SACRAMENTO, July 15 (UPI) -- Venture capitalist Tim Draper said California could become "six great states" as he delivered petitions Tuesday for a referendum on a break-up.
Draper said he and his supporters have gathered 1.3 million signatures, far more than the 807,615 needed to get the issue on the ballot in November 2016.
Petitions were turned in at the 58 county registrar's offices across the state, Draper said. He was at the county registrar's office in Sacramento with petitions he said bore a total of 44,000 signatures.
"Our gift to California is this -- it's one of opportunity and choice," said Draper, who spent more than $1 million on the petition drive. "We are ready to make a change. "We're saying, make one failing government into six great states."
Under Draper's plan, California would become six states. Four would be centered on major metropolitan areas: South California on San Diego, West California on Los Angeles, Silicon Valley on the San Francisco-San Jose-Oakland area, and North California on Sacramento and San Francisco's northern suburbs. Two would be predominantly rural: Central California with the Central Valley and much of the Sierras, and Jefferson in the region near the Oregon state line.
Draper said the plan would give Californians the freedom to choose the services they want and even their own state bird -- no word on which state would get the California quail. He said under the current system the number of Californians living in poverty or in prison has jumped sharply.
Draper's battle is an uphill one. Breaking up California would have to be approved by the U.S. Congress, where representatives might not want to add to their numbers, and the state legislature, which is now dominated by Democrats.
With 38 million residents, California is the most populous state. It ranks third in size after Alaska and Texas, is the 11th most densely populated and has eight of the 50 largest cities in the United States.