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TUBAC: The Kokopelli County Board of Supervisors held an emergency meeting recently to address the serious budget problem facing the County.

"Our County's government is supported by property taxes on lots of really high priced real estate," said Bill Smith, Chairman of the Kokopelli County Board of Supervisors.

"The high prices for the real estate are due to the fact that we have a reputation of being a famous art colony," Smith added.

The problem facing Kokopelli County is that the last real artist has left the County.

"Armando Pinon, who is a very famous artist, moved out of the County, and now we don't have any real artists left," said Smith. "If we don't have any real artists, then the real estate people can't sell all the historic homes and business sites for exorbitant prices, which in turn generates a lot of tax revenue to the County."

Kokopelli County, therefore, needs some real artists in residence.

"All we have left is people selling trinkets," said Smith. "We need real artists with national reputations living and working here, so real estate values remain high and thus our tax revenues."

The Kokopelli County Board of Supervisors is considering enacting an Art Tax on real estate in the county.

"We would exempt the property of any real artists from any property taxes, since they're the goose laying the golden eggs of high priced homes owned by people who want to live near the artists," Smith said. "But we would impose a special Art Tax on the property whose value is increased by having artists in the area."

"We shouldn't have to pay for letting artists live for free," said Sam Greedbag, head of the Kokopelli County Board of Realtors. "We have the right to profit off creative people without providing them any support. The Art Tax is socialism."

Artists from around the country were supportive of the Kokopelli Art Tax. "We go into some run down area that is worthless, renovate the old buildings, and create an art community," said Michael Lison, a watercolorist from New York, "and the next thing we know someone has put a Starbucks in, raised all the rents, and we get driven out."

"Artists are one of the major generators of increased real property values," said Sharon Mopdale, art economist at the General Delivery University. "Wherever an art colony forms, real estate values rise and lots of people make a lot of money...except the artists," she added.

"Subsidizing artists actually makes excellent business sense, especially for redevelopment of old warehouse districts and historic districts," she added.

The problem is, the beneficiaries of increased property values don't want to support the artists who create the rise in property values.

"If the arts community had to depend on voluntary contributions from the real estate community, they'd be in even worse shape than they are now," added Mopdale.

"That's exactly why we're just going to tax the real estate that benefits from the artists," said Kokopelli County Supervisor Smith. "The other option is property values fall due to the lack of artists, and the County goes broke."

County real estate speculators threatened to sue if the Kokopelli County Art Tax is imposed. "It's un-American to use tax money to support artists," said Jim Barber, major land speculator in the area. "Next thing we know, they'll be trying to sell pictures of naked women or something," he added before he drove off in his new Mercedes Benz to inspect his new Art Colony Townhome project.


TUBAC, AZ: Every February this quaint little historic art community holds a giant festival to attracts hundreds of thousands tourists to the town, so the store owners can pay their rents for the year.

Since February is generally characterized by decent weather in Baja Arizona (except for the occasional snow storm), many communities hold festivals in order to shake down tourists. Tucson, for example, is hosting its annual Gem Show.

But there is a dark side to the Tubac Festival...and maybe festivals like this in many other small towns.

The residents of Tubac, those who have nothing to do with the festival, get trapped in their homes for 5 to 11 days(depending on which faction is running the Chamber of Commerce). We can't get in or out because all the streets are blocked off and filled with tourists.

Some residents (who weren't already clincally depressed) have been known to go mad during the festival.

Festivals, especially the kind where little tents are set up all over the place to house the wandering gypsies who make their living going from festival to festival selling hand made trinkets, tend to clog up a small town.

In the case of Tubac, which is allegedly known for its art colony and original work, a cluster of stores developed between the historic part of the town (known as "Old Town")  and the freeway, which is called "Trinket Town" by the residents of Old Town. The storekeepers are known as the "Trinketeros".

In addition to Old Town, which is inhabited mostly by real artists, and Trinket Town, which is inhabited mostly by greedy capitalists, there is the Tubac Barrio, which is inhabited by descendants of the founders of the town 275 years ago, who have been steadily pushed into oblivion by Anglo real estate swine.

The Trinketeros, however, control the local Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the annual festival.

In true Trinketero fashion, they fill the parking spaces in front of their stores with rented booths, and then tie up the entire town with traffic, inconveniencing everyone else for 11 days.

It never occurs to the Trinketeros that everyone else in the town ought to either get a piece of the action for the Festival, or at least not get trapped in their homes for nearly 2 weeks.

Such is the mentality of the storekeepers...who cannot see beyond the 3 parking spaces in front of their individual stores most days.

Back in Old Town the Tubacenas retaliate by barricading their properties so the tourists cannot park in their front yards. Some attempt to pick off a share of tourist revenue by selling space to their relatives so they can peddle beads. Some even sell parking spaces.

Day after day the hordes of tourists descend upon Tubac, and night after night the residents of the Tubac Barrio and Old Town plot the demise of the members of the organizers of the Festival.

And so it has been for nearly 40 years.