Monday, June 22, 2009

This is why my blog is called the soapbox.

I live in an unincorporated area of Pinal County just south of Phoenix. The post office recently decided to change our zip code as it is one of the fasted growing areas in the state, if not the country. Or at least it was until the housing market fell apart, but the point is that there are a TON of people down here in a zip code that is just very full. There are people that are very upset with this, but that is not my issue at the moment. My issue is that for years, a segment of the people down here have wanted to incorporate into a town. I haven't made up my mind about this, I see advantages (a library closer than 45 minutes) and disadvantages (the taxes to fund the library). So just last week I start getting emails about a changing the name of the area at the same time as they change the zip code. The first email I recieve is about how a county supervisor is changing the name without input from the community, that this is being railroaded through without our say or knowledge. This concerns me, as it should. Next I get an email about how the supervisor and post office have decided to extend the deadline for this name change to allow for community involvement. Great! So far I'm right where they want me. Not thinking about WHY we need the name change, or who is asking for the name change, but just glad I get to be a part of it. But as the days go by and a I get a couple more emails about the process of choosing the name, I begin to lose my sheep status. I start thinking, what is the point of this name change? Is it the post office asking for a name to go along with the new zip code? Was it just an opportune time to create an identity apart from Queen Creek? Is it the first step towards incorporation? I start researching. I look at all the emails I've recieved. I look at the website of the Greater San Tan Area Coalition, the group that is co-ordinating this name change. I email them myself when I cannot find a reason specifically stated in all of this.

On the Greater San Tan Area Coalition"s website, I read several times that their goal is not to incorporate, but only a way of banding together to voice our wants and needs to the entities that control the area, Pinal County, Queen Creek, etc. The emails state this as well, including the reply to my own, which says "The name change is to give an identity to the unincorporated northeastern section of Pinal County - nothing more nothing less. This is not about incorporation or annexation or anything of the such. Simply an identity... ". Sounds good so far. However, I don't think that is the truth.

The news is stating that this is a step towards incorporation. I look at the items the GSTAC are concerned about. Protecting open space, attracting business, creating a plan for shopping and residential areas, traffic control, amenities (I assume this means a library, maybe a recycling program, a fire department, etc). These are all goals that require incorporation. An open space plan would require an environmental impact survey as well as an overall plan for our area. Where are the housing developments going, the shopping centers? That requires decisions on traffic control, new roads, etc. This kind of planning costs money, lots of money. Amenities cost money. How will they get that? A tax of course. But how? If we continue in to be an unincorporated part of Pinal County, how will the county tax us and not other areas. Can't use a sales tax. You might be able to create a special zone, a difficult proposition. Most likely we would have to incorporate. Only a city government is capable of providing the resources needed to accomplish the goals stated by the Greater San Tan Area Coalition.

Which brings me to the problem. The Greater San Tan Area Coalition is lying. They are trying to start the process of incorporation without our consent. They are telling us this is only a designation on an envelope, but it not. They want us to feel like a group because we will be more likely to behave like a group apart from Pinal County and Queen Creek. It is manipulation, plain and simple. My concern at this point is not whether a town of Bella Vista or whatever the name becomes is a good idea. It is how we are getting there and how can I trust those that are setting themselves up as the political entity to create this town when they lie right from the first step. As for the why, I never got a straight response, but I think it's obvious.

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