jerry Brown. However, I don’t think my Northern compatriots are going to embrace any plan in which they remain connected to either city politically.

And of course, the split must be agreed to by the U. S. Congress. I do not foresee Democrats giving up the power of 55 straight-up electoral votes.

But if it does happen, the good news is there would be even more California to kick around in the comments section!


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Henry Hawkins | April 14, 2018 at 2:28 pm

So California would essentially have six US senators instead of two. Hmmm. Not sure that’ll fly.

    Milwaukee in reply to Henry Hawkins. | April 14, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    Spot on Henry. This should not fly.
    The United States Senate is based on geographic regions. Individual states once had that, but an overzealous Supreme Court of these United States somehow found that arrangement “unconstitutional”. Now every state with a bicameral legislature has representatives based on population and senators, based on population. This gives disproportionate weight to bigger cities. I’m sure that a Democrat in Illinois, for example, need carry just 6 counties to carry the state. There may have been times when fewer counties were needed. Splitting California into 3, each with a large, liberal city, will create 6 marxist senators. Bad idea. How do we reverse the previous Supreme court decision? Can we?

      Milhouse in reply to Milwaukee. | April 15, 2018 at 9:45 pm

      There was nothing overzealous about it, such arrangements were clearly unconstitutional. As the Supreme Court explained clearly, states are not federations of counties. Counties are entirely creations of the state, which it can make, reshape, and destroy at its whim. Therefore if a state chooses to divide itself into “counties” and wants to give them equal representation it can easily do so by drawing them to have equal populations. But instead states were deliberately drawing them for the express purpose of subjecting urban citizens to the will of rural ones, and that is forbidden both by the Republican Guarantee clause (which is not justiciable) and the 14th amendment (which is).

OleDirtyBarrister | April 14, 2018 at 2:34 pm

Splitting Ca into three states would change the US Senate, and probably for the worst as far as the sane people in the US are concerned. It would likely provide two more marxists for sure, and a roll of the dice on the other two.

The suggested names are poor choices.

The big questions I see is who gets all the state employees, legacy employment obligations, debt, prisons, prisoners, and financial obligations therefore (as well as possible large scale prisoner rendition to the state in which he was tried), etc. and all the things no one really wants to have to take.

Art IV, Sec. 3. Cl. 1 presents the question to the rest of us: What affects should we be willing to accept in Congress from the division of CA?

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 map is nuts. The San Francisco area needs to be part of “California”, not “Northern California”. The Eastern part of San Luis Obispo country is agricultural and conservative, yet they’re stuck with the socialists in LA? Also, San Diego and Long Beach should be thrown in with the rest of the socialists. This ain’t gonna’ work.

    rabidfox in reply to snopercod. | April 14, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    What you are pointing out is that the over all plan is to multiply the two democrat california senators into six democrat california senators. Look at who is pushing this particular break up. No way they’d stand for a breakup of california if it watered down the leftist vote in the senate.

    Roy in Nipomo in reply to snopercod. | April 14, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Other than SLO City (due to the college?), all of SLO County is pretty conservative and would fit better with the inland state (and the same with Northern Santa Barbara County).

OleDirtyBarrister | April 14, 2018 at 2:39 pm

Starting on the ballot adds an additional step. Art IV expressly requires approval of the state legislature and Congress, and the ballot initiative is not going to dispense with the state legislative requirement.

Do people in San Diego want to be split and joined with the people in those big, brown, inland counties?

Do the people in the brown inland counties want to be joined with San Diego?

Will the people of the counties in the 3 proposed states ever allow their legislators to vote for this particular proposal (drawn up by Silicon Valley money men)?

Baby Elephant | April 14, 2018 at 2:52 pm

The current proposed split ensures that there are two liberal Californias and a moderate swing state Southern California. San Diego has been shifting more liberal over time and it is unclear if it would regain it’s conservative roots once the state is broken up.

If the California that includes Los Angeles also included San Francisco and Sacramento then the break-up might work. Drawn correctly you would get a liberal Coastal California along with a conservative Northern California and a swing state Southern California. This would allow all voices in the current California to be heard. Liberals are not interested in that. They are interested in trying to exploit conservative frustration in order to give liberals in DC more power.

One of the “compromises” making up the omnibus Missouri Compromise of 1820 was the manufacture of two new free state senators by forming a new state—Maine—from a big chunk of Massachusetts. This compensated for the two new “slave” state senators added by Congressional acceptance of the Missouri Territory as a “slave” state (an acceptance which was itself another compromise) and maintained the precarious balance between “slave” and “free” states in the Senate. Still other provisions of the Compromise were later repealed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, which led directly to the formation of the Republican Party and subsequent war.

Anyway, in principle it’s possible to generate more senators from current “sensible” states to counteract the pernicious influence of more senators from “fruits & nuts” states. But it would require splitting up some currently quiescent states.

    oldgoat36 in reply to tom_swift. | April 14, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    Maybe we can split New York, NYC making the bulk of one, and the upstate area being the other. Northern, central and western NY are not properly represented by the extreme progressives of NYC and LI, that could help balance out the California additions. Though it might be more of a swing state, it wouldn’t be rock solid Democrat.

    Maybe Pennsylvania would benefit of a move like this as well, given how large cities that are leftists swing a lot of votes in that state as well.

    Yeah, it’s a pipe dream, but the upper areas of NY would be so much better being out from under Albany and the Progressive dictates.

Baby Elephant | April 14, 2018 at 2:58 pm

I would also change the proposed names due to NC and SC abbreviations being used by other states.

The most obvious would be to leave one region as California, the coastal region would be Coastal California, and the northern region is already partial to being named Jefferson.

Three leftist states instead if one? MAYBE the southern central valley and San Diego would be purple.

So what would be the national compromise to allow this? Six senators from Texas?

    BierceAmbrose in reply to AlecRawls. | April 14, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    Actually, there’s a way to flip their Gerrymandering By Another Name. I won’t say how least they catch on.

    We should help them get this done. The best way is to screech about how much we – er – deplore the idea. Then they’ll do it because we hate it. (It mirrors the occasional DownState secession talk; they’re only happy if they’re doing it to us over our objections.)

    Ahem …

    No, no, no, no, noooooooo! Caliornia being all California-y which I just hate only because it’s so cool. Who the hell do they think they are. And they’ll take the Senate the way they drew that map.

DieJustAsHappy | April 14, 2018 at 3:31 pm

Let it the way it is. Otherwise, it would make “I wish they all could be California girls” all too confusing.

inspectorudy | April 14, 2018 at 3:50 pm

I think the NRA should plant massive explosives along the San Andres fault and then detonate it! That way the entire coast of liberals would be an island and then we could declare them a foreign country! The remaining CA would be conservative and free from Jerry Brown and the morons on the coast.

BierceAmbrose | April 14, 2018 at 4:11 pm

Because it’s too hard to flip states with fake votes (vs. congressional, or state house districts), they want to gerrymander states now.

Got it.

The problem is entirely that Cali can’t sufficiently impose their preferences on peole 1,000s of miles away. Just like NY, Washington, etc. where the overlords in their provincial administrative capitol get annoyed when they can’t impose anydamnthingtheywant on the proles in the hinterlands of their districts.

So, they need more senate seats. All else is distraction. Also really of no interest to the rest of us.

Contra this transparent scheme, there’s a map floating around on the interwebz, based on splitting the US into 50 equal-population states, created back when the Obamites were so annoyed at the preferences of people not them getting some traction.

Inconveniently, using a couple of “common sense” heuristics to draw the map, this *balanced for population* collection of hypothetical states netted a senate about 60 / 40 red/blue.

The D-party-ish guy who did the analysis published it anyway, along with what amounted to “Huh.” So, integrity. Of course the curated wave of media interest being built for his study collapsed immediately upon the wrong answer, with the “senate is broken / fix it” tantrum shortly after that. “Fix it” didn’t give the right answer, so shut up about that until there’s some “fix” in the wings that gets the right answer.

So, now, turn Cali into 3 states, with 6 votes, drawing the lines so they’ll all stay blu. Contra the N Californian secession movement that’s been brewing for years, which would peel off a state decidedly red. Or similar in Washington state. Or UpState NY, who, when the downstaters get tired enough of our backwardness to threaten to leave, point to our ongoing decades of trying to figure out how to split. Somehow, they’re not happy, when we say OK.

As for Cali, the same political machine that’s so pissing people off mainly with its stranglehold on what happens, excluding other interests is going to draw the line for splitting Cali into three states … which somehow the same coalition will control, the same way.

I’m also shocked to discover gambling is going on at Rick’s.

Shouldn’t Northern California be pink?

NorCal would control most of the spring runoff water supply and the major dams (sans hetch-hetchy SF’s water supply). Not all of it, but enough to matter bigly.

I don’t want to create more senators etc. Vote no.

Though the only plan that would work would be one that shaves all of coastal California north to south — maybe along the ridges of the coastal mountains and then west — from the interior of the state.

Nothing stops them from developing these entities within the state structure, where there would be more self-determination inside California.

Adding 4 more US Senators is another story. Would the rush be on?

    “Nothing stops them from developing these entities within the state structure, where there would be more self-determination inside California”

    That will never happen. No way the current legislature would accept that loss of control. One of the new entities might do something crazy, like shall-issue concealed carry permits.

      MajorWood in reply to randian. | April 15, 2018 at 7:01 pm

      Southern Coastal, Northern Coastal, and then the inland part, which would enact shall-issue concealed carry that would so terrify the coastal people that they would be scared to drive though the Wild-West and thus stay out of Yosemite and the interesting parts, and only those who could afford to fly would ever leave the state.

BierceAmbrose | April 14, 2018 at 5:26 pm

Pardon my redundancy but note the “analysis” for these two maps:

50 Equal population states:

38, via some different heuristics:

50-state guy mentions presidential election results being “skewed” by awarding electors as state batches of different sizes. 38-state guy notes his strategy of basing each “state” on a single, large city, mentioning that it would be easier to get state (& one presumes federal) money with just one urban, by which he means administrative, center. (You live in their warrens, or you are the groundskeepers on their country estates — servants.)

Clearly it is annoying to these nation designers to have to listen to those people with different preferences. “Diversity” or something.

The analysis & motivation of the proposals are anti-autonomy, anti-federalist, the second one anti-rural. They both *erode* representation of contrary opinion or lifestyle, under the banner of “representation.” Representation means “we” get to tell “you” what to do. More is better.

Interestingly, 50-state guy’s map, a bunch of new states would actually get federal representation for their views, currently stifled by being bound to high-pop urban overlords. Which way do you think “Adarondak”, “Pocono”, “Susquehanna”, “Allegheny” and “Shennandoah” will tend to vote? “Blue Ridge”? “King”, separated from Atlanta? 4 of the chunks of the Left Coast?

We’ve all seen the districting vs. representation example. For people with policy or constituency preferences it’s the only analysis that matters — it predicts what they’ll try to do every time:


Equal districts up and down, you get 2 R, 1 B, follows the population. Equal districts side to side, you get 3 R. Which one gets proposed. (Sorry, I should have flipped the “R” and “B.” It’s the Blue-State people who are so energetic on organizing the game so they are the only ones who get to play.)

I would like to see it split at the eastern border, and the whole of it just slide into the Pacific. Much less harm to everyone that way. Perhaps it could take Oregon and Washington state with it.

    elle in reply to Romey. | April 14, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    Or maybe we can convince just a coastal strip from SF to LA to secede? We could keep most of the military bases, which we would never let go of anyway, and all of the inland communities just off the coasts. Then Tech could live in the world of their dreams, fueling their engines with the urine of their homeless population.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | April 14, 2018 at 6:25 pm

I move that the nation’s capital be moved to CA and the entire state of CA be declared the federal district with Zero reps – as DC has now.

I get that splitting it incorrectly will only result in more Dem reps, but Ca needs to split. The people living there don’t have adequate access to representation as intended by the founders.

Maybe it’s time we re-think things. Perhaps the citizens should be allowed to pick their reps, not due to their geographic location within their state, but by their belief in how they want the government run. Local district issues could be managed by county and for state issues.

It’s not working now.

    elle in reply to elle. | April 14, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    oops.. I deleted part of my thought above. Well, that’s okay, because I don’t have the answer to fixing it, but I do think that it is time we re-think it.

      clif the stiff in reply to elle. | April 15, 2018 at 10:29 am

      As a republican, I feel helpless and hopeless, living in California. Only 18 miles from the capital, I have demonstrated there a couple of times; however, it is so hard-democrat, I just throw up my hands. In the last Presidential election, I think I was the only person in my town holding a “Trump” poster out towards traffic a few days. I did this at Home Depot and had good response from those driving in and out. I write to say, with a small territory, overall, to canvass, perhaps Republican candidates would come out and try to reach fewer total voters as three states would provide. It could increase the number of people willing to run.

Typical leftist trick. This proposed division should be repellent to those who want to be free of the big ideas of billionaires and the grand transformative schemes of the Red Guard in Sacramento and the population centers. Nothing changes, except for the worse. It guarantees California-style leftist supermajorities in three states rather than one.

Let the northern counties beyond the wine country go their own ways.

Declare portions of Orange County an exclave oblast of the north (to use terms understandable to the leftist clowns in state government).

The whole Bay Area, the Wine Country, and Sacramento all need to be crammed into a narrow coastal zone that we can all avoid having to drive through to reach freedom. Since the coast is jammed with the richest, most empathetic and smartest, let them annex and support Imperial County, the Meth Belt in the IE, and the border region of SD County.

Let the rest of SD Co. and the eastern counties go their own way or merge them into Nevada.

And don’t call it Cali. Only hiphop fringe and under-30s use that.

Can we refuse to admit the new states to the union?

Isn’t Draper’s proposal similar to the way cancer cells grow by dividing and multiplying relentlessly? Nothing good would possibly come from this proposal.

Instead of crating three states that would represent the people better, they created three states, each with a major metropolitan area that is very liberal that will overwhelm the conservatives around it. This means that conservatives will be rendered the minority in each state while giving the Democrats more power in the House and Senate. This is nothing other than another BS attempt to cook the books and give the Left more power in our government.

A few years ago, Californians voted overwhelmingly to prohibit same-sex marriage. The courts casually overruled them and nary a peep was heard from the population, who supinely accepted the verdict.

If this motion passes, it will be treated in the same manner.

Why should the rest of the nation be obliged to accommodate the CA twerps. Let them split into 3 parts and then we could vote in Congress to not readmit the really flaming liberal group. We could just consider the potential for it sliding into the sea. Let them be their own little enclave.

A short analysis of California being divided up in three:

“California Est Omnis Divisa In Partes Tres”

Throw San Francisco and Sacramento in with LA and this would work. California will be divided or it will fall as an entire state into Mexico’s orbit. Best to cut before the gangrene sets in.

BierceAmbrose | April 15, 2018 at 5:34 pm

Where is the free state of Jefferson in this? No mention of the people who’ve been wanting to split off from Ca approximately forever. Indeed, Big-Think-Guy’s proposal leaves everyone in Ca dominated by the Blue-model urban centers that impose and administer distant people against their preferences, even now.

There is precedent for people who feel dominated by an unrepresentative, unresponsive “occupier” to spit off, to be glommed onto, a more amenable set of overlords. Better if they can claim a different “cluture.” Hey, it was great when Crimea did it. (Or was that had done to it? I get confused.)

Can Nevada declare historical integration, and annex them? I’m pretty sure they’d appreciate access to a deep water port, for their Navy, or something.

Suggested names for brown map region “California” [how appropriate]:

1. Welfaria
2. Crapolia
3. Illegalia
4. Northern Mexico

A division which creates three solid D states out of one is obviously unbalanced, and therefore could never pass unless the Ds controlled both the presidency and both houses of Congress, and either had 60 senators or were willing to blow the filibuster up completely, neither of which seems likely.

A division that created 2 solid D states and one solid R one would be a wash in the senate but would give the Rs a huge boost in the electoral college, so the Ds would be dead set against it and it could never pass. (Even if Rs got it through Congress it would never pass the state legislature.)

But one that created 2 solid D states and one state that was competitive might be balanced enough to interest both parties. It would give the Ds an advantage in the senate but the Rs an advantage in the electoral college, and for D state politicians there’d be the carrot of more offices for them to fill, so such a deal might pass.

Cui bono?

I see no benefits to any of the 49 other states, only negatives.

Perhaps a restructuring of the state government would be more appropriate.

This would certainly give the people of California a more direct and true representation of their political wants and needs, instead of the few population centers around the state forcing their wants and needs on the entire populations and areas of such a very large and ideological varied state.