Merits of splitting California into 3 debated

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Analysts and voters are taking a careful look at a plan to split California into three separate states appearing on the November ballot. (KABC)

California voters will soon get the chance to vote on whether to break the state into three parts.

The Cal 3 initiative is appearing on the November ballot, touting the benefits of smaller government.

The push was launched by Silicon Valley titan Tim Draper, who has tried to split California before.

"I want to be well-represented," Draper said. "I want my state to reflect my interests."

The plan calls for the state to be divided like this: North of Monterey would be the state of Northern California. The Central Coast including Los Angeles would be the state of California. Orange County, San Diego and inland counties would be called Southern California.

The Cal 3 campaign says smaller government would be more responsive and give the three states a stronger voice in Washington.

That's debatable, says political analyst Raphael Sonenshein with the Pat Brown Institute.

Legislators in Sacramento would have to agree to dismantle the current government and the U.S. Congress would have to agree.

"The Republicans aren't going to like more senators from California and Democrats aren't going to want California's 55 electoral votes to be divided up," Sonenshein said.

Still, he noted, some good could come of the effort even if it doesn't pass. When the San Fernando Valley attempted to secede from Los Angeles in 2002, the measure failed but resulted in changes to the city government, including the creation of the neighborhood council system.

Pass or fail, a new conversation is underway.
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