Click on different points of the map below to see which counties would be part of each one of California’s six new states, as outlined in a new proposed ballot initiative. Per capita income and population figures are listed for each proposed “state,” based on analysis by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office. [Read the story under the map for more context].
California’s Secretary of State this week gave a wealthy Silicon Valley venture capitalist the green light to start collecting petition signatures for a proposed ballot initiative to split California into separate jurisdictions.
Tim Draper, who has made a fortune investing in web start-ups like Skype, argues that the Golden State is too massive to effectively govern as a single body, and wants to divide it into six independent smaller states.
The “Six Californias” campaign needs to collect the signatures of 807,615 registered voters by the mid-July deadline in order to qualify for the 2014 state ballot.
California, Draper says, is too populated and diverse to adequately address the demands of its residents, and divided states would lead to smaller, more responsive governments.
As stated in his plan:
“Vast parts of our state are poorly served by a representative government dominated by a large number of elected representatives from a small part of our state, both geographically and economically.”
But critics are quick to argue that this is just the latest push in a perennial effort by wealthy communities to redistribute tax revenue locally and avoid subsidizing lower income areas of the state.
It’s not the first attempt to slice up the largest state in the country: periodic efforts have been made since California gained statehood in 1850, including an ongoing push by some residents in far northern California to create a state called Jefferson that would include a few counties in southern Oregon. Like previous secessionist efforts, Draper’s campaign is a long shot, to say the least, and it poses an array of feasibility problems, including a vast reorganization of water and energy delivery systems, Congressional approval and the inevitable onslaught of fierce litigation. But the proposed borders are, nevertheless, worth taking a look at, as they highlight some of California’s extreme economic disparities as well as its uneven population distribution.
The gaps are underscored in California’s non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s analysis of the proposal. According to the report, the new state of Silicon Valley, which would encompass most of the Bay Area, Santa Clara County and parts of the Central Coast, would have the highest per capita income in the nation, out-ranking Connecticut (funny coincidence that Draper happens to reside here). Meanwhile, the neighboring state of Central California, encompassing mostly poor agricultural counties in the Central Valley, would be at the very bottom in per capita income, behind Mississippi.Related