I’ll trade you a piece of Yosemite Valley and all of the Napa Wine Country for Disneyland and the Santa Monica Pier.
For the first time since before the Civil War, California voters will decide this November whether to spilt the Golden State into three entities, dubbed California, Northern California and Southern California. An initiative to divide the state, pushed by Silicon Valley venture capital investor Tim Draper, received enough signatures to qualify it for the November ballot. Supporters say splitting the state would lead to improvements in infrastructure and education while lowering taxes.
But the idea’s passage is a long shot at best: voters polled overwhelmingly disapprove of the idea; and even if the measure does pass in November, the proposal must still be approved by Congress.
If it manages to pass at the polls and in Congress, the plan would look like this:
“California” would have approximately 12.3 million residents, according to the plan’s supporters, and would be centered around Los Angeles County and include five other counties to the north and along the coast up to Monterey and San Benito counties;
“Northern California” would have 40 counties with approximately 13.3 million people and include the Bay Area and everything up to the Oregon border, including California’s current state capital of Sacramento;
“Southern California” would have 13.9 million people in 12 counties and, despite its name, carve out a large section of central California all the way up to Mono County, making a loop around Los Angeles to claim Orange County, San Diego and the southern flank of the state;
In many places, the divide would get tricky. For example, Yosemite National Park would suddenly straddle two of the new states since part of it is in Madera (Southern California) while other parts are in Tuolumne and Mariposa (Northern California) counties. And don’t even get us started with probable battles over how the state’s precious water reserves would be distributed since California is currently criss-crossed with an insanely complex grid of aqueducts, dams, levees and channels.
Here’s a quick look at which new state would grab which of California’s existing treasures:
California Would Get:
Beautiful Big Sur and the world-renowned, oceanside, cliff-edged Highway 1
The otherworldly volcanic rock spires, canyons and crags of Pinnacles National Park
The one-of-a-kind Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo with its more than 100 whimsical guest rooms and pastoral setting
Hollywood, including all the good, the bad and the ugly
Some of the world’s top museums, all within miles of one another in Los Angeles, including LACMA, the Getty Center, the Natural History Museum and The Broad
World-class golf courses and the Seventeen Mile Drive in Monterey
The oh-so-quaint village of Carmel-by-the-Sea
Some of the most iconic of current California’s Spanish missions, including Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez and San Juan Bautista
The Santa Monica Pier, home to the world’s first solar-powered ferris wheel, as well as the Looff Hippodrome Carousel, which was Santa Monica’s first National Historic Landmark, and its very own trapeze school
Northern California Would Get:
Majestic Mount Shasta, along with the secret city reportedly hidden beneath its peaks, the technically advanced society of human beings that live down there called Lemurians, and “The Little People of Mount Shasta,” described on one website as “kind of physical, but not quite, and they are very often seen visually around the mountain. They are third dimensional beings like humans, but they live on a slightly higher level of the third dimension, such as third and one half level, and they have the ability to make themselves visible and invisible at will”