Back when we first found out about investor Tim Draper’s plan to break California into six different states (including one for Silicon Valley), we weren’t sure how far the unorthodox plan would go.
But, just this week, Draper got the green light from the state to go ahead and collect signatures to put his plan on the California ballot.
To be sure, he’ll still need to gather about 800,000 signatures to put it before the voters; and, even if it were successful at the ballot box, it could face opposition from federal authorities.
Without a groundswell of support, Draper will have to pay an army of signature gatherers to stand outside grocery-store parking lots and bus stations to wrangle residents for their approval. Such campaigns can pay $3 a signature or more to signature gatherers (a.k.a. the folks that sit outside grocery stores with a clipboard), but Draper told me that he’s willing to put money into a campaign to see this project through.
Earlier this year, the state of California put out an official analysis of what would happen to California if Silicon Valley became its own state. Given the Valley’s high concentration of wealth, a lot of funding for schools and social services would be stripped away from the less financially successful parts of the state if it somehow succeeded.
But Draper says that California has become too unwieldy in its current form and needs to be decentralized. Specifically, the proposed six new states are Silicon Valley, West California, Jefferson, South California, Central California and North California.
It’s still a long shot, but Draper seems to have made it through the first hoop.