Opponents sue to nix ballot measure to split California in 3July 10, 2018 10:34pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Opponents of an initiative to split California into three states asked the state Supreme Court to pull the measure from the ballot, arguing it's too drastic a change to state government to go through the normal initiative process.

A lawsuit filed Monday by the Planning and Conservation League argues major changes to the state's government structure require approval from two-thirds of the Legislature before going under consideration by voters or a state constitutional convention.

The initiative would break the state into Northern California, California and Southern California.

Northern California would comprise the Bay Area, Silicon Valley, Sacramento and counties north of the current state capital. California would be a strip of land along the coast stretching from Los Angeles to Monterey. Southern California would include Fresno and the surrounding farming communities, reaching all the way to San Diego and the Mexican border.

Venture capitalist Tim Draper is financing the "Cal 3" initiative in his latest attempt to divide the state. He has spent more than $1.7 million supporting it. The nation's most populous state has become too difficult to govern because of its size, wealth disparities and geographic diversity, Draper and the initiative's supporters argue.

Draper did not comment on the lawsuit because he had not seen it. A spokeswoman for the initiative also did not comment.

The California Supreme Court has tossed initiatives in the past after ruling they went too far in changing government structure.

For example, in 1990 the court got rid of part of a measure to reform the state's criminal justice system after voters passed it because the court found it revised the state Constitution beyond what could be done through an initiative.

In another case in 2000, the court struck a measure on lawmaker compensation and redistricting from the ballot before it went to voters because the justices found it violated the state's single subject rule, which requires that initiatives deal with just one issue.

Draper's measure is an abuse of the ballot initiative system, said Carlyle Hall, a lawyer working on the lawsuit.

"The dislocation and the disruption that would be caused by something as great as this just can't be understated," he said. "This will not make things better."

Michael Salerno, a law professor at UC Hastings, described the change that the initiative is trying to make as profound.

"It would not surprise me if the court took this off the ballot," he said.

Loyola law professor Jessica Levinson said it makes sense for opponents to argue that the initiative substantially revises the state's governing structure, but she added that judges are often reluctant to pull measures from the ballot.

The initiative could harm the environment if California's strong environmental protections are scrapped and replaced with something weaker, which could happen if the state were split, Hall said.

Draper's last attempt to divide the state in six didn't gather enough signatures to make the ballot in 2016.

Although California as it exists today is heavily Democratic, the newly proposed Southern California might not be. Democrats have only a slim registration advantage over Republicans in that region.

Page 1 of 1

More Stories Like This

FILE - In this July 18, 2018, file photo, lawyers and youth plaintiffs lineup behind a banner after a hearing before Federal District Court Judge Ann Aiken between lawyers for the Trump Administration and the so called Climate Kids in Federal Court in Eugene, Ore. The lawsuit filed by young activists who say the government is failing to protect them from climate change is still alive. In San Francisco on Friday, July 20, 2018, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the government's second request for an order directing a lower court to dismiss the case. (Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard via AP, File)
'Climate kids' suit against government allowed to proceed
Mob lynches Muslim man over cow smuggling charges in IndiaPolice say a Muslim man has been beaten to death by a mob in western India over allegations of cow smuggling, the latest in a series of lynching by violent mobs in the country
Former assembly speaker: 'I pray I will not die in prison'Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is begging for mercy ahead of his sentencing next week, telling a judge he prays he will not die in prison
Baltimore is latest US city to file lawsuit against Big OilBaltimore has become the latest U.S. city to try and hold the world's biggest oil companies financially responsible for global warming
Man gets 33 months for racist threats directed at Howard UA northern Virginia man has been sentenced to nearly 3 years in prison for threatening to murder African Americans at historically black Howard University in 2015
File - In this April 1, 2018 file photo, people attend a vigil for victims and survivors of a mass shooting in Las Vegas. The unprecedented move from MGM Resorts International to sue hundreds of victims of last year's mass shooting in Las Vegas using an obscure law never before tested in court has been framed by the casino-operator as an effort to avoid years of costly litigation, but the legal maneuver may not play out that way. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
MGM turns to never-tested law to sue Vegas shooting victims

Related Searches

Related Searches