'Cal 3' proposal to divide California being pulled, billionaire backer says

The lead backer of "Cal 3," a plan to divide California into three states, says he will no longer push the proposal after the state Supreme Court pulled it from the November ballot.

In a letter to the court dated Aug. 2, Tim Draper, a Bay Area venture capitalist, said the court's decision last month to remove Cal 3 from the 2018 midterms, “effectively put an end to this movement,” and that he does not intend to appeal the decision, the Sacramento Bee reported.  

The letter was made public by his opponents Thursday.

Draper had gathered more than 402,000 signatures when he submitted Prop. 9 in April to qualify for the November ballot. He argued that California had become too large to govern and would better represent its population by dividing into three separate states.

FILE - In this July 15, 2014 file photo, Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper presents his drivers license for identification purposes to Heather Ditty, elections manager for the Sacramento County Registrar of Voters, as he turns in boxes of petitions for a ballot initiative that would ask voters to split California into six separate states in Sacramento, Calif. The court struck venture capitalist Draper's initiative from the ballot in July 2018 as part of a legal challenge in response to a lawsuit but didn't rule on the merits of the case. Draper says he's giving up on the effort after the state Supreme Court knocked it off the November 2018 ballot. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

In this July 15, 2014 file photo, Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper presents his drivers license as he turns in boxes of petitions for a ballot initiative that would ask voters to split California into six separate states in Sacramento, Calif.  (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

He also made previous efforts in prior elections to break up California. But his plan to split California into six states didn’t qualify for past ballots.

Cal 3 was originally drafted as an amendment to the state constitution, but the environmental group Planning and Conservation League filed a lawsuit, maintaining that Draper’s proposal amounted to a “revision” that would require support from two-thirds of the state Legislature before appearing on the midterm ballot, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

"At the end of the day, this was a billionaire's massive and illegal use of the initiative process, and the court was correct in stopping this folly."

- Carlyle Hall, attorney for Planning and Conservation League

"At the end of the day, this was a billionaire's massive and illegal use of the initiative process, and the court was correct in stopping this folly," said Carlyle Hall, an attorney who worked on the suit with the environmental group.

On July 9, California’s Supreme Court pulled Prop. 9 from the midterm ballot because of “significant questions regarding the proposition’s validity.” Draper was given a 30-day window to argue whether the proposal should be placed on the 2020 ballot.

Draper contended the court’s decision to remove the measure meant “the desires of hundreds of thousands of Californians who signed the initiative petition have been disregarded because of some ‘potential harm’ that would befall the voters if they were even presented an opportunity to discuss the failings of their government.”

Hall derided Draper’s decision not to appeal as evidence “that (Draper) has no serious interest in the policy implications of his foolish idea, but that he just wanted to piggyback on what he thinks is a political trend.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Bradford Betz is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bradford_betz.