Guest Commentary

It's time to consider splitting Arizona into two

With the looming ascension of Jan Brewer to the governor's office in Phoenix, there is much fear and consternation south of the Gila River in Arizona.

As many residents of Southern Arizona are keenly aware, we're different from the people living in Maricopa County. Down south, we're mostly Democrats. North of the Gila River is right-wing-Republican country.

Southern Arizona south of the Gila was actually tacked on to Arizona as a result of the Gadsden Purchase in 1853. Many current residents of the territory included in that purchase from Mexico think a big mistake was made. Some think that the area should have been left as part of Mexico. Others think that it was wrong that the area ended up in a state dominated by Phoenix.

Well, with the wholesale shift of state government to a miniature version of George W. Bush's form of America (and we all know how that worked out), the movement to create Baja Arizona as America's 51st state is coming back to life.

Baja Arizona makes a lot of sense as its own state.

First, Maricopa County will eliminate all of those liberals from south of the Gila from ever having a say on the destiny of their state, which could then be controlled--lock, stock and golf courses--by Valley residents. Never again will a Democrat hold any statewide office in the north-of-the-Gila Arizona.

Second, Baja Arizona would be a tremendous economic stimulus for Tucson. Think of all those new political offices and jobs that would be created! An entire state Legislature. Governor. Secretary of state. Public-utilities commissioners ... and all the state agencies and their staff. A construction boom would immediately commence to build all of those new government buildings.

Third, all politicians whose futures are limited to local offices down here would suddenly see their ambitions expanded. Governor. Secretary of state. Public-utilities commissioners ...

Fourth, with all that new government, Baja Arizona hotels would be filled with lobbyists.

Fifth, the rest of Arizona (let's call it Alta Arizona) would cease to have a border with Mexico, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio could spend his time chasing illegal entrants from Baja Arizona. The border would be ours!

A major downside for Alta Arizona would be the loss of all the tax revenue collected south of the Gila that is spent in Maricopa County, probably triggering massive tax increases in Maricopa.

At the national level, statehood for Baja Arizona would probably add two Democrats to the U.S. Senate, which would be difficult to get approved unless either North and South Dakota were merged into one state (why are there two Dakotas, anyway?) or Orange, San Diego, Imperial and San Bernardino counties in California were allowed to form their own state ... called Baja California.

Even though the chances of Baja Arizona actually becoming its own state are slim, Baja Arizona already exists as a state of mind. Maybe Jan Brewer doesn't know Baja Arizona exists--but she will after Jan. 20, 2009.