NORTHERN ARIZONA AND SOUTHERN ARIZONA could be two different states for all the things their inhabitants have in common — and Phoenix could be a separate planet altogether. All Arizonans take pride in their Baby State, but regional loyalties run deep and punches are occasionally thrown.
Here are some of those points of contention:
1. “The weather is better down/up here.”
The winters in Flagstaff and the rest of Northern Arizona are as brutal as the summers of Baja Arizona.
2. “Our natural hazards are deadlier.”
Southern Arizona has killer floods and Northern Arizona has murderous ice storms. Phoenix has apocalyptic heat waves that make you want to repent.
3. “We’re more liberal.”
Tucson can be considered the “blue dot in a red state,” but Northern Arizona leans liberal as well. It’s really the giant population of Phoenix and certain rural pockets of voters that make historically conservative decisions. Arizona is turning purple.
4. “Our food is better.”
The United Nations did not declare Tucson the United States’ first Capital of Gastronomy for nothing. Southern Arizona food trumps all.
5. “We dress better.”
Arizonans are about three-to-five years behind most trends, especially fashion (and hair). Many young Phoenicians have a clue what’s up, but that doesn’t exactly make the city a center of style.
6. “Northern/Southern Arizona is safer.”
Southern Arizona and Phoenix aren’t showing off any shiny safety badges. Tucson has the highest larceny rate in the nation; Phoenix has nothing to brag about with its property crime stats. Flagstaff falls at right about the national average of violent crime, and in Prescott people still leave their car and house doors unlocked.
7. “Our skies are more stunning.”
Northern Arizona has Lowell Observatory, where the dwarf planet Pluto was discovered. Southern Arizona has strict city light ordinances and there’s even a Sky Village in the southeastern part of the state. Astronomy contributes up to $250 million to the entire state’s economy. Even the Vatican has an observatory high in the mountains near Safford. But you can’t see the stars in Phoenix.
8. “We’re just nicer.”
Nope. That prize goes to the whole friendly state. Arizona is dog-friendly, tax-friendly, and relatively gay-friendly. Just don’t ask about immigration policies.