For those who've driven from Southern California to Northern California, you've probably noticed that it's basically like traveling through different states. Well, this long standing joke might actually become a reality come November, thanks to a new measure that has made its way onto the California ballot. So, will California split into three states? The choice is in voters' hands.
On June 12, The Los Angeles Times reported that a vote to split California into three different states will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot during the 2018 midterm elections. If a majority of voters cast their ballots to agree with the decision, then the three new jurisdictions will be named "Southern California," "Northern California," and a new "California."
This is big news as is, but what's even more surprising is which cities will be included in each proposed new state. The lines between jurisdictions will be drawn in order to divide the population into thirds, which ultimately makes for some weird divisions. While hubs such as San Francisco and current state capital Sacramento will remain in its "Northern California" area, coastal city Monteray will be placed in the "California" jurisdiction. Plus, mega-city Los Angeles will also be placed within the "California" state while cities Bakersfield and Fresno will be considered a part of "Southern California," even though they're technically north of Los Angeles.
Huh. This year is truly one for the history books.
So why exactly is this proposal being set for a vote? Currently, California — like every other state — has two seats in the 100 member U.S. Senate. But as the most populous state in the nation, with more than 39 million residents, some critics think that's not enough. Advocates of the plan suggest that if California is split into three states, then it would be better represented with six seats in a 104-person chamber. They also suggest that a more regional state government would be better for residents.
Silicon Valley mogul Tim Draper, who submitted the proposal to split the state, spoke to The LA Times about the reasoning behind the proposal. “Three states will get us better infrastructure, better education and lower taxes,” Draper said. “States will be more accountable to us and can cooperate and compete for citizens.”
On the flip side, a change could cause problems. BuzzFeed noted that income and property taxes would vary across jurisdictions, with Southern California having a much smaller tax income than Northern California. The new states would also have to figure out how to split up resources currently held in common. To boot, Business Insider also suggests that a split might affect California's reliably Democratic voting record by splitting up the state's 55 votes in the electoral college, which elects the president.
However, all those hypothetical issues might stay hypothetical. According to an April 2018 poll, only about 17 percent of California voters were in favor of the proposal. Nevertheless, it's obvious that many people have pretty strong opinions on the topic.
This isn't the first time Californians have debated changing the structure of their state. In January 2017, following Donald Trump's victory in the 2016 presidential election, Californians entertained the idea of seceding from the United States. The initiative, called "Calexit," was spearheaded by the group Yes California, and they started collecting votes to have this proposal on the 2018 ballot. Marcus Ruiz Evans, the spokesperson for Yes California, spoke to The Los Angeles Times in January 2017 about the "Calexit" proposal, and how it would benefit Californians.
California loses [by] being a part of America culturally and financially. It could be a nation all its own, everybody knows that. The only question is if they want to break off.
Well, clearly that proposal didn't quite pan out, but it looks like a new development might be underway to determine the future of The Golden State. According to The LA Times, if it passes, this would be the first division of a U.S. state since West Virginia was created in 1863, after choosing not to follow the rest of Virginia when that state seceded from the Union during the Civil War.
From beaches to Hollywood lights, California is a state that people from around the world want to experience. I may not be a Californian at the moment, but it's honestly one of the most magical places in all the United States. I don't know about y'all, but I truly can't wrap my mind around the idea that this historic state might be splitting up. Is it just me, or does this seem like a breakup where the people decide to "still be friends" after calling it quits?
Who knows what November will bring, but in the meantime, stay golden, California.