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Three state split would create multitude of new issues, political analyst says

Tom Draper collected more than 400,000 signatures to get this item on the ballot

FRESNO, California - Come November, voters will decide if they want California to be split into three states. If passes and becomes a reality, a political analyst said it would only create more issues that would take years upon years to solve.

Fresno resident Robert Schmidt shared the general consensus of people we ran into on the street Wednesday.

"I heard about [Cal 3] about a month and a half ago. I didn't like it then, I don't like it now," he said.

The Cal 3 initiative -- spearheaded by San Francisco venture capitalist Tom Draper -- would divide California into three new states: Northern California, Southern California and California. The petition garnered more than 400,000 signatures, the threshold to earn a spot on the November ballot.

Northern California's border goes from Santa Cruz county, up to the Oregon border, including Merced and Mariposa counties. Southern California would include much of our part of the Central Valley, from Madera County down to San Diego County. The newly formed California would include Los Angeles County and go up the central coast, to Monterey County.

Schmidt's worry is that Southern California would get left behind.

"You have Northern California's marijuana growers, you have the Bay Area and Los Angeles for the consumers -- in-between, we're dead," he said.

Political analyst Tom Holyoke raises a similar concern, specifically for water. Since the majority of the Sierra Nevada would be in the new Northern California, Holyoke said it would put that state in control of the resource.

It could dramatically change how water is distributed.

"How are we going to manage that? We'd probably have to come up with some kind of interstate compact, [which is] an actual agreement between the states," Holyoke said.

According to Cal 3's website, the split is to help regional communities better solve their own issues. However, Holyoke said each state would need to create their own systems first, before even tackling anything.

"How would we pay for basic services, what are our basic services, how would we fund just basic state government," he said. "We would have to start from scratch on all those things."

In the event voters pass the Cal 3 initiative in November, it would need to get an OK from the State Assembly and then Congress to become a reality.

At that point, Holyoke said it's highly unlikely it would pass, given the split would shake up U.S. senator numbers and the electoral college.


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