A proposed ballot initiative from tech investor Tim Draper would turn California into six states, including one just for Silicon Valley.
Draper, who has thrown money behind Skype, Hotmail and Tesla Motors, says he’ll submit his “Six Californias” proposal to the state’s attorney general forthwith, but he’s already set up a campaign website.
In an email to TechCrunch, he laid out his reasoning for the initiative to establish the states of Jefferson, North California, Central California, Silicon Valley, West California and South California.
1. It is about time California was properly represented with Senators in Washington. Now our number of Senators per person will be about average.
2. Competition is good, monopolies are bad. This initiative encourages more competition and less monopolistic power. Like all competitive systems, costs will be lower and service will be better.
3. Each new state can start fresh. From a new crowd sourced state flower to a more relevant constitution.
4. Decisions can be more relevant to the population. The regulations in one new state are not appropriate for another.
5. Individuals can move between states more freely.
With long-heard cries for the creation of Jefferson, California is no stranger to the secessionist cause, and while Draper may be the first from the tech community to bring the proposal to a ballot, his proposal echoes ideas from some of his peers. PayPal founder Peter Thiel put $1.25 million into establishing floating, libertarian islands, and Balaji Srinivasan, cofounder of genetics startup Counsyl, once suggested the creation “opt-in” societies guarded from government meddling.
The initiative likely stands no chance of passing -- polls say most Californians oppose secession, and the measure would need to pass state voters and be approved by Congress -- but Draper’s initiative sheds an interesting light on an industry that doesn’t always want to play by the rules.
“It's a passive-aggressive swipe at the less economically productive regions of California, cloaked in a measure that purports to be good for all citizens of the state,” New York Magazine deduced. “Tim Draper wants the protection afforded by the United States government, without having to submit to the taxes and regulatory slow-footedness coming out of Sacramento. He wants Silicon Valley to be independent enough to play around with drones and genetic engineering, but not so independent that it needs its own military.”
If anything, Draper’s ballot proposal -- in all its improbability -- shows just how far some of the tech community is willing to go to gain autonomy.