Breaking California into six states? L.A. not sold on idea

Charlie Macon sat outside the Central Farmer's Market in downtown Los Angeles when he heard the proposal: Split California into six states?

"Why would anyone want to do that?" the 82-year-old Torrance resident said. "And would I like it? I don't know ... I probably won't be around to see it happen anyway."


Menlo Park venture capitalist Timothy Draper said Tuesday that his proposed voter initiative to break California into six states has enough support to qualify for the 2016 ballot.

He submitted to election officials the first batch of what he said will be 1.3 million petition signatures -- more than enough for the measure to qualify as a statewide voter initiative, he said.

But in downtown Los Angeles' Pershing Square on Wednesday, Jason Shinoda said, "It doesn't make any economic or social sense."

"Trying to divide the state's resources isn't viable," said Shinoda, 35, who lives in the San Fernando Valley.

Nearby, eating pistachios, Jose Vasquez, 78, of La Puente shook his head.

"Poor California," he said. "They want to break her apart."

Some question whether dividing California is a solution to any of the issues raised by those who support the idea.

"If it's about representation, then deal with the representation problem," Shinoda said.

Albert Gonzalez, 29, who was at a Starbucks near Little Tokyo, said some states would struggle more than others because of inequitable natural and economic resources.

"If you end up splitting it into six, you could easily find yourself in one of the bad states," Gonzalez said.

But not everyone thought the idea was farfetched. Even Gonzalez said the plan would need to be carefully studied.

"From a business standpoint, it could work," said Maria Cermeno, 35, of North Hollywood, who was in Pershing Square. "You would have to really analyze it."

She said by downsizing California into smaller states you could reduce the number of people needing services and representation.

Nancy De Santiago, 27, wondered how many government agencies would need to be created for the six states.


"Like government social services," said De Santiago, who was visiting Pershing Square on Wednesday.

The women also raised questions about which states would fare better.

Adrian Malabunga, 25, of Los Angeles, considered it.

"I know I'm not thinking of the economic and social ramifications, but it would be a cool idea," Malabunga said in Pershing Square. "If it provides services and if it makes things better for people, I say go for it."