A proposal to divide California into six states has received enough signatures to make the November 2016 ballot. Here’s how.
This would be helpful because it would allow me to be more specific about which parts of California I hate
This is a terrible idea on so many levels.
First of all, if we take the creator Tim Draper at his word, this idea is being proposed because he believes “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.”
That sounds like a good sentiment, but the reality is that the biggest issue with elected representatives isn’t that they can’t work closely enough with their constituents, it’s that they can’t get big enough projects done to help their constituents. The reason the US has an interstate highway system that massively benefits every single person in the country is because of a huge federal government that can complete big projects. If we were just 50 separate states without a federal government, we wouldn’t be able to go to the moon, build an interstate highway system, or fund cutting-edge research. Similarly, if California were 6 states, we wouldn’t be able to build a high-speed rail system or manage our natural resources. Elected officials might have more time to meet with constituents personally, but that would be because they would have less they could do. California’s residents don’t need elected officials that they can have a beer with, they need elected officials able to create new universities, build better infrastructure, and improve people’s quality of life - and that takes big money, which comes from governing a lot of people.
What Tim Draper is proposing is like disbanding the Federal Government. Each of those areas outlined are reasonable geopolitical regions that do need their own oversight and management, but that’s no reason to dismantle the thing holding them all together. Most of those regions already have regional planning organizations, such as the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), or the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). If it were six separate states, everyone would lose out massively - but especially four of the states, which brings me to my next point.
The reason it’s so hard to take Tim Draper at his word is because this proposal would create some of the most unequal adjacent states in the country. The Central Valley especially is a region of massive poverty and environmental issues, with unemployment rates as high as 16%, and with some of the worst air quality in the country. Meanwhile, the vast majority of California’s wealth is concentrated in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles. Splitting into six states would mean the Central Valley could no longer benefit from income and property taxes collected on California’s wealthy, leaving the poor residents of California even worse off.
It’s also clear that Tim Draper just doesn’t understand politics. Southern California has about 60% of the total population in California, while the Central Valley produces food for the entire world, but most of the water that those regions depend on comes from Northern California and the Sierras (as well as the Colorado River). The California Aqueduct is a massive, 700-mile series of canals, tunnels, and pipes that takes water from NorCal and brings it to SoCal, and can only be managed and maintained by a strong central government that has jurisdiction over its entire length and watershed. I’ve often said that if NorCal and SoCal were two separate states, nobody would live in SoCal because there isn’t enough water.
Aside from water, there’s also the fact that 25% of Californians - one in four, or about 8.8 million people - are enrolled in the state’s health insurance program, Medi-Cal. This program, naturally, depends on subsidies from the wealthy (in SF and LA) to be maintained, and splitting into six states would massively harm California’s poorest residents (A family of 4 has to be making less than about $30k per year to qualify for Medi-Cal)
And even if it did get approved by California - which would be devastatingly harmful for the majority of Californians who depend on the state’s unity - there’s no reason for Congress to approve the division of California into six states, as it would weaken the individual power of literally every single other state, as high-population states would likely lose Representatives, and every Senator’s influence would be reduced by the additional 10 Senators added.
Of course, this does make sense from one perspective. If you’re extremely rich, kicking out poor people from your state and narrowing the geographic focus means you can have an extremely wealthy government able to do lavish (though not necessarily massive) projects, since you’re no longer spending money on poor people. But if you’re a decent human being, you know that the best way to build a better society is to help everyone in it do better - not to expel those who are disadvantaged.
It has to go through Congress, which I’m hoping even though they’re a pile of dumbasses they’ll realize six Californias is even dumber and will laugh it off