In yet another episode of “Bright Ideas that Rich People Have”, Tim Draper, multimillionaire, has decided that he doesn’t like California as it currently stands. Rather, he wants to split the state into six new states. Count ‘em. Not two or even three, but six.
And for whatever reason, Secretary of State Debra Bowen has given him the go-ahead to begin collecting petition signatures. Draper needs to have over 800,000 signatures of registered voters by July 2014 in order to put the proposal on the ballot.
The prospect of California being split into six states is more preposterous than Washington, D.C. becoming the state of New Columbia. At least the people there have a legitimate basis for their request—proper representation in the United States Congress. What is Draper’s argument? “California is ungovernable.” Well, here’s some advice for you, my good sir, don’t run for political office in this state. Problem solved.
In all seriousness, splitting California into six states would cause more issues than it would potentially fix.
The state is experiencing a large drought, and the water policy would have to be amended. As it stands, the State Water Project stores and distributes most of the water through a series of aqueducts, power plants and reservoirs to much of northern and southern California. With the creation of new states, the system suddenly becomes null and void, as the water would have to travel through multiple states. Hypothetically, each state, despite having once been part of California, now has its own water needs. More than likely, the politicians of each respective state would cater to their own people’s needs rather than worrying about how another state is getting along. And unfortunately, even with the rainstorms the state experienced during the first weekend in March, the parched soil soaked in all the water and dried up the liquid faster than it appeared. Along with the disappearing water, the money in California also seems to be disappearing.
The current debt of California is still a large debate. Dividing the debt among the states wouldn’t solve the problem. How would it be determined whether to evenly distribute the debt or which states have to take on more of the debt? Basing it on the population of each new state wouldn’t work well, either. Higher population in a state doesn’t necessarily mean more ability to pay down the ever-expanding monetary liabilities. In Los Angeles alone, the unemployment rate is 8.4 percent as of December 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, whereas California is at 8.3 percent. Both are higher than the national unemployment rate of 6.7 percent. And speaking of population…
The Electoral College would also have to undergo several changes. One can’t simply take the current number of representatives, which is 53 for those who aren’t into politics, and divide it among the new states. Rather, the change would occur based on the new population of each state. California’s population is 38 million. The population of Los Angeles—currently the largest city in California—makes up approximately one-tenth of that at 3.85 million, about 40,000 less than Oregon, which has five representatives. Los Angeles also has roughly 40,000 more people than Oklahoma, which also has five representatives. Therefore, the new state of West California would get five representatives. In addition to the House of Representatives being all bungled up, the Senate would have to add 10 additional slots for senators for the new states.
Now on to the names. Jefferson. North California. Silicon Valley. Central California. West California. South California. Nothing against the Dakotas, Carolinas or even West Virginia, but seriously, North, South, West and Central California? Come on. The “venture capitalist” could have attempted to put more thought into the new state names. Or with all the millions of dollars Draper makes, he at least could have hired someone to come up with some creative ideas.
Although, it was shocking to see that the man didn’t try to push “Draper California” or “Draper State”, considering he founded Draper University of Heroes and co-founded Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Why not add a state named after you to that lovely repertoire?
Here’s a small tidbit of information many probably didn’t realize. Jefferson State— it’s already been suggested. The original plan was to include part of Oregon in with the northern region of California. And was first proposed in 1941. The “state” even has its own website—www.jeffersonstate.com—which has been around since 2000. You can even buy the state flag to hang proudly in your front yard. So Mr. Draper, you better start looking at including Oregon in your plans.
The United States has had its fair share of concerns since it was first established in the late 1700s, and California could certainly stand to have Mr. Fix-It come along and work out the major kinks. So, how about we start focusing on California’s problems and figuring out ways to repair them rather than suggesting a plan that would create more issues in the long run?