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Silicon Valley investor wants to split California into six states

December 21, 2013|By Jessica Guynn
  • Silicon Valley investor Tim Draper wants to break California into six states.
Silicon Valley investor Tim Draper wants to break California into six states. (Tim Draper )

SAN FRANCISCO -- Technology investor Tim Draper is trying to drum up support to split California into six states, one of them being Silicon Valley.

His argument for redrawing the California map: The state is underrepresented in Washington. He's looking to get an initiative on the California ballot.

He told TechCrunch: “It is about time California was properly represented with senators in Washington. Now our number of senators per person will be about average.”

California has a long history of secessionist fervor. Now Silicon Valley is coming up with its own version, fueled by growing anti-government sentiment.

In October at Y Combinator Startup School, one tech entrepreneur called for Silicon Valley to secede from the United States altogether.

Balaji Srinivasan, co-founder of San Francisco–based genetics company Counsyl, gave a talk to aspiring entrepreneurs about "Silicon Valley's ultimate exit," which outlined his vision of a tech world free of the constraints of government.

"We need to build opt-in society, outside the U.S., run by technology," Srinivasan said.

This techno-utopian vision of a world insulated from big-government intrusion is not new to Silicon Valley, which has some deep libertarian roots.

Google CEO Larry Page, during his Google I/O keynote in May, spoke of his desire to set aside a place in the world where technological experimentation can be conducted unfettered by regulation. ("There are many exciting things you could do that are illegal or not allowed by regulation," Page said.)

Investor Peter Thiel has championed the “seasteader” movement, which would create floating societies off the coast of California just beyond the clutches of the U.S. government.

And the Blueseed project wants to put foreign-born workers on a cruise ship off the coast of Northern California in international waters to evade immigration laws.

Draper recently said he would not participate in his investment firm's next fund, so he has some time on his hands to devote to this new six-state project. He's holding a news conference Monday.

Under his proposal, the northernmost new state would be called Jefferson and would encompass these counties: Butte, Colusa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Plumas, Siskiyou, Shasta, Tehama and Trinity.

Just south of that, Northern California state would encompass these counties: Amador, El Dorado, Marin, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba.

The state called Central California would be the only one to have no coastline, and it would encompass Alpine, Calaveras, Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare and Tuolumne counties.

Silicon Valley state would encompass these counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Monterey, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz.

The state named West California would encompass these counties: Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura.

And finally, South California state would encompass Imperial, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties.

What do you think of Draper's plan for California? Let us know in the comments.

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