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Troy Senik and John Yoo
Break Up the Golden State? « Back to Story

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Any chance one of the States will allow torture?
Authors should look again at the language of the ballot initiative: It claims the "Legislative consent" required is done via vote of "the people." And they certainly might be right, as far as I can tell (no expert myself). Maybe a court will have to decide. Here's some of that language from the initiative itself.

A. The people, acting as the legislative body of the State pursuant to their reserved legislative power provided by the Calfiornia Constitution, hereby: ...
(4) Provide the legislative consent for the formation of six new states to Congress as required by the United States Constitution; ....

Section 173(a) Upon enactment of this section, the legislative consent required by Section 3 of Article IV of the United States Constitution for the creation of six (6) states within the current boundaries of the State of California, established pursuant to Article 3 of this Code, is given by the people
"Why is he going for six? Why not a more reasonable Northern and Southern California?"


Note for a moment that New Zealand is a prosperous country, as is Norway. They have populations just north of 4 million and a national metropolis somewhat north of 1 million.

In the United States, among the most sophisticated services you find widely distributed (and requiring on-site infrastructure) would be those provided by the university medical center. Such medical centers have catchments which average about 1.5 million and are fairly reliably present in concentrated population centers exceeding 650,000.

This should give us the idea that a range for the population of a typical provincial unit of government in the United States would be somewhere between 1.5 million and 4.5 million with a core city north of 650,000 (but, one hopes, not demographically dominating the remainder of the territory). California in toto has a population of 38.5 million, so the opportunities for sensible decentralization are more extensive than those claimed by merely bisecting the state.

Now, you have five concentrated population centers exceeding 650,000 in dimensions: greater Los Angeles (14.6 million), greater San Francisco, &c. (5.6 million), greater San Diego (3.0 million), greater Sacramento (1.75 million), and greater Fresno (650,000). If you bisect the state around Chowchilla, you create a boundary somewhere around where the influence of LA replaces San Francisco, &c. Deducting the major urban globs and setting-them up as city-states leaves a northern and southern residuum with populations similar to North Carolina each with sophisticated cities therein. You could bisect the southern portion into "San Diego" and "Fresno" portions; however, I think that would create a Southern California demographically dominated by San Diego, which is undesirable.
Six states of California sounds about right to me. BUT I propose allowing the whole state to secede from the US and form its own country. Then the new country and its residents would be free to govern themselves free of any interference from the rest of the US. The state as it exists now is a fiefdom for rich residents who spend obscene amounts of money to pass laws that are favorable to one segment versus another segment of the population. It already appears to me that anything, and I mean anything, can be bought and sold in CA and influence is certainly a commodity on the block. The main problem I see with this arrangement is that an impenetrable wall would have to be erected to keep citizens inside the new state or more of them will escape. It is my observation that citizen vote means absolutely nothing to the rulers of the state now and if California forms its own country, it will be completely controlled by left wingers and any law that is passed by the majority of voters can be overturned automatically by the left wing courts. Or the rulers could just declare voting obsolete. Nature may solve the question of what to do with the whole state with the next earthquake and the biggest portion of the existing state will sink to the ocean floor. Problem solved.
A ready alternative which does not face constitutional hurdles would be a new constitution to reconstitute California as a confederation. For purposes of congressional representation, it would remain one state with one set of U.S. Senators, but each component would have its own law code and own government. You could have some filaments connecting the components - joint commissions and residual privileges - but otherwise they would lead separate lives. Four components would be sensible: greater Los Angeles, greater San Francisco-San Jose - Oakland, northern residuum, and southern residuum. You could have a floating boundary between them, so that territory would be slowly re-allocated to the cities as tract development progressed. There would be frictional costs to the dissolution, but ultimately it would allow dissimilar areas self-government.
Several other states should split up as well.
Upstate NY has ZERO in common with the NYC greater metropolitan area. In fact, much of upstate NY resembles Appalachia, yet because of the population of the NYC region, they effectively control the entire NY legislature, rendering the folks of upstate NY, in essence, without much to say about how they can govern themselves.
Ditto for Illinois, where S.Illinois should secede from Cook County. Cook County , a bankrupt, criminal, political enterprise also has ZERO in common with the primarily agricultural counties of S.Illinois. The large population of Cook County gives the criminals who run that gangster haven way too much power in running the state.
The counties in and around Philadelphia should be split off from the rest of the state of Pennsylvania. Philly is a basket case and always will be a basket case.
California IS ungovernable. S.California is an extension of Mexico and has ZERO in common with N.California. And Central Calif. has ZERO in common with the liberal progressive/socialist/neocommunist, multimillionaire elitists who control the Bay Area.
Politicians have totally ruined several states (as they have the USA, but that is another issue), and if portions of states that are well run become separate states, it will accelerate the well deserved demise of the basket case, criminally run cities and their environs that are dragging down the remainder of their states. It will also facilitate movement of businesses and people to well run locales.
The founding fathers of this nation never envisioned the rise of a corrupt ruling class at ALL levels of government combined with the institution of a massive welfare state and powerful municipal unions. It is these two latter forces that WILL destroy the USA, as they have many cities and counties.
The Constitution must be amended to facilitate the breakup of existing states so that, by vote of those wishing to secede from their state, and WITHOUT the permission of the existing state, they may do so.
I believe Art. 4 Sec. 3 is only applicable to the admission of new states or polities into the Union, the seating of representatives and senators, and the extension of federal aid and power to entities other than citizens or individuals in general. The proponent of Six-Californias has already said that a reorganization of California government is the chief objective, even if new state admission is unresolved.

The bigger issue on the landscape is the Constitutional provision that state governments be "republican in nature". This has never been tested or resolved. With the exception of Nebraska, all states have slavishly copied the US bicameral legislative model, with all its top-heavy unfunctionality. In Hawaii, Queen Liliokulani was overthrown with no nicety of litigation. The one man-one vote principal has been used to challenge disproportional representation through state senates, but what exactly "republican" or not about that.

Meanwhile, the "jungle primary" system has caught on in Washington and elsewhere, to vitiate the survival of the Republican Party. A disaffected loser in a party primary can again run as a third candidate and seal the fate of one party in a runoff (a violation of Amm I., freedom of assembly--as a party with a substantive right to exist as such). And in NY, you have 'rotten borough' counties that fail to reach the required 100,000 residents to even exist. But the right of the Peconic area of Long Island to form a numerically viable county was squelched.

We are only beginning to deal with the crap of derelict, illegitimate government on all levels, and Six-Cali is where to start. Then again, if SCOTUS gets in the way with more Prop 8 thinking, we have the Green Men in ski masks to look to.
Faceless Commenter May 02, 2014 at 11:17 PM

1 - California's problem is its Democrat Party legislature, and

2 - The solution is measures that Democrats would never enact -- rather than divide the state so new localities could solve the problems down at the ground where they occur.

You've convinced me. California must be split up.
I was born and raised back East, and lived there for 28 years before moving to California, where I've lived (in both West LA and Silicon Valley) for the past 32 years.

While I was growing up back East during the 50's-70's, we continually heard two distinct views of California: 1) that it was a land of great opportunity, wonderful weather, and open-minded people, and 2) that it was "like a bowl of granola -- when you get rid of the fruits and nuts, all you have left are the flakes". I heard this so often that I realized that both must be true, at least to some extent. (And of course, the East Coast has its good and bad points as well -- no place is perfect.)

So, having a lot of time to think on the long 6-day drive out here in the summer of 1982 for business school, I decided that I would make a conscious effort to try to look for -- and adopt -- those things that the Californians do better than the East-Coasters, and retain those things that the East-Coasters do better than the Californians. (And yes, there are some/many things that East-Coasters do better.)

That decision was one of the best I've ever made in my life. As a result, I am fortunate to have a perspective that most Californians simply don't (and can't) have. And I've found that those who disagree have lived in CA most, if not all of their lives -- and have drunk the "CA is better than everywhere else" Kool-Aid. In some ways, yes -- it other ways, no.

Back in 1982, California was politically moderate -- if a bit left-of-center. This was fine with me (I am a little bit right-of-center, at least by the rest of the country's standards -- which now makes me an extreme Conservative in the Bay Area). And over the years, I've come to realize that the answers to most issues are somewhere in the middle third of the political spectrum.

I think this "six states" idea (written by a full-of-himself, spoiled "rich-kid" -- I've met him, and his reputation is well-known) ignores California's real problem. That fundamental problem is that, over the past 30 years, the CA populace has moved radically to the left -- which is just as problematic as would be if it had moved radically to the right.

I also think that there's a high probability that the state has "passed the tipping point", from which it is unlikely to return.

As I see it, and based on my personal experience, the only people who recognize and will admit this are for the most part moderate to conservative in their thinking.

These are people who who have worked hard, taken risks, feel confident that they've honestly earned what they have -- and are more than happy to "pay their fair share" of taxes to the California and the Feds.

In school, they learned "how" to think, rather than "what" to think. They believe that "actual results achieved" count for more than "effort and good intentions". And they intuitively understand that while everyone has an equal right to an opinion, that doesn't necessarily mean that everyone's opinion is equally well thought out, and hence of equal merit.

At the same time, these people -- largely "Baby Boomers" (most of their parents who came to CA in the 40's - 60's have passed away) -- are retiring and have gotten fed up with California. And as the statistics show, they are leaving California in droves, and taking their hard-earned money with them.

These Baby Boomers would prefer to stay here in California, but they've come to realize that California:

1) is broke, is becoming more broke every year, and unlike the US Government, can't print money to solve this problem (at least temporarily, that house of cards will eventually fall as well)

2) is getting to the end of the current long-term economic cycle (we're now based on web sites that are "advertising-based" and that users won't pay for (Facebook, Twitter, et. al.), rather than companies making things customers actually will pay for (Intel, HP). Everything in life moves in cycles, and the economy (yes, even California's economy) is no different.

3) doesn't even recognize what the State's problems are, much less have the political will to solve them.

4) is raiding it's citizens' their hard-earned retirement accounts via higher taxes and fees.

So, Baby Boomers are increasingly moving to more tax friendly states such as Texas (young families looking for more economic opportunity), Arizona and Nevada (retirees with money) -- and they are taking their money with them!

And unfortunately, I doubt that things will change anytime soon, since these types of trends tend to last decades.

The lessons needed to be learned to fix these problems are hard to learn, and take a long time.

P.S. Now, watch and see how many one or two sentence "rebuttals" come forth, with little rational thought to support them -- or an attempt to discredit my comments based on the "bowl of granola" reference.
The biggest reason for certain failure, in the long term, is that it only moves the scale of California's present issues: large urban areas, packed with people, "runing" the larger rural areas, thus effectively disenfranchising the scattered rural populations and failing to address their specific needs. All this does is create six new states, each centred round a huge metropolitan area which will continue the sickness. Those urban areas will continue to select Senators, inured to the wishes of their rural fellow state residents; continue to saddle the rural areas with stupid legislaion penalising the little guys, small businesses, etc. This is a stupid plan. Far better would be to redistrict, ending the insane level of gerrymandering (making some counties and cities look like digital swiss cheese, and guaranteeing in perpetuity the desired outcome in all electins). That, and pass some state laws ending union representation for "public servants" which have the certain effect of turning the public into the servants of the workers, who do very little of that.
For each of the 6 proposed states, based on recent history:

--What would be the expected population

--What would be gross domestic product

--Historically, what has been average and median income

--What would be recent tax money sent to the current state, and recent money spent within the new state by the current state
Texas works because it is a small government-freedom loving state. Diversity doesn't cause a state to be "ungovernable," liberalism does. Look at cities that are thriving versus the ones that are complete basket cases (Detroit anyone?). Liberalism and all of its regulations, rules, and government dependency creates the dysfunction found in CA. Without reform (or division), CA will just become a very large Detroit.
newgeography, on 4/26/14, ran a piece entitled, "Silicon Valley's Giants Are Just Gilded Age Tycoons In Techno-Utopian Clothes". The "quick-fix optimism one might expect from a Silicon Valley denizen" arises, I think, directly from this "tycoon-ish" mindset. It isn't even so much optimism as it is a seeming desire to fence oneself off from one's perceived social and economic inferiors that drives Draper (and other similar characters from Wall Street and the Silicon Valley) to spout their nonsense. Fortunately, as Mr. Senik and Mr. Yoo point out, our Founding Fathers foresaw the likely rise of this self-appointed ruling caste. One can only pray that clearer heads prevail and that our Constitution is strong enough to withstand these continued onslaughts.
It would be really complicated. First, they'd have to think of new names - and people would fight over who gets to keep the name "California".

On the other hand all those new Senators might bring a balance to the Senate.

Another plan would be to make Los Angeles and San Francisco city-states - like those in Renaissance Italy).

Why is he going for six? Why not a more reasonable Northern and Southern California?
The story reports that Draper would apportion California's existing debt among the six new states by population. The poorer counties will never vote for that. They will insist on apportioning the debt according to wealth or income. Otherwise, they will be assuming a debt burden they can scarcely pay and likely don't regard as their responsibility.
Splitting California into 6 states will primarily have the result of converting 2 US Senators into 12 and will permanently cement a Democrat Party majority in the Senate for a 100 years!