Split California into 3 states? Voters could decide soon

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The smallest of the three states, simply referred to as California, would be composed of what is now known as the central coast and Los Angeles, with a median income of $53,000.

Billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper says his petition to break up California into three states has garnered enough signatures for the initiative to be added to the ballot this November.

Even if the placed on November's ballot, splitting California into three states would require congressional approval. It still leaves northern California conservatives who feel ignored by urban liberals in the same Northern California state as Sacramento and the Bay Area.

The initiative proposes a central state that would consist of Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and San Benito counties; a southern state made up of Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Fresno, Tulare, Inyo, Madera and Mono counties; and the 40 remaining counties grouped into a northern states. The three new states would still be among the top ten most populous in the country.

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Draper says his vision for partitioning California would be parallel to other states that have been partitioned, including the Dakotas, the Carolinas, and the Virginias. The median income in that area is listed as $45,000.

Take the University of California (UC) system, for example.

"How are you going to tell a family that lives in Los Angeles they have to pay out of state tuition to go to Berkeley", Rodota asked.

And even if it passes, it all has to be approved by Congress, who might not be eager to dilute their own power by creating four new US senators for the West Coast.

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"There's very little support for tripling California's representation in the U.S. Senate", said Jack Pitney, who teaches politics at Claremont McKenna College.

Still, Draper says it's California's nature to push the envelope.

There's also water rights, state pensions, prisons and education funding.

"California dreams big", he said.

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