Is Baja Arizona silly? Maybe…but it beats the alternatives to deal with our frustration about the Maricopa agenda

From Forbes:

Will Baja Arizona Become the 51st State?

Even so, Baja Arizona may succeed in another way. The secessionist movement sends a powerful message to prospective businesses that the region is different from the butt of late-night talk shows to the north. Baja Arizona might not become a new state, but it certainly shows a more moderate state of mind.


Mark Evans thinks the current effort to free Baja Arizona is “silly and distracting

Evans suggests that instead of wasting time on talking about a new state:

All of the people, businesses, associations and groups, including lobbyists, who are stunned at the actions of this legislature need to band together to draft a measure of state constitutional reforms that repeals Clean Elections and term limits, eliminates or replaces the primary election process and considerably raises legislative salaries. Then they need to gather the signatures necessary to put all the measures on the 2012 ballot.

It will take an enormous effort of time, people and money to explain the measures to Arizonans and why it’s good for them in the long run to gather enough signatures. This secession silliness would only distract and detract from that effort (assuming everyone who keeps talking about doing it stops talking about and starts doing something about it).

The disaffected Baja Arizonans, as the proposed new state would be called, should join with these more reasonable, more likely to succeed statewide reform efforts rather than waste time and money on an effort that’s as nutty as what happened last week in the Senate.

I don’t know how long Mr. Evans has lived in Arizona, but it seems not long enough.

First off, it would surprise many people that our state constitution is actually quite populist. If it were actually followed by the state legislature, we wouldn’t have a lot of the problems we have. The problem is the state constitution has been systematically gutted by legislators and judges up in Phoenix.

Second, the kind of reforms Evans suggests (and I could think of a dozen more) simply will not pass in a state-wide vote even assuming all the interests Evans suggest band together would actually do that (which they would not). If Baja Arizona is a kind of magical thinking, so is Evans’ solution.

The 4 million folks in Marciopa who elect people like Russell Pearce and Joe Arpaio are so skewed off to one direction that the rest of the people of the state are literally drowned out. Our voice isn’t heard.

What are the chances of Baja Arizona actually being created? Somewhere between slim and none.

As Evans correctly notes it will never happen.

The obstacles to carving out a new state from another are enormous. Overcoming those obstacles will require tens of millions of dollars that would be better spent in a statewide effort to reform Arizona’s broken political system.

In fact I doubt if Evans fully comprehends the extraordinary difficulty these days in carving out a new state.

The folks who launched the  effort to Free Baja Arizona are not demonstrating the kind of effort that it would really take to carve out a new state….but if people get frustrated enough about the current situation they might.

It would not be hard to write our own constitution…we could use about 95% of the Arizona constitution to start with and clean up some language that has allowed the legislature and courts to diminish the good stuff that is in the constitution already so a Baja legislature could not take away those good things.

We could have an internet effort “write your own state constitution” to add some things that would be good to have.

Just one example…besides a separation of church and state the existing state constitution also has a provision banning state subsidy of corporations. Isn’t that an interesting idea? Isn’t that some of what the Tea Party is talking about? Been in the constitution since 1912.

Article 9 of the Arizona state constitution:

7. Gift or loan of credit; subsidies; stock ownership; joint ownershipSection 7. Neither the state, nor any county, city, town, municipality, or other subdivision of the state shall ever give or loan its credit in the aid of, or make any donation or grant, by subsidy or otherwise, to any individual, association, or corporation, or become a subscriber to, or a shareholder in, any company or corporation, or become a joint owner with any person, company, or corporation, except as to such ownerships as may accrue to the state by operation or provision of law or as authorized by law solely for investment of the monies in the various funds of the state.

10. Aid of church, private or sectarian school, or public service corporationSection 10. No tax shall be laid or appropriation of public money made in aid of any church, or private or sectarian school, or any public service corporation.

It is equally futile to imagine tens of millions being spent to reform the state’s broken political system. Been there and done that it and it didn’t work.

So what do you do when there is not a viable alternative to having your voice heard in a state?

Door number 1 (Evans) says reform the existing state…which many view as impossible.

Door number 2 (the Free Baja Arizona movement) says create a new state…which many also view as impossible.

There is no Door number 3 yet.

Door number 3 probably is a much higher voter turn out of Democrats and Independents and everyone else who do not agree with the agenda being set for the state by the rght-wing Maricopans (and their allies down here).

So what will it take to get all those non-voters to engage in the political process?

That’s where the Baja Arizona effort…still largely a joke…somes into play.

The Baja Arizona movement from its inception during the Mecham Administration has been a way to protest the craziness up north, and define us as “not them”. And to get attention focused on what the problems are.

The state secession movement has been very much like all the others around the country…a way to express frustration with the dominance of another part of the state and define the difference between us and them.

And that is useful.

It is said “if you don’t have a chair at the table you are on the menu”.

The people of southern Arizona have no chair at the state governance table, and we’ve been on the menu for a long time.

What are our options? Armed revolt? Of course not.

But we can express our frustration, and laugh about the situation?

Probably to biggest expense in the 30+ years of the Free Baja Arizona movement has been the printing of bumper stickers. One should expect another round of bumper stickers to turn up.

So…we’re nutty.

Indeed….but not dangerously nutty as our counterparts up north.

Mark….read up on non-violent protests and enjoy the fact that a whole lot of people are saying “enough” to the Marciopa agenda and giving folks down here a way to express their frustration and a reason to show up and vote next year.

Unlike the right-wing militias who are arming themselves for their rebellion against the tyranny they imagine going on and unlike the right-wing politicians passing laws to block their imagined invasion by illegal aliens…. we print bumper stickers and laugh….And this might be good for our economic development opportunities.

America’s 51st state… movement starts to Free Baja Arizona

Other statehood movements:


Puerto Rico

Northern Virginia

Long Island

New York City

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula


Washington DC


About Hugh Holub

Attorney and writer.
This entry was posted in 51st state, free baja arizona. Bookmark the permalink.

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