‘OneCalifornia’ formed to oppose ‘Six Californias’

A bipartisan committee has been organized to oppose a Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper’s “Six Californias” campaign to split the Golden State into six states.

It’s called “OneCalifornia.” (Of course it is.)

“Every day this measure marches its way toward the ballot, it damages the California brand as the nation’s economic powerhouse,” OneCalifornia co-foudner Joe Rodota, CEO of Forward Observer and former cabinet secretary to Gov. Pete Wilson, said in a news release issued Wednesday morning. “It has negative implications that could cost California’s businesses and taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.”

Draper’s “Six Californias” has not yet qualified for November’s ballot; Draper insists it’s for real, and says he intends to submit nearly 800,000 signatures soon to accomplish that. So far, he’s the campaign’s only significant donor, but the $750,000 he has given it so far won’t go very far. Opponents are taking nothing for granted, however.

“This measure deserves to die a quick death,” OneCalifornia co-founder Steven Maviglio, a veteran Democratic communications and public affairs operative, said in the news release. “We’re calling in the cavalry now to make sure it does.”

“No one would be taking this proposal remotely seriously if there wasn’t a billionaire with unlimited check writing abilities behind it,” Maviglio said. “Hopefully Tim Draper is a smart enough businessman not to pour more money into a folly that damages our state’s image in the world economy – and which he admits is opposed by his fellow Silicon Valley residents.”

The OneCalifornia committee will announce co-chairs and other opposition efforts in the weeks ahead, the release vowed.

Spokeswoman Anna Morris said Wednesday morning she was seeking Draper’s comment. (Ed.note — see update below.)

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office reports Draper’s plan to split California – now 12th among the 50 states in per capita income – would create both the nation’s richest state (Silicon Valley) and its poorest (Central California). And Rodota last month said more than two-thirds of the University of California’s students might have to pay out-of-state tuition to attend campuses in other Californias.

Rodota noted Wednesday that Draper’s plan also might have many California businesses suddenly filing multiple state tax returns if they have operations and employees spread across several of the new states. Documenting and dividing the assets and liabilities of California into six pieces would cost billions of dollars and take decades, he said.

“That would be the greatest single misuse of time and money in the history of California,” Rodota said.

UPDATE @ 11:50 A.M.: “Defenders of the status quo want to highlight the negative possibilities, while I would rather highlight the potential that this initiative gives local communities across California,” Draper replied late Wednesday morning.

“Increased college and university tuition costs combined with impacted college admissions have already put a college education out of reach for many working families hurting our chances to grow the middle class,” he said. “It is my hope that a Six State solution allows for a reboot on many issues including the chance to tailor colleges to the local community. This could include the ability for the various colleges and universities to allow for the Six state residents to pay in-state tuition just as we allow for dreamers and visionaries who were brought to this state from other countries.”

“The time has come to start thinking about the potential to return power to local communities and stop thinking that every answer needs to come out of Sacramento,” he said.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Willis James

    I can’t really understand why anyone is spending any money to promote this or oppose it, since it will come to nothing.

    Having said that, I signed the sheet for the ballot proposition just so I could ask the calculator how much he was getting.

    $1 per signature…. about standard.

    Looking at everything I will vote for it if for no other reason than Steven Maviglio is opposing it. As much as anyone in the stinking mess in Sacramento, Maviglio is 100% for keeping the swamp well stocked with the usual malleable suspects and damaging practices.

  • RRSenileColumnist

    I want my own state with a few friends.

  • Steven Maviglio

    Well thank you Willis. Considering we’ve never met, I appreciate the compliment.

  • Willis James

    You opposed fair redistricting reform
    “Todays coalition represents an impressive gathering from across the political spectrum, and perhaps that’s what’s worrying political insiders like Steve Maviglio, a spokesperson for California Assembly leader Fabian Nunez. Maviglio became the first Californian to state his opposition to Common Cause’s proposal today in a blog posting and in comments to reporters. Maviglio seems to think that drawing political boundaries is too complicated and complex a task for a commission of citizens without help from experts in the legislature. It’s a little like arguing that we should put criminals on jury’s because they know lots more about crime than ordinary law abiding folks do.


    You also opposed Prop 14, the “top two” voting reform that finally allowed us to have a few real elections in November.

    In short you are a person dedicated to keeping all the power in the hands of your buddies in Sacramento and elsewhere.

    You are a eager beaver who has made a life project of keeping the dams in place thus keeping the swamp alive and well stocked with the type of politicians a dirty festering swamp produces

  • Steve Frisch

    Yeah, I want my own State too! I will call it The State of Steve.

    Oh, wait, I woke up. Darn.

    On second thought I guess I better go back to work trying to make California a great place to live, work and play by healing the urban rural divide that is leading to a state where the richest and poorest live next to each other but fail to share the same opportunity for greatness.

    This proposal would waste time, money, reputation and energy on a senseless libertarian fantasy while having absolutely no chance of being adopted by Congress or the state legislature.

    Perhaps we should spend our energy making sure everyone has health care, access to a great education, clean air and water, is imbued with entrepreneurial spirit, and enjoys the social and economic mobility that rewards hard work. That is a One California that we can achieve.

  • EJA032

    Logic fails. If the above were really true, Steve should want 6 California’s as each one of his “buddies” or group of “buddies” could take hold of each one of the 6 California’s… Steve and his friends in control X 6. But that is as logical as Draper wanting to make 6 California’s. Draper is looking to have some time in the spotlight. It is the wish of all those who have made great wealth and feel “unloved” by the mainstream media. Maybe Draper should go after one of the Kardashian’s — think of it, Mr. Draper — Instant fame! You too could be on the cover of Vogue or be followed by more twitter people than you could imagine — and all for doing absolutely nothing important that will make one angstrom of difference in the world! Draper… Dude… go for it!

  • JohnW

    I understand that Vladimir Putin wants to reorganize California into the California Federation and is promising support for enclaves of oppressed Russian-speaking Californians.

  • Steven Maviglio

    Wow, who knew I had a political stalker? Yes, I oppose redistricting being dictated by a handful of partisans unaccountable to any citizen. And yes, I oppose a Top 2 primary where in most areas of the state, Democrats aren’t able to vote for Democrats in November and where Republicans aren’t able to vote for Republicans, and where third parties have been essentially eliminated from the ballot.

  • Willis James

    “Wow, who knew I had a political stalker? ”

    Nice try to characterize anyone who follows politics and sees your name over and over and over.

    I love your “concern” for third parties and them being eliminated from the ballot.

    Yes that is why CA Dem Party chair John Burton and GOP chair Ron Nehring marched arm in arm across the state, from radio show to radio show, telling the voters to reject the “top two” voting change. John Burton, a man who cares about fairness above all else.

    Yes, you guys really show us how much you care about our rights to competitive elections.
    Thus after the voters passed fair redistricting twice, you personally still came back and tried to foist Prop 27 on us, that would have taken control of reapportionment back into the hands of the honorable legislators in Sacramento.

    You know, the fine senators we see in the news daily.
    That YOU and your buddies actually tried to pass Prop 27 shows your true colors.

    You care NOTHING about democracy and competitive elections.
    The public saw right through you and your lame attempts suggesting you were doing it for our good.
    How nice of you.

    You’ve been at it so long, you can’t even sense how much the place stinks.

    With your preferences in place, we in Alameda County would never have had a competitive election for Congress between Pete Stark and Eric Swalwell.
    This year we’d never have a competitive election between Honda and Khanna.

    You, Burton, Nehring, care nothing about the public’s right to have fair elections.
    In that sense you are disgusting.
    I don’t think that is being too harsh at all to describe you and your attempts to eliminate real democracy.

  • Elwood

    “John Burton, a man who cares about fairness above all else.”

    That may be the funniest thing I’ve ever read on this blog.

  • Teresa Nolivo

    Leave my California alone please

  • RRSenileColumnist

    It isn’t “yours” to begin with. A real Californian knows humans have Looted and spoiled this splendid land, endangering the animals and plants that are the true inhabitants of this region.

  • Elwood

    Save the salt marsh harvest mouse!

  • rwmmiller

    I am awfully late to this discussion, but where are the concrete issues against the six states? I guess that hasn’t been determined until they get this group up and going. I am looking forward to the “real” debate for and against 6 Californias.

  • Goldcoaster

    Anytime you have democrats and republicans both opposing an issue, you can assume the issue is probably a good idea.
    anything that would increase government efficiency, give more local control, get big government out of our lives, will be opposed by both.
    I will never vote republican again. a pox on both their slimy houses.

  • Greg M

    The state is completely unmanageable in its current form. A small business is much easier to run than one giant large business with many layers of management. This idea should at minimum be listened to with an open mind. Breaking it into small segments would be easier to manage and could possible benefit all Californians through better educational opportunities and business ventures.

  • gaia

    By your logic, Microsoft, Google, Walmart, Phillip-Morris, Coca-cola and any other number of business should split up too. Big isn’t necessarily bad.

  • JohnW

    There are ways to create more local autonomy without breaking up the state. I haven’t seen much analysis of the map of the proposed six states, but the thinking behind them looks pretty shallow to me.