Measure to split California into 3 states makes November general election ballot

Ariel Lung/Staff

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Californians will vote in November on an initiative to split California into three states.

The California Three States Initiative, or Cal 3, was proposed by venture capitalist Tim Draper. It calls for the division of the state of California into three new states: Northern California, Southern California and California.

Residents of each state would be allowed to choose a different name for their state. After amassing the requisite number of votes to be put on the ballot on June 12, the initiative is now slated to be voted on in November.

“I doubt if the voters of California are stupid enough to split it into three states,” said Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington.

Worthington said that given the size and economic influence of California as a single state, splitting the state would be difficult and disadvantageous.

If passed, the initiative would have the state governor ask Congress to federally approve the division. The initiative has generated controversy among California constituents.

According to UC Berkeley political science lecturer Ted Lempert, the chances of the bill being approved are “very slim.” If the ballot passed, Lempert said it would be logistically infeasible because it would necessitate the division and rearrangement of so many institutions situated in California, from the public university systems to the labelling of license plates.

“The focus should be put on how to make this large, diverse state more governable,” said Lempert.

Despite the controversy, supporters of the initiative argue that dividing the state would make it easier to govern, one of the more prominent arguments for supporting the initiative.

Other arguments for supporting the initiative include the possibility of stronger education, as students can be focused on in smaller regions, more governmental control over infrastructure decisions that would improve infrastructure quality, and lower taxes, according to the initiative’s website.

Although Lempert said he is against the division of the state, he said, “People view themselves by region. … A smaller state avoids the issue of 40 million people.”

ASUC External Affairs Vice President Nuha Khalfay said dividing up California could be an issue for the UC system and its students once boundaries are redrawn.

A breakup of the state of California could result in changes in tuition for California residents who were previously in-state, as students could be living in a region different from the region where the college they attend is located, Khalfay said. She added that the split could prove problematic for the CSU system and community colleges, as well as the UC system.

“From a UC perspective, it would split the state inequitably,” Khalfay said. “It limits the options for California state residents in terms of where they want to pursue higher education.”

Contact Jasmine Sheena at [email protected].