The United 52 States of America?

Posted on July 1, 2011

It will be if a couple of new movements have their way.

Southern Arizona, traditionally much more liberal than the Phoenix area, is the site for a new movement of folks who wish to form a new state called “Baja Arizona.” 

Pima County the 51st state?

A political committee made up of attorneys, including the former chairman of the Pima County Democratic Party, has been formed to try to get Southern Arizona to secede from the rest of the state.

Start Our State, which is asking other like-minded counties to join the effort, hopes to put the question before Pima County voters in 2012.

The concept of a Southern Arizona state – Baja Arizona – has been around for ages as a way to differentiate the region from its more conservative brethren to the north. The notion of secession has been bandied about, but there was never a serious effort in that direction – until now.


But Paul Eckerstrom, co-chair of Save Our State, said it’s not a ploy and not merely a political statement. He said the state Legislature has gone too far to the right.

In particular, a round of legislative measures challenging federal supremacy “really does border on them saying they don’t want to be part of the Union any longer,” he said.

“Well, I want to be part of the United States,” Eckerstrom said. At a minimum, he said, the drive will send a message that Pima County doesn’t want to go along with the priorities being outlined in Phoenix.

“It’s no longer a laughing matter to me,” Eckerstrom said, adding that his kids’ futures are at stake. “I’m tired of hoping and praying that rationality will come to Phoenix.”

On the flip side, there’s a conservatives in California proposing a secession of their own:

Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone said he wants to ask about a dozen counties to split from California and form a new state with a balanced budget, secure borders, effective schools and a vibrant economy.

 Stone’s plan came the same day Gov. Jerry Brown signed the new state budget, shoring up the state’s deficit through massive cuts in education and social services.

 “California was once the world’s fourth largest economy and now struggles to hold on to eighth place,” Stone said. “Our taxes are too high, our schools don’t educate our children well enough, unions and other special interests have more clout in the Legislature than the general public. It has to change.”

 Stone will explore his proposal more in-depth at the July 12 Board of Supervisor’s meeting.


In explaining his proposal, Stone offered the following arguments:

· California’s taxes are among the highest in the nation, yet our deteriorating services slip year after year while state officials prop up disastrous budget policies by draining resources needed to help local residents.

· Regulations to control greenhouse gasses, and other unnecessary rules, have chased businesses out of California and devastated the economy.

· Political infighting has paralyzed California for more than decade, creating a state that is too large to govern.

 · A huge portion of the state’s residents are on some form of public assistance and California has about 30 percent of the nation’s welfare load, yet only 12 percent of the population.

 · With limited resources available, California provides benefits that include in-state tuition to illegal immigrants, minimizing the financial resources available for legal residents who pay taxes.

 · Once the darling of public education, California ranks 48th among states in test scores by one measure yet spends an exorbitant portion of the state budget on education.

 Stone suggested the new state consider a part-time legislature and shifting more government control to the cities.

Here’s an idea.  If you’re so unhappy with your state that you want no longer to be a part of it, how about moving to a place that you’re more comfortable with?