Here's a crazy idea: Let's ask voters to carve California into six states.
Tim Draper, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, wants to do just that, and with his deep pockets, he shouldn't have much trouble getting his quixotic brainchild on the ballot.
Heck, it might even pass.
As for what Draper's initiative can actually produce, voters may as well decree that what goes up need not come down, that night will no longer follow day, or perhaps that henceforth the sun will set in the east. Even billionaires can't change the laws of nature.
And neither states, nor their voters, have legal or constitutional authority to change their boundaries.
Draper says vast sections of California aren't well served by the present state government — and he's probably right.
We're quite confident he also could find vast numbers of Golden State residents who believe they're poorly served by their local governments. Do we need to mention the federal government? As far as we know, even Draper hasn't allied himself with the Texas residents who want to secede from the United States.
The whole exercise seems like a segment from "The Daily Show" or one of its Comedy Channel cousins, but Draper says he's serious. He submitted his initiative to the attorney general, where it was analyzed and summarized, and he has been cleared to collect signatures. He needs 808,000 to qualify for the ballot.
If only for fun, let's take a look at the states he seeks to create.
Santa Rosa would be part of the new state of North California, a narrow band stretching from the Sonoma Coast to the northern Sierra and including Napa, Marin and Sacramento. The new state's first order of business might be wrestling the "NC" postal code away from North Carolina.
Los Angeles would be in West California, the farm belt would become Central California, San Diego and the Inland Empire would become South California, and residents of the northernmost counties would finally have their state of Jefferson.
Meanwhile, Google's buses could run between San Francisco and San Jose in the new state of — wait for it — Silicon Valley. Won't they love that name in North Beach and Presidio Heights?
There is a serious discussion to be had about poor representation and the shortcomings of state government. But it's a lot more fun to imagine a divorce. Which is almost certainly why California isn't alone. There are movements afoot to split Maryland, Colorado, Arizona, Illinois, New York, Michigan, Minnesota and probably other states, too.
If they all succeed, it will be a windfall for the dues collector at the National Governors Association.
But schoolchildren need not worry about memorizing a lot more state capitals because adding two dozen more U.S. senators — 10 for the five California spin-offs alone — surely won't fly with the one body that can divide states in half or by six. That would be Congress, which last approved a split in 1863, when some Union-friendly Virginia counties split away from the Confederacy to become West Virginia.
Simply stated: Don't expect to create more states.