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Californians to vote on plan to split state into three

San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge

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San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge

Golden State set to vote on proposal that would create northern and southern territories

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - 12:31pm

Voters in California will get a chance to have their say on an ambitious plan to divide the state into three parts, after the proposal was approved to appear on a ballot in November

The outlandish proposal, the brainchild of Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper, received 402,468 valid signatures, says CNN, “surpassing the amount required by state law” to appear on the 6 November ballot.

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California’s large size, high population and extreme political and economic diversity make governing the state unwieldy - or even, according to proponents of the three-state solution, impossible.

Peggy Grande, spokeswoman for campaign group Citizens for Cal 3, said that California’s state government was “overmatched, overstretched and overwrought” in the face of pressing issues including “failing education, crumbling infrastructure [and] sky-high taxes”.

Under Draper’s vision, Northern California would consist of 40 counties, including many rural, conservative-leaning counties whose voters have long complained that their voices are drowned out by the densely populated liberal cities along the coast.

Southern California takes over a similar-sized swathe of the south, including well-to-do Orange County and San Diego.

The new, downsized “California” would consist of the six counties around Los Angeles. Despite its far smaller size, it would boast a population roughly similar to the North and South.

However, “critics have slammed the partition effort as a distraction and say that breaking up the state would cost billions of tax dollars,” says CNN.

Campaigners have been trying to break up California almost since it was admitted to the Union in 1850.

The state’s 168-year history has seen ”200 attempts to either reconfigure its boundaries, split it into pieces or even have the state secede and become an independent country”, says the Los Angeles Times.

“The last three-state proposal, crafted by a Butte County legislator, failed in the state Capitol in 1993.”

If the plan were to come to fruition - which, at present, appears extremely unlikely - it would be the first split of a US state since West Virginia seceded from Virginia during the American Civil War in 1863.


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