A Silicon Valley venture capitalist’s attempt to split California into six states failed to qualify for the statewide ballot, the secretary of state reported Friday.
The measure by Timothy Draper failed to obtain enough valid signatures of voters to appear on the 2016 ballot. Draper and his allies collected some valid 752,68 signatures, according to local registrars of voters, about 15,000 less than the minimum threshold of 767,235 signatures that is required to force a full count and verification.
Draper, who spent $5 million to promote the plan and collect signatures, would have carved California into six new states — North California, Central California, South California, West California, Silicon Valley and Jefferson.
If the measure had appeared before voters – and been approved – it also would have required federal approval as well.
“Choice is good. More choices (are) better,” Draper told Capitol Weekly earlier this year. “We have choice in food, in clothing, in houses, in apps, in news. But if we live in California, we have one choice in government. That choice is to be a part of the worst run state in the union.”
“The idea has been in the making for decades,” he added. “I worked with (former GOP state Senator) Becky Morgan when she was looking into breaking the state into three. And as you know I have worked hard to allow choice in education in California. There is nothing new here.”
But critics of his proposal said it was poorly thought out.
“”Six Californias was a solution in search of a problem that didn’t address any of our state’s challenges,” former Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, who headed the effort to block the initiative, said in a written statement distributed by his office. “It would have created massive inequities among our states and caused chaos in our state’s water, energy, higher education, transportation, and other systems”
Dividing the state also would have created great economic differences between the new states. For example, Central California and it agriculture-centered counties — including Fresno, Kern, San Joaquin and Tulare –would have the nation’s lowest per capita personal income, $33,510, or about $150 less than Mississippi.