State of Division

Why three Californias would cause three times the problems for an already troubled state

By Lilly Nguyen Culture Editor

Graphic by Francisco Valladares/Athletics Editor

CAL 3 is a proposal introduced by venture capitalist Tim Draper that, if voted into action, will separate the state into three different ones: North California, South California and “New” California. The initiative received more than 600,000 signatures and may appear on the ballot this November for midterm elections.

“This is an unprecedented show of support on behalf of every corner of California to create three state governments that emphasize representation, responsiveness, reliability and regional identity,” said Draper to CNN.

And it’s kind of easy to see where the support comes from.

California is the most populous and third largest state in the country. Draper claims that the government is “strained” in its attempts to reconcile the “regional differences” between the state itself. Theoretically, CAL 3 is supposed to help ameliorate that. But theoretically, we also shouldn’t be eating raw fish — yeah, I said it — but that’s not going to stop anyone either, is it?

While it is true that the state is large, the differences between the “Californias” are superficial at best. Most Californians, including myself, don’t really see a purpose in dissolving the state. But Draper’s out here saying that CAL 3 will resolve “the state's failing school systems, high taxes, deteriorating infrastructure and strained government,” as reported by CNN.

The points he brings up are fair: California public schools are pathetic, the state has some of the highest tax rates in the country and infrastructure is kind of just sad.

If we’re speaking in theoreticals, separating the state might be good. We’d collectively get more representation, considering that representatives are determined based off of population and even if it’s split up, there’s tons of people there. We’d get more senators. We’d have separate budgets that could resolve regional problems, rather than budgets stretched across the state’s numerous problems.

California is running a $6.1 billion budget surplus, is the sixth largest economy in the world, has a population larger than the entire country of Canada and as a united front, has the most representatives in the House, 53.

It’s not so much a matter of us not having the money or the means to fund public schools and infrastructure so much as it is an issue of budget allocation. Also, all parts of the state contribute to the greater whole. Northern California has more tech moguls than Silicon Valley knows what to do with. In spite of appearances, California is a huge agricultural state and Central California encompasses that. Southern California is obvious, as it houses one of the largest entertainment industrial complexes in the world.

So, getting rid of any of them seems counterproductive. In dividing us, it weakens California, economically and politically.

Not to mention, the state is severely lacking in water due to its Mediterranean-like climate, which is regulated to maintain Central California and highly-populated cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles. This problem wouldn’t improve, since California’s primary watershed originates in the Sierra Nevada, which is in Northern California.

It’d be a bad thing. There’d be a lot of bad things.