Jason Walsh: Forget ‘3 Californias’; we’ve got 3 Sonomas
To the dismay of separatist venture capitalists everywhere, the equally-intriguing-as-it-is-alarming ballot initiative to divide California into three different states was blocked by the state Supreme Court Wednesday, after a group of environmentalists challenged its legality, while most everyone else with a minimum seventh-grade education level challenged its sanity.
Billionaire businessman Tim Draper had funded the effort to place the so-called 3 Californias initiative on the November ballot which, if approved by voters, would ostensibly carve the Golden State into a trio of not-quite-as-golden states: Northern California, with San Francisco and Sacramento and everything north; a Southern California of desert-y inland counties; and California, a coastal region encompassing Los Angeles. The conservative Draper argued that the new Southern California, which holds a higher percentage of Republican districts than the rest of the state, would be better served representing itself in Washington D.C. without being dragged down by the liberal whims of all the Democrats in Sacramento. Whether it would be better served without all the water the rest of the state provides that region, he did not say.
Legal experts have been dubious about the initiative from the get go – questioning its legality and pointing out that only the California legislature can approves changes to the state constitution, and only U.S. Congress has the power to create new states.
Of course, cooler heads are also no doubt weighing what’s known in modern representative democracies as the Trump Theory: which holds that the more crackpot a choice is that comes before voters, the more likely the crackpots are to vote for it. In other words, as nuts as it would be to throw the world’s fifth largest economy into chaos by cutting off some of its poorest rural regions from the Silicon Valley gravy train – this thing might actually pass.
The 3 Californias may be the worst re-branding idea since Bic disposable underwear (michaelaldridge.com/product-failures if you don’t believe me) – but that shouldn’t put a damper on a similar concept I think would really take off: I call it -- 3 Sonomas.
Wait. Give it a second to digest. Three separate Sonomas. They already exist – why not give everyone what they want?
My proposed 3 Sonomas initiative would municipally codify what we already know deep down: there are multiple factions living among each other in the Valley, and one gets the feeling they’d prefer stricter boundaries.
For instance, there are those who want cannabis dispensaries, those who don’t, and those lingering at 3 p.m. in the Plaza rose garden who will make do either way. Likewise, there are some who like leaf blowers, some who don’t, and some who are using them to clear pollen from your Armstrong Estates brick pavers as we speak.
In almost every divisive issue in Sonoma there are three sides: Those for, those against, and those who are busy with their lives and couldn’t care less.
Unlike the three states proposal, the 3 Sonomas isn’t about boundaries on a map, or demographic differences. It isn’t even about recognizing Sonoma as three different states – it’s about our three different states of mind.
The first state, for instance, will be proclaimed Ye Olde Sonoma. And its inhabitants will consist of anyone who’s lived in the Valley long enough to know that the San Francisco Seals used to train in Boyes Hot Springs back in the day, and can name the exact street which demarks the boundary between Sonoma and Schellville.