The latest idea out of Silicon Valley could get political. Venture capitalist Tim Draper is promoting a ballot initiative that would split California into six different states, including the state of Silicon Valley that would encompass the Bay Area and stretch down the coast to Monterey. Draper joins us to talk about his idea and why he believes that California, as currently constituted, has become “nearly ungovernable.”

Tim Draper, venture capitalist and Tech Investor at Draper Fisher Jurvetson

  • John L

    The sprawling boundaries of California were first conceived Centuries ago on the premise of being a giant land grab by distant colonial powers, first by the Spanish, and later by Yankees on the East Cost. For most of the Land’s history as an American State it was being used for agriculture and the extraction of natural resources. This is not the California under which we today live. The Land is among some of the most urbanized and thoroughly farmed in the world. Aside from with some of our architecture, the Spanish Empire has no presence in the ordinary Californian life. When a Californian uses the term “Yankee” it’s probably being used to describe someone who is a member of a baseball team.

    • L A

      Is some of your comment a quotation in which someone used the term Yankees? I ask because there are no quotation marks and you use the term Yankees yet you say it is a term commonly understood to mean a baseball player. I don’t understand what you are trying to say.

      • Bob Fry

        “Yankee” can mean a professional baseball player from the New York Yankees; someone from the New England states; someone from the northern states of the US; or someone from the US generally. All uses depend on the people using the word and the context.

        • Guest

          But why did you write your comment in the first place? Who used the word Yankee? You wrote many hours before the radio show so it wasn’t something someone said on the air.

          • John L

            As Bob Fry noted, quotes denote context. As you note, the context from which I quoted was not from the discussion that took place on the air. So, I politely ask you to consider whether there is another context. Perhaps there is more than one? I will give you a hint: Since my comment was meant to highlight differences in historical, political, economic, and cultural conditions, you might want to consider what the word “Yankee” has meant to people in different places and times.

  • Robert Thomas

    How would Mr Draper recommend that the University of California and the California State Universities be divided (and how would the campuses in poorer New Californias be closed)?

  • trite

    Maybe Mr. Draper’s idea would have worked better under the previous administration. Under Governor Brown, most polls seem to indicate that citizens are actually quite pleased with how the state is working.

  • Angelo

    Mr Draper correctly enumerates California’s problems, but his solution is nuts. The fix to California’s governance problem is a new state constitution that among other things limits governance by ballot initiative and give the power to manage the state back to an elected, representative legislature.

    • Robert Thomas

      The only reason that anyone fantasizes about dividing California is to (slightly) increase the West Coast’s grotesquely, disproportionately low representation in the United States Senate.

      Proposing it as a way for affluent, educated Californians on the one hand and for sociopathic, anti-social white-supremacist kooks, on the other, to mutually abandon pesky poor people is just flatulence.

  • James Ivey

    Personally, I’d rather secede from the union.

  • Vince Alcouloumre

    How would this affect sales tax revenue? In my case, a lot of my sales would become interstate sales thus reducing the amount of sales tax that Calif would be able to collect.

  • dave

    This proposal doesn’t hit at the core of California government’s dysfunction, which is fundamentally the 2/3 majority required to pass a budget and Proposition 13’s complete perversion of the tax system.

    Saying “putting people closer to government” will fix these very specific issues is profoundly naive.

    • Robert Thomas

      Who could have guessed (I certainly didn’t, in 1978, and didn’t see this at all until recent years) that the passage of Proposition 13 would serve as the ultimate poison pill administered by the California Republican Party to itself?

      It’s clear now that while (for example) the shifting of the tax burden precipitously and lopsidedly to the income tax as well as the anti-democratic strictures placed on revenue raising were disruptive and frustrating for the majority of Californians and their state representatives, the Republican Party’s single-minded focus on revenue has resulted in their abandoning electoral competition in any more than the one third of Senate OR Assembly seats required to restrain raising new revenue.

      In turn, this abandonment prevents Republican interference in ALL decisions (and there are many) that are revenue-neutral. Also, they are ineffective in perturbing the budgeting process with respect to current revenue. Governor Brown has demonstrated that good governance and the initiative process can circumvent even these revenue restrictions.

      Finally, Proposition 13, in its invitation to the Republican Party to defend only its most severely conservative districts, has denied the Party ANY state office and ANY chance to advance a candidate acceptable to the entire electorate a seat in the U.S. Senate.

      All in all, i find myself recommending that Democrats in other states ask to be thrown into the Briar Patch of their own Propositions 13. As they sow, so shall we all happily reap.

      • Robert Thomas

        As another example of the beneficence of Proposition 13, the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry effectively instructed the plaintiffs that their avenue of redress in the failure of the State of California’s decision not to enforce the statutes of Proposition 8 was that Californians elect different state officers.

        The plaintiffs appear unable to do this, at this time.

  • Robert Thomas

    This scheme seems an excellent end-run around Serrano v. Priest and its annoying requirement that affluent people of Asian or white European Ethnicity contribute to the forlorn and demonstrably ineffective education of children of other ethnicities.


  • k.love

    This techicrate (I may have just coined a new term!) is so unversed with his idea that he keeps answering every comment with “well that’s a great thought” and “well that’s a great idea”. It seems Mr. Draper wants to create a “bubble” around Silicon Valley and San Francisco and Los Angeles to protect wealthy people in order to continually push out the middle-class and keep the wealthy coffers flowing in his direction and his com-padres. This is just another ploy and someone who wants to get his quick 15-minutes of fame for an idea that will never come to fruition. I think he should just stick to what he knows best and keep himself safe inside his mansion where he can continue keeping away from the people he seems willingly will be pushed out of society with his idea.

    • Robert Thomas

      I’ve only been contributing to these boards for a short time. I have been a little strident advancing my opinion that media and journalists are ill-equipped to comment on issues about the technology industry (and about engineering and science altogether), though I think not unjustly so.

      However, my experience also through decades working in the technology industry in Santa Clara Valley is that there has never been a shortage among my coworkers and collaborators of clowns (generally, software engineers seem disproportionately prominent in this distribution) who truly believe they could provide solutions to society’s great problems between noon and teatime, if they were only asked for their opinions.

      I myself – not even a software engineer! – have on rare occasion indulged in this sort of lame puffery.

  • Penny Berger

    This is a typical free market solution to a non-free market, public interest, public policy problem. The problem is that people don’t want to pay for services unless they see a direct personal benefit. They forget about the public interest. His state of silicon valley just wants to keep all its money at home instead of paying taxes that will benefit all Californians. If people were willing to pay the price, they could still have a great educational system and fabulous infrastructure What will his rich Silicon Valley State do in the next 40 years when things have changed again and maybe the North, with water, has the resources controlled. There is a reason the American secession movement went out of fashion after the Civil War among thinking people. Mr. Draper needs to study more history.

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