SAN FRANCISCO — A plan backed by venture capitalist Tim Draper to split California into six states has gained enough signatures to make the November 2016 ballot, the plan's backers say.
A Twitter account belonging to the nonprofit Six Californias tweeted on Monday that "#SixCalifornias will be submitting signatures in Sacramento tomorrow for placement on the November 2016 ballot. Stay tuned for coverage!"
Roger Salazar, a spokesman for the campaign, said it's gathered more than the approximately 808,000 signatures needed to place the measure on the ballot, Reuters reported.
Draper is a founding member of the venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetsen, known for its investments in successful growth ventures such as Hotmail, Baidu, Tesla Motors and Skype. Recently, Draper won the federal government's auction of bitcoins once owned by online drugs portal Silk Road. He's championed the political break-up of the state for over a year, but it's taken until recently for the plan to gain some momentum.
Draper and other supporters of the break-up argue that the state's 38 million people would be better served by smaller governments and elected officials who would be able to work more closely with their constituents.
"If we have six Californias and we in effect dissolve the one we've got, those six allow us a new start," Draper says in a video posted on the Six Californias website. Each state, which would have its own capital and legislature, would be able to write its own constitution.
The six carved out states would look like this:
- Jefferson: The northern part of the state, including Humboldt and Mendocino counties.
- North California: The wine country counties of Sonoma and Napa, as well as the Sierra Nevada region.
- Silicon Valley: Including San Francisco, San Jose and most of what's considered the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Central California: The vast central valley farm region, including Tulare and Fresno counties.
- West California: Including Santa Barbara and Los Angeles.
- South California: Including what's called the Inland Empire of San Bernadino and Riverside, plus San Diego.
The plan has met with resistance from California's Democratic majority, and a Field Poll found 59% of Californians surveyed were against the plan, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Democratic strategist Steven Maviglio didn't mince words criticizing the plan. He tweeted Monday:
But interest in the plan has been strong enough to send Draper and his campaigners to Sacramento — for now, the one and only capital of California. They'll reveal the exact number of signatures they received on Tuesday in a news conference, according to the Chronicle.