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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Divided We Might Stand a Better Chance

August 25, 2004

Re "Our Cluttered Constitution," editorial, Aug. 22: California does need to reinvent itself, but a constitutional convention wouldn't go far enough toward a real solution.

Years ago, proposals to divide California into three (Northern, Central and Southern) or more states didn't get traction. Now may be the time to revisit that radical idea.

The advantages are clear: smaller, more responsive government that is more accountable to the people and their common needs; an end to the monopoly of special interests that prevent true reform; a multiplicity of opportunities to create a more sustainable relationship between local and state governments; and six or more U.S. senators instead of just two.

Sure, it would be messy. Dividing up the responsibilities on issues such as higher education, water resources and other infrastructure would be challenging. But the process would also force a reexamination of what constitutes a state in 21st century America. And as California goes, so goes the nation.

Tom Tomeoni

Thousand Oaks

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