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Three Californias? Billionaire's fantasy world is on the ballot

Some billionaires w...

Posted: Jun 15, 2018 7:08 AM
Updated: Jun 15, 2018 7:08 AM

Some billionaires want to go to Mars. Others are just desperate to redraw the everyday realities of people right here on Earth.

Tim Draper, the wealthy venture capitalist whose name comes first in the storied investment fund Draper Fisher Jurvetson, falls into the latter category. He's been trying for half a decade to carve up California, the state in which he was born and has made his fortune, into a cluster of smaller states, under the theory that more compact electoral territories are more efficient and more likely to serve the interests of local populations.

Or, at least that's the rhetoric he's relied on since his first attempt back in 2013, when he failed in his efforts to get a referendum on the ballot that would divide California into a half dozen Calittles: "Six Californias means creating six smaller states with more local and more responsive government. Six states that are more representative and accountable. Six states that embrace innovation and strive to improve the lives of residents."

What Draper glossed over? The plan would also have created a patchwork quilt of economically segregated territories that would explode the region's rich/poor divide by creating several wealthy states and several desperately poor ones.

Fortunately, Six Californias proved to be an untenable goal, even after he spent an estimated $5 million on the quixotic campaign. And so he did what every good Silicon Valley capitalist does after failing: Pivot and try again. After cutting the number of target sub-Cals to three, he's now managed to actually get his measure, Cal 3, onto the November ballot -- albeit with a doubtful future, given that an April SurveyUSA poll found that 72% of Californians would vote against it, and just 17% would vote yes.

And those opposing the measure have many good reasons to do so. There's the political problem: Who's going to run these three new states of Northern, Southern and Plain Ol' Vanilla California, and which party will own their new congressional and electoral representatives?

There's the jurisdictional one: How can the state's shared resources, from public universities to water supply, be fairly allocated? What would be the impact on people who own businesses, work or attend schools in one state, but reside in another?

And there's the one that's ultimately the most fundamental -- the problem of equity: Why should Californians outside of the Silicon Valley bubble vote to divide the state into three separate but wildly unequal slices?

Others have noted that the Northern, Southern and POV Californias would have very different median incomes -- NorCal would have, on average, a 17% higher median income than present-day California, at $63,000 (versus $54,000 for today's version of the state). SoCal would have a 17% lower median income than current California. POV California would be about the same.

What hasn't been discussed is the impact of the partition on the state's racial and ethnic demographics. A detailed calculation based on 2010 county-level census information (courtesy of Statistical Atlas) reveals that Northern California would be disproportionately white and Asian -- 21% more white, and over a third more Asian than present-day California, with whites making up half of the population and Asians nearly a fifth. Blacks and Hispanics would reside in POV and Southern California, both of which would be white-minority (POV California would be less than a third white, but 23% more Hispanic, 22% more black and 7% less Asian than the current state; Southern California would be about 40% white, as California is today, but 11% more Hispanic).

In short, Draper's plan takes one pluralist, multicultural economic powerhouse of a state and slices it into a wealthy white/Asian homeland (for himself and his fellow Silicon Valley moguls to rule), alongside two brown ones -- one of which would also be among the poorer states in the nation.

It's not exactly a surprise, coming from a man who founded a self-named university for entrepreneurs where the works of Donald Trump and Ayn Rand are textbooks: Draper's Northern California would be a real-world Galt's Gulch from Rand's Atlas Shrugged, a secluded hideaway for his self-imagined Great Minds and Heroic Innovators, set apart from the turmoiled dark-skinned masses of the Southern reaches. It would also house the present-day state's premier private and public universities, its biggest and fastest-growing enterprises -- including Apple and Google parent Alphabet Inc., the number one and number three most valuable companies in the world -- and the bulk of its banking and investment infrastructure, and it would control the flow of water to the other two offspring.

Draper's vanity plan may not be racist in its intent, but it amounts to a structural apartheid proposal in reality. And that, after all, is what links the dreams of the white male billionaires who want to rocket to other planets and those who want to change the maps of Earth. At the end of the day, they're secretly (and sometimes not so secretly) looking for a private world with control of valuable resources that they can remake in their own image -- free of the annoying demands for equality that women, people of color and the poor make on them in the world today.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 67649

Reported Deaths: 1912
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5656118
DeSoto368031
Harrison253036
Madison244368
Rankin229235
Jackson228843
Jones191659
Forrest182056
Washington168942
Lee147941
Lauderdale141192
Neshoba128692
Lamar122614
Oktibbeha112739
Bolivar111834
Warren109533
Lowndes108538
Panola106214
Sunflower105425
Scott100320
Lafayette98317
Copiah95728
Leflore94765
Pike93836
Holmes90049
Grenada84921
Yazoo83312
Lincoln83241
Pontotoc8308
Simpson80330
Monroe80155
Leake79025
Wayne77421
Coahoma77213
Tate73629
Marshall7019
Marion68420
Union64316
Adams62925
Winston62316
Covington62113
George5895
Pearl River55439
Newton54311
Tallahatchie53011
Attala52325
Walthall50120
Chickasaw47019
Noxubee45912
Alcorn4345
Tishomingo4216
Calhoun4209
Prentiss41710
Claiborne40913
Smith40613
Clay39714
Hancock39514
Jasper3889
Itawamba37510
Tippah36713
Tunica3517
Clarke32626
Montgomery3265
Lawrence3228
Yalobusha31510
Humphreys29411
Quitman2701
Carroll26111
Greene25512
Perry2437
Amite2356
Webster23512
Kemper23414
Jefferson Davis2336
Wilkinson21113
Stone2055
Sharkey1995
Jefferson1957
Benton1431
Choctaw1354
Franklin1312
Issaquena262
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 99926

Reported Deaths: 1781
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13258244
Mobile10517207
Montgomery6835149
Madison544734
Tuscaloosa423076
Baldwin365125
Unassigned363064
Shelby330936
Marshall318937
Lee270047
Morgan241118
Etowah216232
DeKalb183013
Calhoun180717
Elmore173138
Walker153964
Houston141912
Russell13872
St. Clair135418
Limestone134913
Dallas133123
Franklin128820
Cullman122712
Colbert120716
Lauderdale118919
Autauga117421
Escambia108717
Talladega104814
Jackson10144
Tallapoosa86579
Chambers84438
Dale83525
Clarke82610
Blount8124
Chilton8097
Butler76736
Coffee7646
Covington73720
Pike7087
Marion58026
Barbour5765
Lowndes57324
Marengo56515
Hale47826
Bullock46611
Winston45711
Perry4454
Washington44312
Bibb4425
Wilcox43210
Monroe4215
Pickens4049
Randolph40310
Conecuh39310
Sumter36418
Lawrence3512
Macon33914
Crenshaw3265
Choctaw28712
Cherokee2758
Henry2643
Clay2635
Geneva2631
Greene25211
Lamar2292
Fayette2125
Cleburne1271
Coosa1033
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