- The Washington Times - Monday, February 24, 2014

The Silicon Valley venture capitalist behind the “six Californias” proposal announced Monday that his campaign has launched its petition drive to place the measure on the November ballot.

The proposed initiative, which needs 807,000 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot by July 14, would split California into six states, an effort aimed at improving representation and making the state more governable.

“Leaving California the way it is, the status quo, is a crime,” said Tim Draper, founding partner of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, who’s leading the campaign. “It’s a crime to our children, it’s a crime to our children’s children. California has failed us.”

Mr. Draper spoke at a press conference that was livestreamed from Draper University of Heroes in San Mateo, a school he founded to train entrepreneurs.

The nation’s largest state with 35 million people, California is the state “where you pay the most and get the least,” he said, citing public education, infrastructure and the prison system as examples.

“When you have a government that is this big, there are too many interests that the people who govern are trying to manage,” said Mr. Draper. “Those people are doing something that I think is just too much. You’re trying to do too much for everyone, and by doing so, you’re really not getting anything done.”

Mr. Draper, a multimillionaire who spent $20 million on a failed 2000 ballot initiative on school vouchers, declined to speculate on how much of his own money he would spend on gathering signatures.

“As little as possible,” said Mr. Draper with a laugh. “I mean, I want to get it on the ballot, but I want to keep my money.”

Mr. Draper also said that he had discussed the proposal with California Gov. Jerry Brown, whom he described as a “very open-minded, creative guy.”

“I called him, and the first thing he said was, ‘I’m sorry I’m six weeks late in returning your call,’ and I said, ‘Well, yeah, I was giving you a head’s up,’” said Mr. Draper. “So then after that he said, ‘Well, look, it’s interesting, send it to me, I’ll take a look, we’ll discuss it later.”

Mr. Draper added, “I think he’s looking at it as sort of an interesting way to go. He’s governing a state that’s ungovernable, and I think he sees that.”

The six states outlined in the measure, starting in the north, are: Jefferson, North California, Silicon Valley, West California, Central California, and South California.

Would Mr. Draper run for governor of Silicon Valley if the initiative passes? “No. I’ll leave that up to Silicon Valley to go find somebody great,” he said.