LOS ANGELES (AP) — California has reached the breaking point. Or so says Tim Draper, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist who is pushing a proposal to crack the nation's most populous state into pieces.
Six of them, in this case.
California has grown so big, so inefficient, it's essentially ungovernable, according to a ballot initiative that could reach voters as early as November.
It has to go.
"Vast parts of our state are poorly served by a representative government," according to Draper's plan, which cleared a key government hurdle this week to qualify for the ballot. California residents "would be better served by six smaller state governments."
In an interview Thursday, Draper said he has seen a state once regarded as a model slide into decline — many public schools are troubled, transportation, water and other infrastructure systems are overmatched and outdated, spending on prisons has soared.
A group of states could change that, he said, competing and cooperating with each other.
Without change "it will get worse," he warned. "California is not working."
No one would dispute that California, home to 38 million people, is full of rivalries and squabbling. Dodgers or Giants. Tacos or sushi. Where water goes, and how much of it.
But the state has proven reliably resilient against attempts to split it apart, dating to the era of its founding in 1850. Over the years, proposals have suggested California should be two states, or three, or four.
"It's certainly fun to talk about," said Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles. But "its prospects are nil."
Even if it were to be approved by voters, Congress would have to endorse the idea of creating six new states — and adding 10 senators to the chamber's political mix (as with all states, California currently has two). Congress, under the U.S. Constitution, must approve the creation or division of any states.
"I don't think anyone is going to give California 12 Senate seats," Sonenshein said.
Draper, in documents he submitted to the Secretary of State's Office, recommends dividing California regionally, including establishing a state called Silicon Valley, which would include San Francisco and nearby counties that are home to technology giants like Facebook and Apple.
Los Angeles would become part of the new state of West California, which also would include the coastal cities of Santa Barbara and Ventura. The state's farming heartland would become Central California. San Diego would be the largest city in the new South California.
Earlier this week, he received approval from the state to begin collecting petition signatures to qualify the proposal for the ballot — he needs about 808,000 by mid-July to make the cut.
It's also possible the proposal could be delayed until 2016. Facing a tight deadline to gather signatures and build political momentum, "I want to make sure there is enough time," Draper said.
The complexities of dividing a state the size of California, by itself among the world's top 10 economies, would be daunting.
What would become of the California State Water Project, which uses aqueducts and pumping stations to disperse water across the state? If the federal government approves the idea, tax collections and spending by the state would end, and its assets and debts would have to be divided.
Draper said the smaller governments would be more responsive to the needs of residents and communities, compared to Sacramento. There would be vigorous competition for residents among them, he predicted, again driving change.
Campaign veteran Matt David doubted the proposal would get far.
"California is as diverse geographically as it demographically, but ultimately we all take pride in the fact that we are Californians," said David, a Republican consultant based in Los Angeles. "Diluting that identity between six states will never happen."
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
IHOP has gotten over its identity crisis and is going right to a promotion that puts the spotlight on the flapjacks that made it famous.
Moisture levels will increase through Wednesday. Thunderstorms chances are elevated throughout San Diego County Wednesday and Thursday.
Only two days before preview night at Comic-Con kicks off and the streets of downtown San Diego on Monday night were being transformed in Comic-Con fever.
The San Diego City Council on Monday rejected Mayor Kevin Faulconer's plan regarding short term vacation rentals, but in a 6 to 3 vote approved City Councilwoman Barbara Bry's regulations plan.
The San Diego International Airport was granted $12.1 million in the Federal Aviation Administration's latest round of awards announced Monday.
A harbor seal with the most severe neck wound that SeaWorld's rescue team had ever seen was returned to the ocean after undergoing rehabilitation at the San Diego theme park.
Burglars hit a Little League snack bar sometime this weekend, ransacking it and taking items of food. The Vista National Little League's snack bar was torn apart and hundreds of dollars' worth of food was gone.
A dispute over perceived animal abuse on a Core- Columbia roadside led on Monday to a stabbing that left a pedestrian nursing a minor wound and a woman behind bars, authorities reported.
A horrifying scene at the zoo in New Orleans over the weekend after a jaguar escaped from its enclosure and killed several animals before finally being captured.