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The Journal Gazette

Friday, August 10, 2018 1:00 am

Billionaire quits plan to split California in 3

Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The billionaire behind a measure to split California in three said he's giving up on the effort to reimagine the nation's most populous state after the state Supreme Court knocked it off the November ballot.

“The political environment for radical change is right now,” venture capitalist Tim Draper wrote in a letter to the court dated Aug. 2 and made public by his opponents Thursday. “The removal of Proposition 9 from the November ballot has effectively put an end to this movement.”

The court struck Draper's measure in July in response to a lawsuit but didn't rule on the merits of the case, allowing Draper the opportunity to fight to put it on future ballots. He's not moving forward with the case.

Draper spent more than $1.7 million to qualify his initiative for the ballot, which requires gathering hundreds of thousands of signatures.

It's not his first effort to break up California – his plan to split the state into six didn't qualify for past ballots.

He's argued that California has become ungovernable due to its size and diversity, politically and geographically.

Draper said he had “no idea” if his initiative would have passed.