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Silicon Valley venture capitalists are plagued with a strange affliction. They believe that having made gobs of money somehow makes their kooky ideas brilliant. They’re stinking rich, so their hair-brained concepts of what the world ought to look like not only deserve a fair hearing in the reality-based world but somehow are examples of their superior thinking.
The investor Tim Draper has such an idea he’s using his money to push: a ballot initiative to split California into three. If Draper has his way, California would be cleaved into a northern state with San Francisco at its core, a smaller but populous center built around Los Angeles, and a southern state encompassing much of the breadbasket Central Valley plus San Diego.
Draper is nothing if not nimble. He originally wanted to split California into six states. Somehow he thinks half that will be more appealing to voters. A political consultant who has opposed Draper’s shenanigans before got it right when he told The San Francisco Chronicle: “This just goes to show that a billionaire with a wacky idea can get about anything on the ballot.”
Draper seems not to have noticed that a big and powerful California holds tremendous clout in the nation and the world. It bends environmental regulators to its will, for example, and has tremendous influence in Washington, D.C. His maneuvering would weaken the state at a time it needs to pull together.
Draper spent more than $5 million on his last effort to split up California. Imagine how much good that money could do feeding the poor, housing the homeless, or funding humility courses for venture capitalists.
Anyone who doubts Apple’s (AAPL) commitment to secrecy in the post-Steve Jobs era should read this Bloomberg story. The company threatens leakers with jail time, for example.