Other proposals would have split the state vertically. In 2009, former assemblyman Bill Maze proposed to separate the coastal counties that extend from San Francisco and Sacramento south to San Diego. (There was talk of the 120th meridian as the boundary, the kind of straight-line border that deliniates the northern edges of Nevada and California.) The purpose was to free the more conservative counties inland from the dominant liberal coastal counties. A similar proposal, “New California,” is also in the works. Its advocates are now working to enlist support within each of the 58 counties for its introduction in the legislature.

And in 2016, Tim Draper tried a new tactic, taking the issue directly to the people via ballot initiative. He proposed to break up California into six states but failed to collect enough signatures to qualify it for the ballot. His latest proposal, of course, would divide California into three states. If passed, new arrangements for the three states would be worked out in a manner similar to the organic acts of earlier times and then sent to Congress for approval. Enough signatures were collected to qualify the proposal for the November 2018 ballot, and until July it looked as if Proposition 9 would go before the voters — though polling suggested it was a long shot.