Thursday, February 14, 2008

Arizona Running For Least-Hospitable State

Arizona Republicans are considering yet another ballot proposal in November to turn back the single greatest threat to our civilization (aside from terrorists): gay marriage.
Republican lawmakers on Monday proposed asking voters in November to amend the Arizona Constitution to ban same-sex marriage in the state, which was the first to turn down such a measure.

The proposal was backed by 16 of 30 state senators, and an identical proposal was introduced in the House. Both chambers would have to approve the measure in a vote for it to be included on the ballot.

It's always amusing to wonder how conditions in Arizona, or any state, are such that lawmakers have nothing better to do with their time than push discriminatory laws onto a minority group, particularly after the apparent success in creating an environment of hostility toward those folks whose origins lie south of the border.
While it is too early to know for certain, a consensus is developing among economists, business people and immigration groups that the weakening economy coupled with recent curbs on illegal immigration are steering Hispanic immigrants out of the state.

The Arizona economy, heavily dependent on growth and a Latino work force, has been slowing for months. Meanwhile, the state has enacted one of the country’s toughest laws to punish employers who hire illegal immigrants, and the county sheriff here in Phoenix has been enforcing federal immigration laws by rounding up people living here illegally.

Unfortunately, it's driving away many legal residents as well. Many legals have a spouse, other relatives or friends whose illegal status makes life difficult and nightmarish. When coupled with the harsh attitudes and increasingly inhospitable laws they are often leaving the state together as a group.
In the fourth quarter of 2007 the apartment-vacancy rate in metropolitan Phoenix rose to 11.2 percent from 9 percent in the same quarter of 2006, with much higher rates of 15 percent or more in heavily Latino neighborhoods.


Juan Jose Araujo, 44, is here legally. His wife, however, is not and is pressing for the family to return to Mexico because of the difficulty in finding a job and what the family considers a growing anti-immigrant climate.


“We don’t have family or anything in Mexico,” said Mr. Araujo, who has lived in the United States for 24 years. “I wouldn’t have anywhere to go there, but we have to consider it.”

Yes, the politicians and citizens responsible for this are the ones who are so concerned about families and marriage. Right.

Perhaps if they could all turn away from the bigotry and contempt they have for certain humans, they might see there really are greater issues of concern on the horizon which need to be addressed. Things like Lake Mead going dry for starters.
Lake Mead, the vast reservoir for the Colorado River water that sustains the fast-growing cities of Phoenix and Las Vegas, could lose water faster than previously thought and run dry within 13 years, according to a new study by scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

The lake, located in Nevada and Arizona, has a 50 percent chance of becoming unusable by 2021, the scientists say, if the demand for water remains unchanged and if human-induced climate change follows climate scientists’ moderate forecasts, resulting in a reduction in average river flows.

But I'm not here to tell Arizona lawmakers how to conduct affairs in the land of John McCain. It's quite enough for me to sit here and observe their much-deserved karma from afar.

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