Tuesday, March 31, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Solano at center of proposed new state

North California graphic

By
From page A1 | March 16, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — Welcome to Solano County, heart of the new state of North California.

This is a state that includes the beaches of Marin and Sonoma counties, the Napa Wine Country, the metropolis of Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. Interstate 80 is its spine.

It’s much smaller than the old California, which was split into six states. Now Solano County is an agricultural, biotech and military powerhouse of North California, with a diversified economy within a diverse state.

Of course, all of this exists only in the mind of venture capitalist Timothy Draper. But he’s trying to gather enough signatures in coming months to put the matter on the November ballot or the November 2016 ballot. His proposal has already garnered much publicity.

“The citizens of the whole state would be better served by six smaller state governments while preserving the historic borders of counties, cities and towns,” Draper’s proposed initiative says.

He proposes forming the states of Jefferson, North California, Central California, Silicon Valley, West California and South California.

Even if state voters passed such an initiative, California would still be one state. Congress would also have to approve the move, something it might be reluctant to do because an area represented by two United States senators would then be represented by 12.

State Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, dismissed Draper’s proposal. It might pass at the ballot box, but not in Congress, she said.

“I think that would be the end of it,” Wolk said.

Wolk said Draper’s proposed initiative isn’t generating much talk in the state Legislature, where she does her work.

“It’s basically ignored. Nobody thinks it would ever happen,” she said.

Draper might well be indulging in his own version of California Dreamin’. But, should his long shot come true, Solano County would be in a far different position than it is today as a state with 38 million people gets dismantled.

North California would have 3.8 million residents.That would make it the 32nd most-populated state in a new, 55-state union. It would be a behemoth compared to such states as Wyoming (population 582,658), Rhode Island (1 million), West Virginia (1.8 million), Nevada (2.8 million) and Utah (2.9 million).

No longer would Solano County be one of 58 counties, dominated by such metropolises as Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. Sacramento and Santa Rosa would be the biggest metro areas. Solano County would be a bigger fish in a smaller pond, the third-most-populous county in a 13-county state.

Joining Solano County in North California would be Amador, El Dorado, Marin, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sierra, Sonoma, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties.

That might give Solano County more political clout.

“Certainly, there’s merit to having a large voice,” Solano County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Linda Seifert said.

While Seifert had heard of Draper’s proposal and was willing to do some off-the-cuff speculation, it’s not an issue she’s explored. Like Wolk, she didn’t see a chance California will be split into six states.

“I always try not to spend too much time on things I think are infeasible,” she said.

Solano County in the 1850s had the state capital, first in Vallejo and then in Benicia, before state legislators settled on Sacramento. If Draper’s dream came true, it might bid to become the capital of a new state of North California.

Then again, North California would have Sacramento, which already has a perfectly good Capitol building complete with an impressive dome, as well as plenty of room for state offices. With California splitting into six states, a lot of that room would suddenly be vacant as a smaller state government would be needed.

North California would be one of the richer of the new states. It couldn’t compete with Silicon Valley’s per capita income of $63,288 annually. But its $48,048 would be second, much higher than Jefferson’s $36,147 or Central California’s $33,510 and higher than the existing state’s $46,477, according to data released by the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Water is a sticky issue in the existing state of California. The state has a complex delivery system to move water from the wetter, less populated areas to drier, more populated areas.

Split the state into six and a complicated water situation gets only more complicated.

Fairfield gets water from two sources: Lake Berryessa reservoir and the Delta. Lake Berryessa in Napa County would remain in the new state of North California. But, though the new state would have part of the Delta, it would not contain Lake Oroville reservoir that collects water for the Delta delivery system.

It might not make a difference, if the new states honored the State Water Project and its current contracts, Fairfield Assistant Public Works Director for Utilities Felix Riesenberg said.

He expects this would happen. He pointed out that, while Lake Oroville might be in the new state of Jefferson, the old state of California paid for the State Water Project.

“But it would probably create a different bureaucracy and multiagency bureaucracy that would probably make things more challenging,” he said.

Wolk thinks that Solano County wouldn’t be better off in a new state of North California. The county shares interests with the Bay Area when it comes to transportation, environmental, business and land use issues, with counties to the south on the Delta issues, with northwestern California on water issues, she said.

“We share a lot of interest that go across the state,” Wolk said.

She sees better ways to tackle California’s challenges than ending California. She mentioned passing a sunshine law that would require the state Legislature to make proposed laws available in print for at least 72 hours before voting on them. That would end the practice of rushing bills through at the last minute with no public review.

She also suggested shrinking the size of state Senate districts.

“My Senate district has a million people in it,” Wolk said. “That’s larger than any congressional district. That’s more than twice as large as an Assembly district.”

Wolk expressed hope that people would put their energy into making changes of the type that she thinks could really happen, instead of a quixotic attempt to split California into six states.

The state Legislative Analyst’s Office report on Draper’s proposed ballot measure mentions past attempts to split up California. In 1859, the state Legislature voted to allow the area south of the Tehachapi Mountains – including Los Angeles and San Diego – into a separate state. Southern California citizens voted on the proposal and three-quarters of them agreed to it.

But Congress never agreed to the split. Subsequent attempts to split the state also failed. California has remained California.

History might repeat itself.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 7 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • MichaelMarch 16, 2014 - 1:48 am

    Poo poo it. That's what we should do. That's never going to happen, so never mind, I have better things to do with my time. The sad thing it's a great idea, California is represented by only two very liberal senators in the congress. They only have to campaign where the liberals are to win, if you are conservative your not represented as should be if you live in Cailifornia. So do like did leave California. Let it fall to ruin as it will if things don't change. Splitting up the state makes a lot more sence than keeping the insanity of the current situation. I left the state when I saw my kids were not being educated, and I couldn't afford to pay for a private education and pay to live with tax burdens, regulation and government intrusion California imposes on its citizens. While propping up non citizens without the same burdens.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • LindaMarch 16, 2014 - 7:19 am

    I'm all for splitting the state. I don't think splitting the state that much has a chance. I think splitting it in two north and south is more feasible. It would also have a better chance in getting approval in D.C.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The MisterMarch 16, 2014 - 7:59 am

    Never say "never", Michael. Abraham Lincoln, everyone's favorite fantasy, split Virginia into 2 states when he needed more political support and votes in Congress. Don't think for a minute that another pandering politician from Chicago, for example, wouldn't do the same thing for the same reason.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • mescMarch 16, 2014 - 2:19 pm

    me me me me me. ok so you left the state, but you still feel your opinion is what matters? sheesh. I am all for splitting the state. WATER RIGHTS. Let's get politicians that support our views and needs. Stop putting S.CA supporters in office. Let them put their own people in and no pretending any of our current elected officials support us.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The MisterMarch 16, 2014 - 7:56 am

    "Solano at center of state of corruption" would be an accurate headline today.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • George Guynn, JrMarch 16, 2014 - 7:26 pm

    The Mister, your headline description for Solano County says it all. BTW, isn't it typical Chicago style politics for Lincoln to have divided Virginia, but stop the South from leaving the Union? Got to steal that tax money!!!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JimboMarch 16, 2014 - 11:25 pm

    Timothy Draper, George W Bush's point man in the Silicon Valley. Nuff said.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

    Records detail shooting victim’s court history

    By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A1, 24 Comments | Gallery

     
     
    Free Healthier Living workshops begin this week

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

    Frazier to deliver keynote at Solano EDC event

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B10

     
    25th annual Rush Ranch Open House on April calendar

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A2

     
    Helen Mirren film set for debut

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B9 | Gallery

     
     
    Saturday Club schedules Shower of Flowers event

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

    WIB to host regional career fair

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B10 | Gallery

     
    Group plans Haiti missions fundraisers

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

    Travel presentation ready to roll in Vacaville

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

     
    .

    US / World

     
     
    Ex-FBI agent sentenced to 10 years in Afghan kickback scheme

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    BNSF railroad adds new safety rules for crude oil trains

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    California leaders routinely use private email

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

     
    Endangered bighorn sheep moved to Yosemite, Sequoia parks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Church van crashes into canal, killing 8 and injuring 10

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Tennessee pastor, son who saved 3 boys among Carnegie Heroes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    NSA: Car smashes into police vehicle at Fort Meade; 1 dead

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Former Israeli Premier Olmert convicted in corruption case

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Prosecutors: Co-pilot treated for suicidal tendencies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Guinea shuts border with Sierra Leone in effort to end Ebola

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Saudi-led forces strike Yemen rebels, blockade ports

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Iran nuclear talks near deadline; differences remain

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Prosecution rests its case against Boston Marathon bomber

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    .

    Opinion

    Rebuild Gaza to avert next war

    By Former President Jimmy Carter | From Page: A13

     
    Reid’s US Senate legacy: Obstruction

    By Jennifer Rubin | From Page: A13, 20 Comments

    State moves up national school spending chart

    By Dan Walters | From Page: A13

     
    .

    Living

    Community Calendar: March 31, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

     
    .

    Entertainment

    Animal Planet lives wild with its new programming slate

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    Attorney: Robin Williams’ wife wants to keep wedding tuxedo

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    Eliane Elias enjoys musical homecoming on new CD

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    5 things to know about new ‘Daily Show’ anchor Trevor Noah

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3, 2 Comments | Gallery

    TVGrid March 31

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Sports

    Four No. 1 seeds in the women’s Final Four

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    UConn reaches 8th straight Final Four with win over Dayton

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Grizzlies beat Kings 97-83 to end three-game skid

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Cauley-Stein, Kaminsky, Okafor among Wooden Award finalists

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Hendricks’ shutout streak ends, Cubs top Giants

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Lawrie hits 2 homers as A’s rout Rockies 11-2

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Montoya has swagger back, but also shows softer side

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    A year later than expected, Michigan St back in Final Four

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Connecticut governor: move ’16 Final Four unless law changes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Raiders re-sign free agent defensive lineman C.J. Wilson

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    2 Alabama players arrested in separate weekend cases

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Falcons fined, lose draft pick for pumping in fake noise

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Racial quotas controversy re-emerges in South African sport

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    NFL suspends Browns GM for texting, team holds onto picks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Kaminsky, Okafor lead 2014-15 AP All-America team

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Ex-NASCAR driver gets jail after 3-state high-speed chase

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Nebraska, winner in 14 of last 15, at front of Big Ten surge

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    McGraw appreciates Notre Dame women’s run more than ever

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Gonzaga’s great season ends in Elite Eight but more ahead

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    StubHub files lawsuit against Ticketmaster

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1, 1 Comment

    Judge again rules Joe Paterno can’t sue for contract breach

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Free agent linebacker Lance Briggs visiting with 49ers

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Fiancee says she discarded box at Aaron Hernandez’s request

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    .

    Business

    US consumer spending edges up 0.1 percent in February

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

     
    Business forecasters boost 2-year outlook for US economy

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

     
    Amazon.com offering to help get jobs done around the house

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    McDonald’s to test all-day breakfast beginning in April

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

     
    SEC files fraud charges against Lynn Tilton, firms

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    US university, foundation invested in frozen Chinese stocks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

     
    Regulators plan to drop case at closed California nuke plant

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

     
    Michigan entrepreneur claiming idea for Heinz Dip & Squeeze

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    For Better or Worse March 31

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

     
    Garfield March 31

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

    Crossword March 31

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

     
    Zits March 31

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

    Get Fuzzy March 31

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

     
    Word Sleuth March 31

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

    Bridge March 31

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

     
    Sudoku March 31

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

    Baby Blues March 31

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

     
    Frank and Ernest March 31

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

    B.C. March 31

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

     
    Blondie March 31

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

    Peanuts March 31

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

     
    Baldo March 31

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

    Dilbert March 31

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

     
    Beetle Bailey March 31

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

    Cryptoquote March 31

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

     
    Sally Forth March 31

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

    Pickles March 31

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

     
    Rose is Rose March 31

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

    Wizard of Id March 31

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

     
    .

    Discover Solano Spring/Summer 2015

    Ryde Hotel a speakeasy from the past

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: DIS11

    Walnut Grove shows a bit of historic Japan

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: DIS12

    Fresh, fruity, summer and fall Delta pitstops

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: DIS16

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Benicia

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS21

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Benicia Fire Museum

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS22

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Dixon

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS23

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Jepson Prairie

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS24

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Fairfield

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS25

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS26

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Jelly Belly Candy Co.

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS26

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Fairfield Aquatics Complex

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS27

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Travis Air Museum

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS27

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Suisun Valley

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS29

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Manka’s Corner

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS31

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Glashoff’s Studio

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS32

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS32

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Rio Vista

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS33

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Brannan Island State Park

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS34

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Foster’s Bighorn Bar

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS35

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Sandy Beach

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS35

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Suisun City

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS37

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Suisun City waterfront

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS38

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Rush Ranch

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS39

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Suisun Wildlife Center

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS39

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Vacaville

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS40

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Nut Tree Plaza

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS43

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Vallejo

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS45

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Bay Area Ridge Trail

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS46

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS46

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Solano County

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS48

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Golf Courses

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS49

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Western Railway Museum

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS49

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Grizzly Island

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS50

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Calendar of Events

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS52

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Winters

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS54

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Napa County

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS55

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Sonoma County

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS57

    Discover Solano Spring 2015: Yolo County

    By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS58