Three state split would create multitude of new issues, political analyst says


If the measure qualifies for the November ballot, and is approved by voters, California will split into three states: Northern California, California, and Southern California.

Northern California: This would include 40 counties including the San Francisco Bay Area and the remaining counties north of Sacramento, the current state capital.

After campaigning began last August, the CAL 3 campaign had gathered 600,000 signatures supporting the split by April this year.

The face behind the ballot is Tim Draper, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist who sponsored the measure. Orange County, San Diego and inland counties would be called Southern California.

In California, the reasons for such an ongoing inner conflict stem most obviously from the state's geographic and demographic diversity and the unique identities of different regions.

If California voters pass Cal3 in November, Democratic Governor Jerry Brown or his successor would be directed to petition Congress to approve the split, as called for under the U.S. Constitution.

The breakup would also likely be challenged in court and would need congressional approval, a tough get in today's hyperpartisan Washington.

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Californians have long debated whether they were better as a whole or in parts. The new California state along the coast from the counties of Monterey to Los Angeles would be a net importer of water from the proposed Northern California and Southern California.

The stated reasons for the split echo the same proposed by Draper: California, lawmakers wrote in 1859, encloses an area "so diversified in physical and other features as to preclude, to an unwholesome degree, the possibility of uniform legislation, and render cumbersome and expensive the operation of government".

Northern California would consist of 40 counties stretching from OR south to Santa Cruz County, then east to Merced and Mariposa counties.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced that the initiative is eligible for the November 6 general election.

"How would we pay for basic services, what are our basic services, how would we fund just basic state government", he said. If the Legislature failed to act in the given time frame, California's debts would be divided among the new states based on population. The state report notes that California's water system is "one of the most complex in the world" because water "does not naturally appear in California where demand is highest".

"The California state government isn't too big to fail, because it is already failing its citizens in so many crucial ways", Citizens for Cal 3 campaign spokeswoman Peggy Grande said in a Tuesday statement. College students who live in cities like Fresno may balk at being charged out-of-state tuition at University of California, Los Angeles.