“What I’m proposing here is to bring us closer to our government,” he said. “We are all better off with more local government — local government is more efficient, it’s more effective, it represents us better.”
In areas from schools to prisons to public infrastructure, “we spend the most and we get the least” in California, said Draper, 55, of Atherton. “Leaving California the way it is, the status quo, is a crime.”
His proposed measure would split California into six states, each with its own government; much of the Bay Area, plus Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, would become the state of Silicon Valley.
The northernmost parts of the state would become the state of Jefferson, as some counties up there have wanted for years; some North Bay counties would become part of North California; Stockton, Fresno and Bakersfield would be among Central California’s largest cities; Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara would wind up in West California; and San Diego would anchor South California.
Each new state would determine its own type of government; dividing California’s existing debt either would be negotiated among them or divided among them according to population. (Sorry, L.A.)
If California voters approve the measure, splitting the state still would require action by Congress. “But once it gets passed, I believe there will be some strong momentum,” Draper said Monday, adding perhaps New York, Florida and Illinois might decide to split, too.
“I have worked on this for years,” he said, adding he has taken time off from his global venture capital firm, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, to make a contribution to society — and this is it. “This is something I just have to do, I just feel it.”
Writes Joe Mathews in Steal Tim Draper’s Initiative :: Fox&Hounds:
California is, as Draper and other would-be splitters and secessionists have pointed out, far too big, both in number of people and size. Government is at once too big and too small. Too much power (albeit badly hamstrung power) is centralized in the state government in Sacramento. Other power is scattered among thousands of local governments – there are far too many – that don’t have enough power and scope to do much of anything at all except spend money (and, in too many cases, steal from the public).
But California life is actually lived at the regional level. Our major regions have the size and character of U.S. states – far more than California itself, which is more like a country than a state. But we don’t have all that much in the way of regional government – and we should. Indeed, we need to strip power from the state government and devolve it to the regions – while at the same time consolidating local governments into broader, more powerful regional bodies.
This isn’t on the agenda of any powerful player in California. But it should be. So why not take Draper’s measure and build a Draper-less campaign around it along the following lines: We don’t want to split the state, but we want you to vote for this as a way of saying that we need regional government – and need less centralized state government, and less spending-heavy, corrupt local government. A vote for this measure would be a vote for regional power.
Hijack Mr. Draper’s initiative. It’s the right thing to do.