The battle against the controversial “Six Californias” ballot measure has added another member to its fighting ranks. Former California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez will act as chairman of “OneCalifornia,” the organization founded to counter Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper’s move to split California into six different states.
Under the “Six Californias” ballot measure, slated for inclusion on the 2016 ballot, each new state within California would have its own government. Silicon Valley, Monterey, and Santa Cruz would form the state of Silicon Valley; the area north of Sacramento would become the state of Jefferson; the North Bay would be dubbed North California; Stockton, Fresno, Bakersfield, and the rest of the Central Valley would become Central California; Los Angeles and Santa Barbara would constitute West California; and San Diego and the rest of the south would make up South California.
Six Californias is an impractical, unworkable, and unconstitutional scheme that is undermining the California brand throughout the world just as our state is making an economic comeback. Our state’s diversity has always been its strength; tearing it up into six pieces is a solution in search of a problem that does nothing to address the challenges we face as a state that we need to tackle with the greatest talent pool imaginable: nearly 40 million Californians.
Silicon Valley billionaire Tim Draper has pushed hard for the “Six Californias” ballot measure, gathering about 1.3 million signatures and donating $5.3 million of his own money to the initiative. However, the Political Blotter reports that the measure is “not looking good,” as it may fail a crucial signature verification deadline next week that would allow it to be placed on the ballot of each proposed “state.”
According to California’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, the Six Californias measure would immediately create the wealthiest and poorest states in the country: Silicon Valley and Central California, respectively.
Still, Draper is insistent that splitting California into six separate entities would lead to overall economic prosperity for the region. In the wake of Tesla’s decision to build its $5 billion “gigafactory” in Sparks, Nevada instead of California, Draper reminded voters that the state “needs change”:
Today, California has lost another opportunity to create more jobs, and improve our economic environment. Losing Tesla to Nevada is just another reminder that our state needs change. California has high unemployment and the percentage of people living below the poverty line is steadily increasing. Our state needs a massive investment in infrastructure and a streamlined process to help grow and keep businesses.
How much longer do we tolerate a monolithic, job-losing California? We continue to live in the state ranked worst in the nation for business. Six Californias gives us a chance, a choice, and a change — and more jobs.
Nunez, who is also a partner at Mercury Public Affairs, told the Political Blotter he hopes his new post at OneCalifornia will be a “short-term gig.”
“For our state’s sake, I’m hoping voters will not have to endure further discussion of such an ill-conceived and meritless idea that’s become the subject of late night talk show jokes,” he said.