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Zachary Antoyan is a political science senior and Mustang News liberal columnist. These views do not necessarily reflect the opinion or editorial coverage of Mustang News.
Oh come on, six mini-Californias aren’t that bad of an idea. Just imagine how easy it would be to break into the political sphere of your new state. That’s, like, five new governor positions, 10 new U.S. Senator seats, and a handful of new U.S. Congressional spots, all totally up for grabs. And you know what that means for students? Internships, internships, indentured servitude to elected officials — I mean, internships! Hooray, more representation … All right, I can’t keep this up.
So currently there is this guy, his name is Don — no wait, Tim — Draper, and he is this big Silicon Valley venture capitalist. Mr. Moneybags over here has played a major role in the successes of companies such as Skype and Hotmail — which is totally still relevant — so naturally, he feels entitled to use this background to make domestic policy. His proposal is that we split up the Golden State into six smaller, more manageable states. Just for the chucklegoofs.
The states include: Jefferson all the way at the top, which is practically Oregon; North California, with Sacramento in it; Silicon Valley, which includes San Francisco; Central California with Fresno, Bakersfield and Stockton (that’s the fun state); West California with Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and little old San Luis Obispo; and finally, South California, including San Diego and Orange County.
His reasoning is as follows: “California, as it is, is ungovernable. It is more and more difficult for Sacramento to keep up with the social issues from the various regions of California. With six Californias, people will be closer to their state governments, and states can get a refresh.”
I can see how such a big place with such a large budget and population size can be hard to govern; California state politics are notoriously convoluted. But Draper also believes issues around California today are systemic, or that they derive from a lack of representation. He wants to split California so each state can compete with each other while being more responsive to local issues.
Unfortunately for Draper, there is no link between his solution and the problems in California that he identifies. The measure’s website claims splitting California will increase jobs, provide better education, create more affordable housing, result in better water management and decrease the volume of congestive traffic. Look out, we’ve got the saving grace of policy over here. The funny thing is each one of these points is accompanied only by one supporting paragraph, and quite literally zero statistics or references.
We have no guarantee that these benefits will come about as a result of this measure, and no facts to back up the claims. You don’t come up with your best ideas after the third bong rip, and just because your idea is rooted in greater representation, doesn’t mean that government will be more responsive. More representation does not mean better government.
Nor is this a reset for the proposed states. It’s not as if we make the split and then — poof — all fiscal responsibilities go away and each state has its own system of government automatically set up (i.e. a constitution, tax codes, a capitol and more). Poorer states such as Jefferson would inherit the budgetary issues of its area, leaving it alone to deal with them, while 20.8 percent of its constituency suffers in poverty. Meanwhile, Scrooge McDuck in the state of Silicon Valley only has to deal with where to plug in his Smart car. The wealth distribution between these two states would be astronomical, and the poorer states would be hard-pressed to find the tax revenue to close the gap in any way.
I won’t make any claim about the rich wanting to distance themselves from the poor, but with so little research to support claims of the benefit of this measure, we are left to determine Draper’s reasoning on our own. This is not an innovative solution, and Draper is a fool to think government can be run like a business, in which innovative solutions are used to increase a profit margin. Just because things don’t work doesn’t mean starting over is the solution. And even if you do pass it in California, good luck trying to get it passed at the federal level. I’m sure Democrats would be more than happy splitting up the 55 electoral votes that go Democrat in every presidential election.
This is Zachary Antoyan, going placidly among the noise and haste, trying to remember what peace there may be in silence. Have a fantastic week, everyone.