A proposal that would split California into six states, with San Francisco becoming part of the tech-focused Silicon Valley state, has gathered enough signatures to make the November 2016 ballot.
Backed by venture capitalist Timothy Draper, the "Six Californias" plan gathered approximately 808,000 signatures, enough to earn a spot on the ballot. Draper, who reportedly spent $2 million on the campaign, has previously funded hookup app Bang With Friends and invested in Skype, Tesla and Twitter.
Draper has called California "ungovernable" and claims that dividing the state into six smaller states -- each with its own government -- would better serve the interests of residents.
"It’s important because it will help us create a more responsive, more innovative and more local government, and that ultimately will end up being better for all of Californians," Roger Salazar, a spokesman for the "Six Californias" campaign, told Reuters. "The idea ... is to create six states with responsive local governments - states that are more representative and accountable to their constituents."
The proposal, which Draper intends to file with the Secretary of State's office, would divide the state into Silicon Valley, Jefferson, North California, Central California, South California and West California. Silicon Valley would span from Contra Costa County to Monterey County; Jefferson would encompass the northernmost counties, including Humboldt, Shasta and Mendocino; North California would include Sacramento along with Napa, Sonoma, Yolo and Placer counties; Central California would span the Central Valley; South California would include San Bernardino and San Diego counties; and West California would center around Los Angeles County.
Draper's plan would need to be approved by voters on the 2016 ballot, then be passed by Congress, before it could take effect. Steven Maviglio, a political strategist who has organized "OneCalifornia" to oppose the plan, told Reuters that Draper's idea has "zero chance of passage."
Dr. Paul Song, the executive chairman of the progressive California activist organization Courage Campaign, said in a statement, “The proposed ballot measure to divide California into six new states needs to be called out for what it is -- a craven attempt to divide California along strict socioeconomic lines that will create stratified pockets of wealth and homogenous political districts, where conservatives and the super wealthy can be safe from scrutiny or the will of the people. Californians are united in their opposition to this radical and divisive attempt to turn our great state into a series of ghettos and gated communities and will reject it come 2016.”
California has the world's eighth largest economy, right behind Brazil, according to the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis, and it outpaced the U.S. in growth last year.
Among the problems the new states and their leadership would face: Whether to grant in-state tuition rates for university systems that would now be out of state for some students, how to fund billions of dollars in state public employee pension plans and divvying up crucial resources such as water, which currently is shipped from Northern California south.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.