Silicon Valley is no stranger to unusual ideas, and today the world got to witness another: noted investor Tim Draper is proposing a ballot proposition to split California into six separate states. There were obviously a lot of questions raised by Draper’s “Six Californias” proposal after we first broke the news last Thursday, so the man with the controversial plan held a press conference this afternoon.
“The status quo is just not going to work,” said Draper. “The existing breadth of industry and various interests in California is untenable.”
Draper’s ballot proposition itself breaks California into six entities: Silicon Valley, West California, Jefferson, South California, Central California and North California.
Other than Draper’s desire to decentralize Californian governance, we really didn’t know how it would all go down until today. So, here are your burning questions answered:
How Will California Be Redrawn?
“We allowed great flexibility” for individual counties to finely tune the rough outline of the six different territories, Draper said during the press event. He expects the citizens to crowdsource many of the ideas around water rights, a new state flag, and other official duties.
What About Congress?
Each state is supposed to get two senators, this would add 10 more to Congress (five additional states total). So, presumably, federal authorities will have to buy more chairs for the Senate floor, and also completely shift around the tight two-party balance that the Senate has maintained for over 200 years.
“They’ll be nervous about change,” says Draper, who thinks government will eventually accept a better governed region.
Who’s Paying For This?
Draper is bootstrapping his own political brainchild. “I will make sure it gets on the ballot, he said. This can cost millions of dollars and there’s no big partners yet on board. But Draper says he’s seen a lot of grassroots interest.
There’s still a lot of process questions that have to be worked out. What happens after it passes? Who’s in charge of creating new governors, redrawing congressional districts, and distributing natural resources? Draper couldn’t answer these in great detail, because they’ll supposedly be answered over the next several months.
When Draper first proposed this idea to me at the Nantucket Project conference, I had my doubts. But, yes, this is in fact happening. Six Californias. Draper expects to hold another press conference when he gets a million signatures.