It’s just two weeks since the primary election, ballots are still being counted, and the general election is almost five months away.
You’re probably ready for a break.
Truth be told, we are, too.
However, if you aren’t one of those people who habitually put things off to the last minute — say dropping your tax returns off at the post office after dark on April 15 — it isn’t too early to start studying for November.
Because it’s likely to be a crowded ballot.
There could be as many as 13 state ballot propositions on topics ranging from treatment standards for farm animals to carving California into three states.
You also can expect a handful of local measures, potentially including municipal sales taxes, a countywide sales tax for parks, or perhaps housing, and bond acts for affordable housing and schools.
In some instances, such as proposals to roll back fuel taxes, restore rent control and amend Proposition 13, the results could be consequential.
Some other measures, most notably the proposal to split the state into three, might generate some sound and fury, and probably not much else. But we’ll play along.
Sonoma County and 39 other counties would be part of a new state called Northern California under venture capital Tim Draper’s vision for downsizing California. We would get custody of Wine Country, the Golden Gate, Lake Tahoe and our founder — Draper is a resident of Silicon Valley.
Six mostly coastal counties between Monterey and Los Angeles would keep the original name, California. That’s OK, as long as we get to visit Big Sur.
And a 12-county state of Southern California would stretch inland from Orange and San Diego counties to the Nevada line, then follow the east slope of the Sierra a long ways into what most of us now call … Northern California.
Draper’s initiative, which he calls Cal 3, might fill hours of talk radio time, but it’s probably too soon to start sewing flags or designing license plates.
For one thing, splitting the state into three would require congressional approval, which, in addition to the myriad political ramifications of adding four U.S. senators, would provide fuel for breakaway movements in other states. No, this isn’t just a California thing. There have been proposals in at least seven other states since 2010.
But it’s practically a pastime for California, which, according to the Los Angeles Times, has been the subject of more than 200 proposals to alter boundaries, split up or out-and-out secede since gaining statehood in 1850. The list includes two previous Draper-sponsored initiatives to cut the Golden State into six new states, though neither of them qualified for the ballot.
The last time a U.S. state split was in 1863, during the Civil War, when 39 Virginia counties were admitted to the Union as West Virginia.
If you’re one of those who ardently believes that California should be split up, don’t fret if voters say no in November. There will be another election in two years, and supporters of an initiative calling for California to secede from the United States just got clearance to start circulating petitions.
And if either of these initiatives passes, maybe our new state (or new country) will make it harder to put cockamamie ideas on the ballot.