« on: March 29, 2017, 06:24:57 am »
warning: this is long and boring. excuse me for using pd as my own personal blog, but, you know, deal with it and stuff.
I live in a medium-ish sized town in AZ around the outskirts of Phoenix. Or rather, we would be a town, but this area is unincorporated. It's a sprawling tangle of subdivisions crowded around a couple of "main" roads that are way too narrow for the number of people who have flocked out here over the past decade. Public services have struggled to keep up with demand, mostly due to terrible planning and probably a shoestring budget (the way everything operates in Arizona), but with the added seasoning of a couple of powerful bullshit tycoons who run the only water utility and fire protection service (fire protection isn't included in taxes here -- if you want it, you have to pay through a per-square-foot fee to this company).
The people who want to incorporate (myself included) generally believe that the townspeople deserve as a matter of natural rights or something to unionize and have some input on our collective future. Right now, we are at the mercy of the County Supervisor, a person who has no need to consider our opinions because he is elected by the entire country, and is a Republican. Beyond him is the state legislature, which is even farther removed and more useless. You may have to live in Arizona to get a true appreciation for how corrupt everything here is, but suffice it to say there is no such thing as a politician here who does anything that might be construed as "the will of the people". So it is the sense of the "Incorporate" side that we might manage to fend off higher levels of government by instituting one that answers, at least mechanically, to us. I doubt that is how it would actually work out, but I'm a horrible Statist so it is the best alternative, as far as I'm concerned.
The people who want to remain unincorporated, however, confuse me. I can't quite put my finger on any actual reason they oppose it. They blare protests at the prospect of "higher taxes" and "more bureaucracy", predictably, but our property taxes are already as high as they are allowed to go under state law, and we live in a Republican clusterfuck so "more bureaucracy" is a given anyway. But these do not seem to be the heart of their opposition -- only the most easily communicated. After talking to a few of them sincerely, I think the main reason they don't want to incorporate is just because. Typically, a person in the "NOPE" camp is one whose residency in this area predates the population explosion of the last 10 years and who bears a slight grudge against all of us late-coming "city dwellers" for mucking up their natural desert landscape with our drab repetitive tract homes, strip malls, six-lane roads, streetlights, running water, Internet access, and all the other trappings of civilization they apparently hate. These people are Conservative in the most insidious sense: they are not really "conserving" anything, they just hate change and progress because they are change and progress. Still, when cornered on any one particular issue, they will admit that the benefits of incorporation are both real and valuable. The utilities are of poor quality and they should not have to pay protection money to the Firefighter Mafia; the roads are crap, the schools are crap, there are no parks, there are no leaders nearby with an ear turned to the people, there are no real businesses or jobs in the area, and so on. They just stubbornly won't incorporate, well, because they won't.
I would like to convince them, but as usual with such deeply conservative folk, they are immune to reason. Even when you nail them down on any one of fifteen different paths to "the only logical conclusion is that we should incorporate", they just pop back out of place as soon as you move in for the close. They seem to think that if they just bury their heads in the sand, incorporation will never happen. I, and many others, have argued against that way of thinking since it's preposterous. Either they will eventually vote "NO" and lose in a referendum, and have none of their concerns addressed by the outcome on account of pouting in the corner while negotiations were happening; or some neighboring city will end up annexing them thanks to their neighbors signing on, resulting in more or less the same. Either way, an area this densely populated cannot go on as a "county island" for too long. They point to pockets of unincorporated areas within and around Scottsdale, failing to take note of the fact that those areas are populated by rich assholes on 40-acre estates, not poor fourth-generation "ranchers" on evaporating ex-ranches next to a highway. My desire to convert them is admittedly less altruism than science experiment or weekend hobby. I just don't understand the way they think, and I keep imagining that if I could wrap my head around their thought processes, I might unlock some skeleton key to the universal ignorance of conservatives in general. Silly, but I don't care really. It's fun to prod them.