By STEVEN HERBERT
City News Service
Backers of an initiative that would divide California into six states will gather signatures at 143 locations throughout the state today and Sunday in an attempt to put the measure on the November 2016 ballot.
“California has grown ungovernable — be it Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jerry Brown as governor — (and) the problems we face are too ingrained to be fixed in Sacramento,” Anna Morris of Six Californias told City News Service.
“We need to reboot and the Six Californias initiative would bring government much closer to the people.”
Venture capitalist Tim Draper said he wrote the initiative because he “wanted people to have a choice, to be local to their state government and to be able to get a refresh so that schools, streets and waterways could improve, poverty would decrease and businesses would want to keep jobs here.”
Joe Rodota, a co-founder of OneCalifornia, a committee opposing the initiative, said “it has negative implications that could cost California’s businesses and taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.”
Rodota estimated the cost of documenting and dividing the assets and liabilities of California into six pieces would cost billions of dollars and take decades.
“That would be the greatest single misuse of time and money in the history of California,” said Rodota, a cabinet secretary under then-Gov. Pete Wilson.
Rodota said effects of splitting the state would include forcing families with children attending a University of California campus that is not in the new state which they would be assigned to pay out-of-state tuition and businesses having to file multiple state income tax returns if they had operations and employees in various states that were previously all part of California.
If voters approve the Six Californias initiative and Congress agrees to admit five new states, West California would consist of Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.
South California would consist of Orange, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino and Imperial counties.
The eight coastal and adjacent counties from Monterey County to San Francisco would form Silicon Valley.
The 14 inland counties from Kern to San Joaquin, Calaveras and Alpine would form Central California.
The 13 counties from the Pacific Ocean to the Nevada border from Marin and Sonoma counties to Sierra, Nevada, Placer and El Dorado counties would form North California.
The state’s 14 northernmost counties would form the state of Jefferson, taking the name from the proposed state under a short-lived 1941 effort that would have combined California’s Del Norte, Siskiyou and Modoc counties with four in Oregon.
(County voters could approve reassignment to a different new state if the second state approves.)
The initiative’s backers need to submit valid signatures from 807,615 registered voters — 8 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2010 general election — by July 18 to qualify the measure for the November 2016 ballot, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.
“We are well on our way to getting there,” Morris said.
The locations of the signature-gathering sites can be found on the initiative’s website, sixcalifornias.info.