An Oasis of Brilliance in Arizona’s Desert Full of Crazy
Arizona takes the lead with a smart new public policy idea
Arizona has not—repeat, has not—gone crazy. Not entirely anyway. Sure, Arizona still takes the prize for nuttiest state in this great nation. From deciding to let transplant recipients die, to banning the history of its large Hispanic population, to racial profiling laws like the now infamous SB1070, Arizona has established itself as America’s leader in dumb government.
But it would be a mistake to paint Arizona with too broad a brush. A rather brilliant public policy idea is now gaining steam in Arizona’s Pima County, the progressive and well educated enclave that shares a long border with Mexico. It’s called Start our State, and it’s an effort to divide Arizona into two states, Arizona to the north and Baja to the south. This idea is not so crazy. Article 4, section 3 of the US Constitution covers this exact thing. Both Maine and West Virginia were created this way.
Pima County has a population of about one million and includes the uber-cool City of Tucson. It hosts the University of Arizona, and values a friendly relationship with Arizona’s largest trading partner, Mexico. Tucson offers multi-cultural education as an elective in public school. And as I found last year, they’ve never been too fond of SB1070.
The idea to carve out a progressive enclave in Southern Arizona is rooted in a desire not to be embarrassed or held back by the immigrant retirees in Maricopa County, up around Phoenix. Save our State calls Arizona’s current governance the “know-nothing nativism of the 19th century.”
In Maricopa they have too much grass for the desert, too much hay fever because of the grass, and too many golf courses. But mostly, there are too many retirees. It’s the kind of community where everyone is from somewhere else, where knobby knees shine under well-pressed tennis shorts, and where “the new people from up north” imagine that guy speaking Spanish has to be talking about them.Continued on the next page