A move financed and pushed by a persistent California billionaire has finally made it onto the November ballot.
This is the third attempt by venture capitalist Tim Draper to get his idea of dividing California into several smaller states onto the ballot for a vote of the people. His earlier petition attempts, which would have called for a vote to divide the state into six smaller states, failed to meet signature requirements.
The version which will be voted on in November calls for California to be divided into three smaller states, which Mr Hopper has labeled, Northern California, California, and Southern California. Even if the petition gets a majority of the popular vote, this does to meant that California will be divided into three separate states.
The question of statehood is a federal matter. The United States Constitution provides that existing states in the Union cannot be subdivided without the consent of the state legislatures and the United States Congress.
Here is the pertinent verbiage:
New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new state shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state, nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, without consent of the legislatures of the states concerned, as well as of the Congress.
The last time a state was divided was when West Virginia broke off from Virginia as a result of the Civil War. If I remember correctly, the last state to be admitted to the Union was Hawaii, in 1959. I believe that President Gerald Ford asked Congress to admit Puerto Rico to the Union, but this went nowhere.
California’s upcoming vote is a reading on the will of the people of California. But it will be the will of California legislature and the United States Congress that decides the matter. That’s as it should be, since the composition of the Union affects every American citizen.
In the meantime, there is another question for us to ponder, and that is the overweening power that the concentration of wealth has given to a few people to direct the actions of our government. We are seeing more of government by the rich guys in this country, and it raises the question if we really want an oligarchy here. I, for one, do not.