David v. Goliath continues to play out through Uranus (independence) square (friction) Pluto (centralized power): in response to the dominant right-wing in Arizona overruling federal regulations, so now liberal Pima County in Southern Arizona wants to secede from that state.
Then-candidate Barack Obama may have been confused or tired when he reported visiting 57 states during the 2008 presidential campaign, but if a group of liberals in southern Arizona has its way, there will soon be a 51st state. Reuters reports:
A group of lawyers from the Democratic stronghold of Tucson and surrounding Pima County have launched a petition drive seeking support for a November 2012 ballot question on whether the 48th state should be divided in two.
Tensions have long simmered between this faction and the remainder of the state, which is largely conservative. Those tensions took a turn for the more heated yesterday when state lawmakers announced a plan to build a fence along Arizona’s southern border—with or without the approval and financial backing of the federal government.
The splinter group, which calls itself Start our State, seeks to split Pima County off into what would become the nation’s 51st state, tentatively named Baja Arizona.
To earn a spot on the ballot, the plan would require 48,000 signatures. Backers have until July 5 next year to collect that many names. Even then, the likelihood of succeeding in seceding from Arizona is extremely remote. Paul Eckerstrom, a Tucson attorney and former Pima County Democratic chairman, is quoted as acknowledging, that “all the stars would have to align for this to happen.”
Which is not to say it hasn’t happened before. It has—four times. Kentucky, the first state to win independent statehood, petitioned for and was granted a separation from Virginia in 1792. The most recent state to secede, West Virginia, also broke off from Virginia, during the Civil War.
As for Baja Arizona, Republican lawmaker Ted Vogt, who represents about a fifth of Pima County residents, dismissed the breakaway movement as posturing by disgruntled Democrats who see themselves losing clout in state politics. Vogt told Reuters, “I don’t think a majority of Pima County residents want to leave Arizona.”
The ballot measure sought by secession backers would put Vogt’s assertion to the test. The measure would be nonbinding and would ask Pima County voters if they supported petitioning lawmakers for permission to secede. Before secession could occur, the measure would require separate approval by the Legislature, and by a second, binding referendum by residents of the proposed state.
If the Legislature refused, organizers could attempt an end run of the process by invoking a statewide referendum. If both the Legislature and Pima County voters agreed, then it would be up to the U.S. Congress to grant Baja Arizona formal statehood.
Continue reading on Examiner.com: Arizona liberals threaten to secede from state – National Libertarian | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/libertarian-in-national/liberals-southern-az-threaten-to-secede-from-state#ixzz1M38mZ7g9