Billionaire Tim Draper is bewildered by Silicon Valley, the place he helped to build. With only a few more signatures to gather for his Break California into six states measure, he can't understand why Silicon Valley is so resistant to the idea.
Venture capitalist Tim Draper says he is getting “close” to collecting the necessary 800,000 signatures needed to get his “Six Californias” measure before state voters in 2014 — but he acknowledges his own internal polling shows Silicon Valley is most opposed to the idea of splitting the state into six parts.
“You’d think that Silicon Valley would benefit” greatest from the plan, said Draper, whose plan calls for the foundation of a state of Silicon Valley, which economists suggest would likely be the richest state in the nation. But “Silicon Valley is the least likely to vote for this,” Draper acknowledged Tuesday. “It’s bizarre.”
When I first wrote about this I took some heat for suggesting that Draper's motives were less than altruistic, but his own bewilderment tells the tale. After all, if the wealthiest area in the state would benefit most from a bizarre breakup of California, I think it's safe to assume Draper's motivations rest in tax avoidance.
Draper on Tuesday would not reveal his internal polling — other than to say generally that numbers in Silicon Valley are strongly opposed to the plan and other more conservative parts of the state, like the Central Valley, are in favor. “This is not going to happen overnight,” he said.
But he said he is convinced that he can convince Californians to come around and to seek solutions for a state which he said has become “the worst in the nation..the worst managed government in the country” in key areas like education, infrastructure and business development.
“We have had really good people running California,” he said. “Why is this not working?”
“Think of it as Sacramento being sort of…rusted,” he told the crowd of about 35. “We need to do something structural, something fresh…If we don’t try, we’re failing in our complacency.”
Yeah, I call bullshit on that. If there's rust on Sacramento, it can be laid at the feet of Proposition 13 and the tax avoiders who think they can magically make good schools happen and university fees disappear without paying one thin dime in taxes. If Draper wants this state restored to its former glory he can start by supporting reasonable taxes to fund our schools and universities. That's where it begins, and what will revitalize those "rusty" areas of the state.
I suppose I should also remind him that this state has turned from a deficit to a surplus since the Great Recession, that our highways and infrastructure are being upgraded and rebuilt, and our schools would be even better if we actually funded them fairly and properly instead of pouring money into charter schools.
Even if Draper manages to get this on the ballot, it's an uphill battle. Should such a thing pass -- and I don't believe it would -- it would require the state legislature and the United States Congress to approve it. Good luck with that.
This feels like a way to drag out conservative voters on election day. By his own admission, the only areas supporting this thing are the conservative rural areas of California. The rest of us like our state the way it is.