Arizona is petty as hell. This is, after all, the state that banned cities from banning plastic bags.
But you're a regular person who has a normal job and doesn't live on the internet, you run the risk of missing out on some of the political feuds, neighborhood beefs, and social media flame wars that go down. Inspired by The Cut's "Niche Drama" vertical, we're here to help you catch up.
Here are a couple of obscure controversies and petty disputes that you may have missed over the past week:
Fireworks are fueling the gentrification wars.
It's a time-honored December tradition: White people complaining about all the fireworks going off in their semi-gentrified neighborhoods.
Things came to a head in Coronado at around 9 p.m. on Thursday night, when one resident posted on the neighborhood message board, "Fireworks tonight? Why?"
She followed up minutes later: "I think I don’t get random fireworks that scare the hell out of people with PTSD and animals that fear loud noises. Is it for some kind of celebration?"
Then, a few minutes after that: "Now I hear happy yelling? Is tonight some feast?"
This, in turn, led to a shitstorm of controversy in which one resident got called a cunt, another had his military service questioned, and the original poster was told to move to Gilbert. Also, one woman claimed that the Phoenix Police Department is more likely to respond to calls complaining about fireworks if you tell them that you have a gun and will handle it yourself. (Since apparently it needs to be said: This is a terrible idea. Please don't call up the police station and drop hints that you're about to murder your neighbors.)
Capping it all off was one white woman who told a neighbor, "I feel bad that you have this lack of understanding. You seem to have a lack of a lot of things. Is that cultural?? I could never imagine causing so much noise as to disturb any of my neighbors or their pets, unnerve our country's veterans and engage in anything so obviously illegal. I don't care if it's your 'culture,' it's illegal HERE and there are reasons for that. You seem to have issues with the laws of this country because it's your 'culture.'"
Ducey and Penzone are feuding (or at least their spokespeople are.)
The news that a controversial prisoner re-entry center might be moving to the Durango jail complex in southwest Phoenix led some residents and local Democratic lawmakers to protest outside the state capitol.
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But when Governor Doug Ducey's spokesman, Patrick Ptak, informed the media that the governor's office was pulling the plug, he didn't cite neighborhood opposition. Instead, he pinned the blame on the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, claiming that the sheriff had failed to provide information about the jail's population and hadn't even allowed the Governor's office to tour the site.
Sheriff Paul Penzone's team didn't dispute this. But they did fire back, writing that the process of vetting the proposed project had become "more about politics than public safety."
They also tossed in this subtle burn: "Although the Governor’s office would like to misrepresent the challenges in this process, the intent to execute a project that would come at a yet to be determined, potential cost of over $20 million to the State and $40 million to the County for replacement structures cannot be responsibly evaluated in a two-month timeframe."
One imagines that this won't be the last time that the Democratic sheriff and the Republican governor end up butting heads. Earlier this year, the state Legislature voted to take away $1.6 million in funding from Penzone's office — leading to speculation that he was facing politically motivated payback after defeating Joe Arpaio.