Tucson Is Overlooked Again

Tucson, Arizona [Photo courtesy City of Tucson]

The May 11 on-line weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal had a short video at the top of the front page on the best cities for “tech-savvy college graduates.”  Even before I clicked on the video, I knew that the likelihood of Tucson being one of the cities was almost nil—but hope springs eternal.

My hopes went up when the video opened by saying that Seattle, Portland and Austin are no longer as attractive as they used to be, because of their high cost of living.  My hopes went up even higher when the video went on to say that the top cities have low rents, plentiful jobs, and a thriving social life.  After all, Tucson has all of these attributes, particularly with Raytheon Missile systems being in the process of hiring 2,000 more engineers for its large Tucson facility.

Alas, my hopes were dashed when I saw that Tucson was not one of three best cities for tech-savvy graduates.  Then things got worse, because two of three cities are not any better than Tucson, in my informed opinion.< The three cities are:  Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City.  Only Salt Lake City outshines Tucson in some respects. Baltimore has a rate of violent crime that surpasses even Chicago, and its poverty rate of 22% is only two percentage points lower than Tucson’s.  Residents who live in the inner city of Baltimore are actually risking their lives.  Also, Maryland ranks twelfth-highest of all the states in total tax burden. Pittsburgh’s poverty rate is also 22%, or just two percentage points lower than Tucson’s.  Just beyond the shiny Three Rivers area are drug-infested neighborhoods with high addiction rates for opioids and meth.   My wife’s niece and her husband and two kids live in a row house in a gentrified neighborhood near downtown, but they tend to stay inside with their guard dog instead of strolling the neighborhood.  And when they go out, they use their car instead of walking or using public transportation.  My wife and I once thought of moving to a Pittsburgh high rise to be near her family, but we were turned off by the foregoing problems as well as the humid climate and the horrible traffic congestion during rush hour between downtown and the airport. So why did the Wall Street Journal select Baltimore and Pittsburgh over Tucson?  Maybe it’s because the Journal doesn’t like Hispanics.  You see, Pittsburgh is 2.9% Hispanic, Baltimore is 5.3% Hispanic, and Tucson is 42% Hispanic.  Granted, Salt Lake City has a high percentage of Hispanics, but even its percentage is only half of Tucson’s percentage.  The Journal apparently doesn’t agree with me that it’s a plus in terms of cultural and culinary diversity and trade with Mexico for Tucson to have such a high percentage of Hispanics. Or maybe the problem is that Tucson stinks at marketing and branding itself compared to the other cities.  This a city, after all, that embarrassed itself by shipping a Saguaro cactus to Jeff Bezos when he was trying to pick a location for Amazon’s second headquarters.  And it’s a city where the airport is devoid of prominent displays on why Tucson is a great place to do business and the fact that thousands of rocket scientists work at Raytheon. On the other hand, given the political weirdness and anti-growth mentality in Tucson, there would probably be demonstrators in front of a display highlighting local businesses, especially a defense contractor. This self-defeating culture is the real reason that Tucson stays poor and is not a magnet for savvy graduates.    

19 Comments

  1. With it’s own style and flair of corrupt cronyism from city hall to the board of stupid, what do you want from a slum built in a wash?
    But hey the weather isn’t half bad.

    The Oracle

    • There are not job opportunities in this city. Who dreamed that one up? We have just one road skirting the city and no way to get to the foothills. Tucson is being run into the ground by its politics and might never recover.

  2. Gotta have a reason to be here, dumb students, corrupt politicians, far left teachers/instructors in the schools are not the ones they want. Poor roads, and the only thing going are the bars in downtown again are not high on the lists of companies wanting to be here. The views and weather are only worth so much and in this case just not enough.

    Get rid of the idiots tryi8ng to run the city and county well then you just might have a chance, but with the requirements set by these idiots on wages etc, nothing will ever want to come here. Whine and cry all ya want about it but somebody might give a slice of cheese to go along with the noise.

  3. You forget, Raytheon, only hires to meet the needs of a contract. Once the contract is fulfilled, they lay-off the unneeded employees.

    • All businesses layoff unnecessary employees, but in today’s tight labor market, if you do a good job on a contract, you’ll get snapped up for a permanent job. So don’t disregard the contract jobs. You can’t win if you don’t play.

    • Yup. My best job I ever had was at the then Hughes Aircraft Systems. Having grown up in Tucson I thought I had a job for the rest of my after going to tech school and getting a high paying job with FANTASTIC benefits. And I was GOOD at what I did and loved it.
      Laid off in 1986. By that time all the high paying jobs in that area (LearJet, IBM, etc. ) had already left Tucson.
      I had to move to Phoenix to find a job in my career.
      From 1986-1989 I had several high paying defense industry jobs. They hired then let you go as soon as the contract was done. The ONLY people who were ever kept on were *ss kissers who didn’t actually DO anything but made sure they looked good to the bosses.
      Then we all got our Peace Dividend… the whole industry was cancelled.
      Amazing that after all these years the Raytheon plant is still the the one major employer down there.
      I’m guessing Davis-Monthan AFB and the UofA are the real anchor jobs there.

  4. Having only one major tech company dose not meet the requirement plus Tucson sucks. Our city is being ran into the ground.

  5. Rents are NOT cheap, the pay is NOT good, and yes! Tucson’s government is inept and corrupt!!! The roads are awful and the street signs are worse!! Taxes keep going up, and illegals keep pouring in at the taxpayers’ expense! Ridiculous!

  6. on why Tucson is a great place to do business and the fact that thousands of rocket scientists work at Raytheon…. which is here because of HUGHES many years ago started here.. or they would not be here. Today’s COT leadership, and Pima County leadership.. are a nemesis to business – one look at the ‘big balloon launching facility’ and you can see this ‘leadership’ is a false hope and joke. The ‘trolly’ cost and effect, could have provided ‘free bus’ to all of the city for 10 years for the cost.. instead got a defecated line from UA hospital to the cities west side low income housing down the bar line of 4th ave. it just goes nowhere – where’s the brass ring to pull. TUSD oh yeah lets send our best’ to that world class ‘redforED’ EDU system – “are you kidding me” – is that what the airport sign should say or should it be ‘Welcome to Tucson and 1978’ where the city has been stuck ever since.

  7. Years ago Tucson based it’s economy on housing, building houses requires no college degree, Tucson poverty rate is nearing 30 per cent, with a city council that cares more about migrants than jobs for it’s people, outside of downtown Tucson is third world city,only the old are moving here, why? Cause Tucson is where you go to die, Tucson can’t hold on to it’s young people who flee after high school, nothing to do here for them but bake, no future for the young, hopeless dead end jobs for the poor…

  8. Its disgusting to see all the worship of the POS business of war that people think are good jobs. They are jobs of death of disgust. Wtf. I’m ok with all the death going away. I don’t want Raytheon to be in business at all you guys need a to get a grip on reality no good job come from the defense lol murder of inocent civilians. Around the world. Our country is disgusting you would think we would have more compassion being made from the world population but don’t tell that to the Republicans they will ask for a birth certificate.

    • You do realize all WARS we have been involved with were INITIATED by your beloved democraps dont you? I guess not, raytheon is here because of the base, the base really is what gives tucson its livlihood and the city and county have been trying to push it away for years. Watch this place become a GHOST TOWN if it leaves along with RAYTHEON. The big payers are the county, the UA and school districts and just think of them drying up with no tax base from those associated with DM or raytheon. Just like all the ones last year that wanted baja az for southern az, they never did explain what they would use for a tax base nor how they would get ANY business to come in. The city and county had IBM for a while, then slime fast, then a supposed bean cannery (it never showed up BYW) and supposedly Catapiller! There is nothing here that is not gov’t related to income for people. So be happy that the base and raytheon is here for now. there was an article on sierra vista the other day another place where they dont need the military place being in a dying zone. others where there are bases are in oklahoma and upstate NY and they also are having a hard time and even harder if the bases leave.

      BTW, while you are at it please illuminate us where you can find other places that are better than “Our country is disgusting you would think we would have more compassion being made from the world population….”

  9. Tucson has become a another commie democrat stronghold = SHITHOLE.

    Keep voting democrat! Anti-business. All the decent jobs down there are supported by TAXES.

    Raytheon is a GOVERNMENT CONTRACTOR.
    Davis Monthan AFB=GOVERNMENT
    U of A= Publically funded
    State & local school government

    Mining wants to bring some good jobs and the democrats fight it.

    The other poster is right. Tucson’s “progressives” have failed to progress Tucson and it’s still 1978.

    SAD!

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