(Adds quotes from Draper, experts; adds background)
By Dan Whitcomb and Laila Kearney
LOS ANGELES Feb 20 A venture capitalist seeking
to break California into six new states has won approval to
begin collecting signatures needed to get his plan on the ballot
in November, but experts said such a measure likely stands
little chance of success.
The proposal, which would also require approval by the U.S.
Congress, would split California into six new states called
Jefferson, North California, Silicon Valley, Central California,
West California and South California.
Under the plan, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara would be part
of "West California," while San Francisco and San Jose would be
in "Silicon Valley."
"California, as it is, is ungovernable," proponent Tim
Draper, founder of the venture capital firm Draper Fisher
Jurvetson, said in a statement released by his office on
"It is more and more difficult for Sacramento to keep up
with the social issues from the various regions of California.
With six Californias, people will be closer to their state
governments and states can get a refresh," Draper said.
California Secretary of State Debra Bowen said on Tuesday
that the proposal needs the signatures of 807,615 registered
voters by July 14 to qualify as a ballot measure in November's
Representatives for the Six Californias initiative declined
to comment beyond Draper's statement. A spokesman for Governor
Jerry Brown also declined to comment.
But political experts said that like most such break-up
bids, such a dramatic move faces major challenges in California,
the most populous U.S. state.
"This is really just a hypothetical question. It's not going
to happen," said Stanford Law School professor Nate Persily,
citing a likely resistance by Californians to being broken into
Persily also cited the cost and complications of
establishing six new governments, each with its own state
capital and representatives in Washington, D.C.
David Carillo, executive director of the California
Constitution Center at the University of California, Berkeley,
School of Law, agreed, saying the U.S. Constitution could also
be interpreted to require approval of such a move by the
California state legislature.
Carillo also said the U.S. Congress was unlikely to get on
board with the plan.
"One could wonder whether Congress would look favorably on
adding five new stars to Old Glory," he said.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb and Laila Kearney; editing by Amanda
Kwan and G Crosse)