Column: Proposal to split California will do more harm than good
Local venture capitalist Tim Draper’s proposal to split California into three separate states will appear on the California ballot in November, after gaining more than 600,0000 signatures.
California has often been declared ungovernable, due to its immense population of over 40 million people. As a result, some people like Draper, believe splitting California into three separate states would split the work of one state government into three, increasing the effectiveness of the government.
Contrary to the 3 CAL website’s claim that splitting up California would empower local and regional communities, the proposal would only serve to do harm to regional communities and government effectiveness.
The proposal will split the state into a state named California, which would contain Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Monterey, a state named Northern California, containing the Bay Area and all 31 counties above Sacramento, and a final state named Southern California, containing Fresno, San Bernardino, and San Diego.
A study done by the Public Policy Institute of California shows that despite California’s reputation as a largely Democratic state, much of inland California leans more to the right than the left. By grouping the more liberal Bay Area and more right-leaning north into one collective state by themselves, increased conflict is bound to occur between the two, the study suggests.
The 3 CAL plan would also disrupt numerous aspects of life — even for students at Palo Alto High School. Many families, mine included, are spread all throughout the state, and the 3 CAL plan would only make it more difficult for us to meet and support each other.
California’s UC and CSU system gives advantages to students from in-state who apply to public universities. Being treated as in-staters allows students to take advantage of admissions and reduced tuition. Given the sheer number of Paly students that end up going to UC’s, Paly students also greatly benefit from the state’s systems. If California becomes three separate states, the benefits most likely be reduced or more difficult to take advantage of.
Taking into account the issues Southern California has with water, splitting the state would make the logistics of this issue much tougher to resolve. Numerous proposals, including Ceres’ Connect the Drops, have made demands for updated water systems to lessen the environmental impact the outdated water systems have upon the watershed and ecosystem. However, if the state is split into three, making major changes to pipelines which cross into multiple states will make such improvements far more difficult.
Regardless of the potential ramifications of this proposal, the chances of it even coming to fruition are slim. In the past. Previously, Draper supported an even more ambition proposal to split California into six states rather than three. That previous proposal failed to even make it onto the ballot.
Even if the proposal does pass, it would be difficult for the split to actually happen. Once the state gives its approval, the proposal would next be sent to Congress. As California has long been considered a bastion of the Democratic party, splitting it up would be disastrous. As a result, it would be difficult for the proposal to get ratified by Congress.
In any case, not only is the proposal unlikely to happen, it would also be unwise. The plan’s potential to increase local autonomy comes at the cost of statewide benefits like the UC system and water systems.