Proponents for a plan to split up California into a half-dozen separate states were working feverishly Monday to verify signatures gathered from across the state over the weekend in support of a petition to get the measure on the ballot, officials said.
The Six Californias idea needs 808,000 signatures by July 18 to qualify for the ballot in two years. The idea is the brainchild of Timothy Draper, a venture capitalist from Menlo Park – or as he hopes to some day call it, the state of Silicon Valley.
Draper has sunk $2 million into signature gathering for the proposal. He maintains it will break bureaucratic deadlock in Sacramento (in the proposed state of North California) and attract more business.
“California has become the worst managed state in the country," he told The Times this spring. “It just is too big and too ungovernable.”
Draper said he has support from the Oregon border (proposed state of Jefferson) to San Diego (South California), but the plan has been given almost no chance of success by some experts and ridiculed by Democrats and Republicans alike.
Anna Morris, spokeswoman for Six Californias, said in an email Monday that it would take awhile to verify signatures gathered over the weekend, but that the group plans to release the tally once it’s completed.
“For people who put our chances at zero, we say that we are dedicated to challenging the status quo and are hopeful that Six Californias will be the much needed refresh for state government,” she said.
Joe Rodota, the co-chair of OneCalifornia, an opposition group, downplayed the significance of getting signatures on a petition.
“This is just a process that pretty much any well-funded interest can pursue,” said Rodota, former cabinet secretary for Gov. Pete Wilson. The real challenge, he said, is ballot approval and “it’s just very difficult to get a ‘yes’ vote historically.”
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