The petitions are out and signatures being collected to break California up into six separate states. It's the brainchild of Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper. If enough signatures are collected, a ballot proposition would:
1) Create the state of "Jefferson" out of the most northern part of California.
2) Below that, "North California" would include sacramento and the Napa - Sonoma wine country.
3) The Bay Area would be a state called "Silicon Valley."
4) The red area would be "central California."
5) Los Angeles - in green - would be part of a new state known as "West California."
6) Orange County and San Diego County would be "South California."
On Studio 11 LA, Draper told me those who say infrastructure like the state's water system, Caltrans and prisons can't be divided, are wrong. He says some things the new states could share through state-to-state compacts. He also told me we would all get to choose where to live. I'm not sure I get that. We can all do that now. Unless he's talking about an allegiance, say, I philosophically want to be a part of Jefferson even though I live in West CA. Nah, that'd be more messed up than we are already.
I have to say that while Mr. Draper is genuine and genuinely respected as a venture capitalist, he didn't directly answer my questions. He was good at pointing out the problems but was weak on specific solutions. That could be because he was more interested in selling the broader message or maybe he so believes smaller is better that he feels the details will work themselves out.
Draper's idea isn't new or exclusive to California. There have been similar moves in Colorado, Arizona, Maryland, New York and Florida to name a handful. Heck, it might be easier to name the states that haven't tried to divide. But it hasn't happened since the 19th century and for some good reasons, not the least of which would be (and I can't believe I'm saying this) the wisdom of Congress realizing that awarding a malcontent state a new set of senators is just bad parenting. But good luck Mr. Draper. You have us talking.