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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, July 07, 2018 1:00 am

Carving up states - a capital idea?

This November, Californians will vote on whether to split into three states.

One would comprise the San Francisco Bay area, Sacramento and the northern California counties. One would stretch from Fresno to the southern end of the state. And the third would include Los Angeles and the coastline up to Monterey.

Each would have about the same population – 14 million to 16 million people – and each would have two U.S. senators.

“Three states will get us better infrastructure, better education and lower taxes,” Tim Draper, the Silicon Valley venture-capitalist billionaire behind the proposal he calls “Cal3,” told the Los Angeles Times. “States will be more accountable to us and can cooperate and compete for citizens.”

Draper's petition campaign garnered 365,000 signatures to get the plan placed on the ballot.

No one seems to think the measure will pass, which these days probably means the measure will pass. Of course, there would be all manner of hell to pay if it did. For instance, since a disproportionate share of California's wealth is in the northern part of the state, public health and welfare costs alone might sink the new LA state.

Nonetheless, such thought games are interesting to play.

For instance, Indiana could be divided into three states, too – with some to spare. Indianapolis would be one, of course – an appealing idea, if only because the legislature and the governor would no longer be able to constantly favor Marion County over the rest of Indiana.

Southern Indiana could be its own state, too, with Evansville as its capital, which would be the first time Evansville has ever been the center of anything. Then both of those states could be walled off from the northern half of Indiana with little if any loss to the rest of us.

Northwest Indiana could be allowed to follow its true heart and join Illinois.

And that would leave Northeastiana – a nearly paradisical fiefdom with unlimited manufacturing capability, a workable trails system and an unequaled array of vacation lakes. Fort Wayne, of course, would be at the epicenter. Could things get any better?