|Image courtesy Joe.My.God.|
In southern Arizona some people are so unhappy with the direction the state has taken that they want to create their own state. And they already have a state motto: 'Not Everybody In Arizona Is Crazy'
At the Shanty, a favorite bar for Tucson Democrats, there is a major petition drive going for people who don't much care for the Republican-controlled Arizona government. David Euchner has set up a table just inside the door to catch patrons before they have a drink after work: "Hi, would you like to sign a petition?" And he's having no trouble getting people to sign a petition declaring Baja Arizona the 51st state.
Yup, Arizona hates Arizona so much it wants to split off from itself.
Now, that's not an easy task. Organizers need 48,000 signatures to put it on the local ballot in Pima County, and, if it passes there, statehood for Baja Arizona will have to be approved by, well, Arizona. And if Arizona del Norte approves--highly unlikely--it will then head to the US Congress for approval. A fairly iinsurmountable task.
Still, Paul Eckerstron, co-chairman of Start Our State, says he'd be happy if the initiative made the local ballot: "If we do this vote, at least we can send a message not only to the state Legislature but also to the rest of the nation to tell the rest of the nation that not everybody in Arizona is crazy."
Politically, the Tucson metro area is far more moderate than the northern bits of the state, and since southern Arizona was actually part of Mexico until 1854, it's more culturally integrated than say, those lily white spots up north.
And those this seems more like a joke than an actual issue, residents of Baja Arizona say there's a serious side to their quest to create a new state. They say Arizona is headed in the wrong direction--with its cuts to education and health care funding, and hurting the state's reputation and business climate with laws like their new immigration policy [SB 1070].
And because Baja Arizona doesn't agree with Arizona del Norte, they Republicans in the Legislature are punishing Pima County for its opposition. In fact, the state legislature--the state's Republican dominated legislature--has tried to deny money to Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik because he doesn't support SB 1070. It also passed a law trying to change the way Tucson holds city elections, and another bill dictating how the city can bid public works projects.
Republican state Representative, and Goosestepper, John Kavanagh helped pass many of those laws because he says the Legislature is doing what it thinks is right. "We pass laws based upon what we believe the people of Arizona want."
But not, apparently, the laws that the people of Baja Arizona want, eh, John?