Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper will submit signatures Tuesday to put what could be one of the most dramatic startups ever on the ballot - a plan to divide California into six states.Second off, it's a fairly transparent plan to break up Democratic dominance within the state, the "six states" proposed being gerrymandered in such a way as to eke out three conservative states from the rural portions of the state. And it suffers from the continued Silicon Valley problem of gigantic and uncalled-for egotism, the general premise that being a tech millionaire means it's now time to inform the masses as to how your run-of-the-mill Ayn Randisms are now ingenious because you said so.
Draper, speaking to a crowd of tech insiders in San Francisco earlier this year, insisted his plan was not - as some critics have suggested - a means of getting more Republican representation in California. He said he was simply aiming to spread Silicon Valley's spirit of innovation to the entire state, which he said has been struggling with partisanship and lack of leadership as businesses decamp for better climates. [...]Tech man's burden, bringin' disruptive innovation to the dullard masses. Sorry—the story of wealthy businessmen funding ballot measures to pass transparently self-serving but state-damaging things is a bit of a sore spot in this state, it being something that happens Every Single Damn Election. The measures are then advertised by groups like "Citizens for Happier Puppies," which turns out to be a front for the American Puppy Crushers Association, and we get lovely ads about how taxes will go down if we stop oppressing industries that just want to give all our puppies sharp metal hugs.
Draper is no stranger to the challenges of expensive state ballot measures. In 2000, he spent $20 million on a failed measure to support school vouchers.
All right, let's make this quick. California has some problems, but "partisanship" is a rather facile explanation—and by "facile," I mean toddler-ish. Requiring supermajorities of the legislature to accomplish Basic Things would be a big problem, thank you very much past anti-government crackpots with petition drives. Continued efforts to further disembowel an educational system that was once among the top in the nation would be a big problem, thank you very much anti-tax and pro-voucher zealots. Yada yada yada Prop. 13, yada yada yada Silicon Valley doesn't seem to be going anywhere, yada yada whatever. Thanks to Rich Guy petition drives, we impeached a governor because the massively crooked Enron (successfully!) blackmailed the entire effing state and California Rich Guys saw an opportunity to replace him with someone friendlier to the damn grifters. We then elected a Republican actor instead because, Christ, the guy from the action movies was literally the most serious Republican left in the entire state. Rich Guy petition drives have done a number on our fair state, a number and then some, but this particular one stretches too far. Even if you could get the votes for it (not likely), do we really think Congress would take such a thing up? The California legislature?
There's something to be said for splitting our massive state in two, mind you, and it keeps getting talked about in a way that will also not be happening anytime soon; any sensible, non-gerrymandered straight-lined split would likely result in both states leaning Democratic, hence the squiggly lines of the Rich Guy proposal. Equally likely and plausible would be a new Rich Guy petition to elevate Silicon Valley onto a large platform floating one mile above the California landscape so that they don't have to associate with the rest of us anymore, and I expect that one to be on our 2016 ballots. High speed rail, now that's controversial, but we'll eliminate at least three entire school years to pay for that damn platform.