For nine weeks, Tucsonans witnessed the most "in tents" socio-economic crisis ever to grip the city.
Groveling crowds of chronic complainers, slackers, moochers, old hippies, activists and misfits joined a handful of Tucson's truly unfortunate - the unemployed, homeless, debt-ridden and foreclosed upon - to cry out in shrill protest for attention.
As the drama unfolded in two downtown parks, their communal plight became a narcissistic "movement." They created their own mini-state, complete with self-government. They called themselves Occupy Tucson.
To almost everyone else, it was Baja Arizona: a glimpse of what life would be like in the nation's 51st state.
Recall that last February, two lawyers hyped the idea of Pima County seceding from the state to form Baja Arizona. The liberal separatists were unhappy with the conservative political agenda at the state capitol where Democrats are the minority party.
Basically, it was a publicity stunt concocted in a bar. A farce that could never happen, until a group of rag-tag malcontents stole their script and acted out their charade.
In October, the separatists and occupiers melded as squatters in a public park to air their complaints. And in tribute to the city's historical roots, once known as "Stjukshon," they sent their messages out across the desert by beating on drums in tents.
It's the Baja Arizona way.
The separatists got what they wanted, but not exactly as they wanted it. La-la-la, whatever. Doesn't matter. The Tucson city council's Democratic majority was in charge, governing the state of occupied Baja.
In Baja Arizona, if you are an activist with a cause, the laws don't apply. No permits required. Baja's "state government" let them occupy the parks illegally, build soup kitchens, abuse trees, and run a public utility based on a big blue porta-loo.
And when police tried to enforce the law, the city council made them stand down. Officers were handcuffed for the sake of politically correct tolerance. Occupy Baja was a place where the one percent vocal minority was given 99 percent of the political swag and media spotlight.
As the fear of fines and jail time mounted, one council member appealed for a moratorium, to stop ticketing protestors. Her pleas to ignore the citations were a joke, like this old one: What's the difference between an activist and a puppy? Eventually, the puppy stops whining.
As Occupy Baja's slumber party grew, they should have been moved from downtown into a pothole.
Only in Baja Arizona could a protester propose to his girlfriend in a tent, asking her to "occupy the couch with me at my mom's apartment until I get a job." And where else could two hippies occupy the Hotel Arizona bathroom to dry out their Zig-Zag papers on the hot-air blower?
Most protestor demands targeted income inequality. Yet, that hypocrisy didn't keep a Baja occupist away from an ATM when she ran out of cash. She never hesitated to hit the "yes" button to OK the $1 fee, knowing that a greedy bank got the money.
But she didn't care, it was her dad's credit card.
And late that night after fleeing the park at 10 p.m. to avoid a citation, she and some other occupiers roamed downtown, putting superglue into every ATM they passed.
It's the Baja Arizona way.
They blame corporate America for forcing them to open their wallets, to gorge and ruin their credit. They blame lenders for pressuring them to borrow more than they could repay. And those evil builders, OMG! They demanded that they buy a big house to live big in.
Face it, the occupists are peeved because government can no longer afford to give away all the freebies that were promised.
The Occupy Baja protest only proved that Southern Arizona's 1 percent wants Pima County to be a welfare state. No businesses were created in Baja Arizona to generate new jobs and tax revenue. Police protection was provided courtesy of the taxpayers who actually go to work.
If Baja Arizona had seceded, the new state would have been bankrupt in its first year. Thankfully, Occupy Baja Arizona ended Dec. 21, at least for now.
But as soon as the brittlebush blooms, the constant complainers, and ‘60s hippies stuck in protest mode will reorganize and re-occupy somewhere. Maybe city officials will let them occupy Hi Corbett Field. It's empty most of the year.
Contact Roger Yohem at email@example.com or (520) 295-4254. His Business Notebook appears biweekly and weighs in on local political, social and business issues.