California Today: California Today: A Proposal to Split California Into Three

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Timothy C. Draper, a venture capitalist, is funding a push to carve up California. Credit Brendan Hoffman/Reuters

Good morning.

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California, home to nearly 40 million people, has commonly been declared ungovernable.

That’s why some people think we should carve it up.

In contrast to the so-called Calexit movement, which aspires to secession, these proponents see California’s salvation in greater local autonomy within the union.

A few years ago, a bid to create six states out of California drew wide media attention but ultimately fizzled.

Now, the architect of that effort, a tech billionaire named Timothy C. Draper, is back with another idea: three Californias. He submitted paperwork that would put the question before voters in 2018.

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“No one can argue that California’s government is doing a good job governing or educating or building infrastructure for its people,” Mr. Draper said in an email. “And it doesn’t matter which party is in place.”

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A proposal calls for dividing California into three distinct states. Credit The New York Times

The three Californias would have roughly equivalent populations and wealth. A state of Northern California would include almost the entire upper half of the state, including San Francisco; a Southern California would contain most of the rest.

A third state, called simply California, would fold in Los Angeles and extend up the coast to Monterey.

The proposal’s odds are extreme. Even if voters got behind it, the state Legislature would have to approve it, and then the U.S. Congress, which would have to be convinced to let blue California add four additional senators.

Still, it’s irresistible to ponder the idea of multiple Californias.

Martin W. Lewis, a geographer at Stanford University, said Mr. Draper’s plan was striking in its seeming disregard for regional identities. Monterey, for example, which looks toward San Francisco, would be unlikely to welcome its absorption into a state whose epicenter is Los Angeles.

“That just seems wrong to me,” he said.

As an intellectual exercise, Dr. Lewis last year created a map of his own that plots 10 California regions, bound by an array of shared characteristics. Among them, “Sierra/Gold Country” has its common prospecting history, “Northwest” its boutique agricultural products, and “Imperial” a heavy Hispanic population.

In a two-California scenario, putting aside the water issues, it might seem logical to simply separate north and south.

But Dr. Lewis said that another division had become ascendant in the minds of many residents. He cited the alienation of Republican-leaning counties like those in the far north, where the breakaway movement State of Jefferson has wide allegiance.

“It’s clear now,” he said, “that the real political divide separates the coastal counties from most of the interior counties.”

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California Online

(Please note: We regularly highlight articles on sites that have limited access for nonsubscribers.)

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A man suspected of being a Trump supporter was beaten in Berkeley on Sunday. Credit Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

• “Violent demonstrators in Berkeley are thugs, not activists.” [Opinion | Los Angeles Times]

• Sacramento is moving forward with a contentious anti-violence program that pays young men to turn their lives around. [Sacramento Bee]

BART defended its practice of giving free rides to workers and their families — “Public transportation isn’t meant to operate like a profit-making enterprise.” [San Francisco Chronicle]

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Beachgoers sought relief from the heat in Venice on Tuesday. Credit Mike Nelson/European Pressphoto Agency

Sweltering temperatures across California are expected to linger through the Labor Day weekend. [Los Angeles Times, The Associated Press]

Tim Cook sees a seemingly perpetual state of gridlock in Washington, so he wants Apple to step up on social issues. [The New York Times]

Dara Khosrowshahi is the new C.E.O. of Uber. The inside story of power plays, negotiations and wild swings in support. [The New York Times]

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• Companies are working on ways to control machines simply with a thought. But they are likely to be met with skepticism. [The New York Times]

Kathy Bates: “One of the worst things you can be in Hollywood is old. Ageism is alive and well.” [The New York Times]

• “Birth of the Dragon” focuses on an early chapter in Bruce Lee’s life, when the martial-arts superstar battled a Shaolin monk in the Bay Area. [The New York Times]

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• LPA, a year-old label by bon vivant Lara Pia Arrobio, is beloved by Lena Dunham, Emily Ratajkowski and, yes, the Kardashians. [The New York Times]

• Public lands in California offer dozens of awesome places to camp — for free. [SFGate.com]

And Finally …

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Ishi, circa 1911. He was believed to be the sole surviving member of the Yahi tribe. Credit California State University, Chico

It was this week in 1911 that Ishi, believed to be last living member of the Native American Yahi tribe, emerged from the Sierra foothills near Oroville.

He was semi-naked, malnourished and terrified.

For decades, the Yahi had been living on the edge, reduced in number by killing, starvation and disease after the arrival of settlers during California’s Gold Rush.

Ishi had survived the Three Knolls Massacre in 1865, when ranchers slaughtered dozens of Yahi tribespeople in retaliation for the purported theft of their cattle.

By the early 1900s, the tribe was thought to be wiped out.

So when Ishi walked out of the wilderness, he became a media sensation.

Two U.C. Berkeley anthropologists, Alfred Kroeber and Thomas Waterman, arranged for him to live in an apartment at a San Francisco museum.

They called him Ishi, the Yahi word for man, because he never revealed his name.

The anthropologists quizzed him about Yahi language and traditions. Newspapers dubbed him the “last wild Indian” and chronicled his reactions to modern wonders like streetcars and airplanes.

Visitors to the museum would gather to watch him demonstrate arrowmaking and other native arts.

After five years, in 1916, he died from tuberculosis at 54.

But the fascination with Ishi didn’t end with his death. An autopsy was performed and his brain was sent to the Smithsonian Institution.

Another eight decades passed before it was returned to a tribal delegation in California. The brain, along with Ishi’s ashes, were buried in a secret ceremony in the Mount Lassen foothills that he called home.

California Today goes live at 6 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com.

The California Today columnist, Mike McPhate, is a third-generation Californian — born outside Sacramento and raised in San Juan Capistrano. He lives in Los Osos.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.

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Source: New York Times

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