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Best Urban Myth 

Growth Pays for Itself

STAFF PICK: If it does, why are we so poor and always having to raise taxes? This legend belongs in the card catalogue with those of Greece and Rome. It has reached such epic proportions around here, even though its clearly fiction, it's accepted as fact by too many people.

OF MYTHIC PROPORTIONS: Tucson Isn't Like Phoenix. The Tohono O'Odham tell of how four old wise men wanted to enlarge the valley where their people lived, in order to have more fields in which to grow crops. So they put cactus fruit into large ollas, or jars, and waited four days. Then they told the people to hold a great feast, which they did. After the first day of merry-making, the mountains lining the valley looked softer. At the end of the second day of the party, the rocks were quivering. By sunset on the third day, the mountains were slowly moving. Seeing this, the people danced and sang even harder, and the mountains moved and after four days the valley had become larger. But even though the area had grown, the rains did not increase, so the fields produced the same amount of crops as before. For over 50 years Tucsonans have been saying they didn't want to become another Phoenix. But look around. We are a smaller clone of our big neighbor to the northwest, without freeways. So sometimes it is best not to wish for things, or to think that bigger necessarily means better.

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