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Skelton: A state divided is no longer golden

Cracking California into six pieces and calling each chunk a state sounds really crackpot.

Don't like this state government? How about five more? What about the notion of Los Angeles students attending UC Berkeley or San Diego State and paying out-of-state tuition? Think L.A. and the San Joaquin Valley have water problems now? Wait until the new state of North California cuts off water flowing south from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Yes, splitting California into six states is crazy.

But the proposal could wind up on the state ballot.

Yes, it probably would fail miserably.

But some people — one very rich man in particular — are very serious about the concept.

"California has become the worst managed state in the country," says Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper, 55, who's funding a petition drive to place his "Six Californias" initiative on the ballot. "It just is too big and too ungovernable." He doesn't blame Gov. Jerry Brown.

"I think we have a great governor," says Draper, a Republican-turned-Democrat-turned-independent. "We've had great governors. It's just systemic and getting worse and being managed worse." OK, hold it.

Some of our governors have not been so great. But Brown is managing fine. He may lack the imagination he showed during his first gubernatorial reign — a current example being his old-style Delta tunnel plan — but Brown is balancing the books and not going nuts on new programs. The unfunded bullet train aside.

Few people these days continue to claim that California is ungovernable. The Legislature has become much more functional since voters allowed it to pass budgets on a majority vote.


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