February 21, 2014

If you asked Tim Draper why he thinks it's such a terrific idea to split California into six separate states, he'll give you a bunch of argle-bargle like he did Fox News, about how the state is ungovernable, the issues are impossible for Sacramento to manage, and more.

Let's just call bullshit on this right now. Mr. Draper doesn't like the fact that he has to pay taxes in this state for services that do not directly impact him. All one has to do is have a look at his proposed divisions to understand exactly what he's doing. Shall we begin with the newly-created state of Silicon Valley?

Peter Theil, the oligarch PayPal made, is completely on board with the whole idea of Silicon Valley seceding, along with many other young, too-rich-too-soon techie types who toy with ideas like offshore platforms for tech businesses so they can duck taxes and regulations.

Draper has come up with an angle to snow Californians. We're all supposed to be excited at the prospect of having 12 California senators instead of 2. Never mind that he's hoping at least six of the ten would be conservative or libertarian. That needn't be mentioned.

Like it or not, it's likely he'll manage to get it on the 2014 California ballot, since the Secretary of State approved the language and gave her go-ahead for Draper to gather signatures. He needs 808,000 or so by July, which won't be a problem for a billionaire who can toss around a few thousand for professional signature gatherers.

This is a secessionist measure and nothing more. I don't doubt Draper's sincerity even if he does wrap his greed in a PR campaign clothed with paeans to how much he cares about the voice of Californians. For a guy who inherited all of his wealth to spend it trying to destroy the very state that gave him an opportunity to keep it and make it grow, he's sure got a twisted perspective.

NY Mag:

Instead, it's a passive-aggressive swipe at the less economically productive regions of California, cloaked in a measure that purports to be good for all citizens of the state. Tim Draper wants the protection afforded by the United States government, without having to submit to the taxes and regulatory slow-footedness coming out of Sacramento. He wants Silicon Valley to be independent enough to play around with drones and genetic engineering, but not so independent that it needs its own military.

What he and Peter Thiel are doing is no less evil than what the Tea Party haters do when they scream and shout in the southern states about "nullification." The only difference is that Draper has the money to make it sound awesome.

California gave Tim Draper his education, a place to invest, and people to invest in. He wants to repay that debt by destroying the parts he doesn't like.

Update: Draper is selling this thing hard, no question. I've been getting some feedback about how I'm unfairly characterizing his motives but I feel compelled to point out who thinks this is a great idea. For example, this guy: Kurt Bardella, president of public relations firm Endeavor Strategic Communications and former aide to Rep. Darrell Issa.

That USAToday reporter didn't just randomly open his public relations firm book and pick someone for comment. That was supplied along with the press release.


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