Californians won't get to vote on a ballot measure that would split their mega-state into three smaller ones, the California Supreme Court has ruled. The breakup proposal,  financed by Silicon Valley gazillionaire Tim Draper, faced practical and constitutional obstacles that would have kept it from being implemented even if it had passed. Still, the court's decision deprives Oregonians an opportunity to watch an interesting spectacle from a safe distance — interesting partly because Oregon has also felt the tug of separatist impulses.

Draper spent $1.2 million to gather enough signatures to place his three-Californias initiative on the ballot. It proposed creating a state of Northern California extending from Santa Cruz to the Oregon border, a state of Southern California that would include the central valley and San Diego, and a state of California that would stretch from Los Angeles to Monterey. Draper should have spent a little more and paid a marketing consultant to come up with more imaginative names.

Only Congress can split states — something that hasn't been done since West Virginia separated from Virginia and was admitted to the Union in 1863. A request for congressional approval of a plan to divide a state would have to come from the state's legislature, not its voters.

Yet Draper's proposal tapped into resentments that are real. Northern and eastern California have long felt ignored by the richer, more populous and generally liberal coastal areas. San Francisco and Los Angeles have been cultural and economic rivals for decades. With 40 million people, California is too big to be responsive — each state senator represents more than 1 million people. Even if the three-states initiative had no practical effect, it would have been instructive to see how the California's regional differences played out at the ballot box.

The result might even have provided a clue about the potential popularity of a proposal to divide Oregon — an idea that undoubtedly appeals to may people outside the Willamette Valley.