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.