LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — State election officials have given the green light to an initiative launched by a Silicon Valley activist to divide California into six autonomous states, according to reports.
The “Six Californias” measure (PDF) from venture capitalist Tim Draper would require signatures from over 807,000 voters statewide by July 14 in order to qualify for the November state ballot, Secretary of State Debra Bowen told Reuters.
According to the proposal, voters “acting as the legislative body of the State pursuant to their reserved legislative power provided by the California Constitution” that would establish new boundaries for the six new states and outline a plan to allow for “county voters to choose to associate with a different state.”
A map outlining the proposal (PDF) shows territory currently represented by Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties would be regathered under the name “West California”, while the counties of Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Imperial, and San Diego would realign as “South California”.
Four other states would also be formed:
- “Silicon Valley”, including the territory represented by the following counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Monterey;
- “North California”, including the territory represented by the following counties: Amador, El Dorado, Marin, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba;
- “Central California”, including the territory represented by the boundaries of following counties: Alpine, Calaveras, Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Tuolumne; and
- “Jefferson”, including the territory represented by the boundaries of the following counties: Butte, Colusa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Plumas, Siskiyou, Shasta, Tehama, and Trinity.
Draper, who founded the venture capital firm Draper Fisher Juvetson in 1985, said the idea has precedent with California voters.
“In fact, voters overwhelmingly approved the splitting of California into two states in 1859, but Congress never acted on that request due to the Civil War,” the initiative states.
Under the initiative, Draper himself would also be appointed “agent of the State of California” for the purposes of “defending the initiative against any legal challenge.” If the state Attorney General fails to provide an adequate defense, the provision would allow for Draper to “retain outside counsel to be compensated from the budget of the Department of Justice,” according to the initiative.
The proposal comes less than three years after Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone backed a campaign in July 2011 calling for as many as 13 Southern California counties to secede from the state.
Federal officials would be required to sign off on any initiative if it were passed by voters, according to Reuters.