“Dream on weirdo.”
It was one of many “mean Tweets” directed at super-rich venture capitalist and Atherton resident Tim Draper in the past week, particularly after his proposal to split California into three separate states, the Cal 3 plan, obtained enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot.
“The money Tim Draper has spent on Cal3 is a really good demonstration of how rich people need, but often do not have, close confidantes who can tell them when they are lighting money on fire,” Tweeted Josh Barro, senior editor at Business Insider.
Even a former colleague challenged Draper’s plan.
“I’ve known Tim Draper since 2008, when he was on my Board at Increo, and he’s famous for his brilliantly crazy ideas,” entrepreneur and angel investor Jeff Seibert Tweeted. “But I have to say this one is horrifically misguided and inequitable, and I’m bummed it made it to the ballot.”
In 2014, Draper, famous for early investments in notable entities such as Hotmail, Skype, Tesla, Theranos and cryptocurrency, spent more than $5 million to promote a plan to split California into six states, a goal he says would provide citizens with better representation in state government. The effort failed after nearly 400,000 of more than 1 million signatures collected for the measure were deemed invalid by elections officials.
Rather than give up on his plan to re-invent the 168-year-old state, Draper has “doubled down.” Which, in this case, means his vision for California is reduced from six states to three.
The new measure would lump land between the Oregon border and Santa Cruz and Merced counties into its own state called “Northern California.” A second state, “Southern California” would encompass counties from the Mexico border to as far north as Madera and Mono counties. A third state along the coast, which would retain the name “California,” would include Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and San Benito counties. Each state would have about 12.3 million to 13.9 million people under the proposal.
While elections officials on Tuesday estimated the Cal 3 measure has garnered the required number of signatures for the November ballot, the plan remains unpopular.
In the most recent poll in April, just 17-percent supported the idea of dividing the state. Some of Draper’s opponents are not just criticizing Cal 3, but also the amount of money he is spending on an unlikely proposition, funds that could improve the very schools Draper has criticized as failing. Splitting the state would require approval from U.S. Congress and the President and is projected by some to be costly and chaotic.
Others have shifted their criticism of Draper to the state’s popular referendum process, which they say is a way the super rich can wield power with little consequence.
The man with the plan widely panned as arrogant has lashed out at his critics as being, well arrogant.
In the Los Angeles Times this week, Draper accused his detractors of “arrogant dismissiveness.”
“We have failing school systems, broken infrastructure with bad waterways and highways, and we have the highest taxes in the nation,” he told the newspaper. “There is no excuse for people not being open to a new solution … [Critics] offer nothing but kneejerk rejection of discussion around one of the most meaningful initiatives to come through the ballot, ever!”