Bob Dunning

Bob Dunning: I’ll take a California split with nuts on the side

By From page A2 | May 07, 2014

I hate to admit it, but I actually like Tim Draper’s potential ballot initiative to divide California into six distinct states, though I do think six might actually be too low.

I’m also in favor of dividing Davis into six cities, given that my humble East Davis neighborhood hasn’t been represented on our “at-large” City Council since before the time of Christ.

Seems we need a little affirmative action to give proper representation to the other side of the tracks, where people are too busy trying to scrape together a living to ever consider a run for the council. I mean, it’s hard to work the night shift at 7-Eleven and participate in those 2 a.m. decisions by the Davis City Council.

That aside, the Split California concept, proposed by Draper, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, has considerable merit, even if his map is a bit goofy.

Basically, it seems Draper is unhappy that California, with a population creeping ever closer to 40 million, has the same number of U.S. senators as Wyoming, with a population of 563,626, including jackrabbits and antelope, and the offspring of those two species, the elusive jackalope.

While it might not seem fair to determine national representation in such a manner, the U.S. Constitution is clear that every state, including the least populated, gets two U.S. senators, even if only two people live in that state.

Thus, if we split California into six parts, we’d suddenly have 12 U.S. senators, but given that several of those states likely would be red, several blue and several in between, it’s certain not to do much to solve the current gridlock in Washington, D.C.

State governments, of course, under the landmark “one man, one vote” U.S. Supreme Court decision of 1964, have to base their legislatures strictly on population, whether they have a one-house legislature or a two-house legislature.

Interestingly, Draper’s six proposed states vary wildly in population. They are not close to containing an equal number of people.

His “West California,” encompassing Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, would have 11.6 million people, while the 14 counties that make up sagebrush-rich and people-scarce “Jefferson” wouldn’t even reach 1 million.

And while many of us think Davis should be a state unto itself as the leader of All Things Right and Relevant, we’d be lumped into “Northern California” with the rest of Yolo County, plus Yuba, Sutter, Sonoma, Solano, Sierra, Sacramento, Placer, Nevada, Napa, Marin, El Dorado and Amador.

In other words, we’d get a little bit of coastline, a little bit of skiing, all sorts of wine, and piles and piles of almonds, walnuts, rice and tomatoes.

Let’s see what the Northern California Tourist Bureau could do with those diverse qualities.

Jefferson, as many travelers to extreme northern California already know, has been a state-in-the-making for many years now.

Under Draper’s plan, Jefferson gets the counties of Butte, Colusa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Plumas, Siskiyou, Shasta, Tehama and Trinity, which means it gets the most beautiful mountains in the state, including several volcanoes, plus the best salmon fishing, the best crabbing and all the redwoods. Hardly seems fair.

Maybe our own Northern California could trade 4 million acres of tomatoes for one volcano (It hasta be Shasta) and two first-round draft choices.

The more I think about it, the more I like it. If it makes the ballot, I’ll vote for it.

Unfortunately, the residents of this country’s other 49 states — most of them afflicted with California envy — are likely to vote unanimously against us.

— Reach Bob Dunning at [email protected]

Bob Dunning

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