Note: This column appears in the 7/25 issue of the Peoria Times
If you’re like me, then you subscribe to Money magazine and you firmly believe in everything it states, especially when it comes to a subjective compilation of the best places to live.
Which is why I was so ecstatic to discover that Money magazine listed Peoria, AZ -- yeah, this one! -- as the No. 55 best place to live in the United States of America.
My first reaction to this news was this: “Wait, there are 54 places better than here? Get my real estate agent on the phone!” My second reaction was this: “How the heck did they come up with this information?”
It’s simple, really. Money magazine has a staff of approximately three million people, who were each assigned to live in various locales with populations ranging from 50,000-300,000 people, for one year. Each staff member created an Excel spreadsheet detailing all of the aspects of their respective town, including the weather, school system, proximity to a Cheesecake Factory, crime, how many houses decorate for Christmas, and the ingenuity of local television car dealership advertisements. All of this information was then brought back to Money magazine headquarters, where it was compiled into a giant computer that crashed immediately, forcing Money magazine to make up this entire list.
This process would serve to explain why exactly zero Arizona cities made the list in 2007, yet four made the cut this time around. It’s difficult to decipher how a city can gain or lose its ability to provide for its citizens in twelve months time, but this probably has much to do with the perceived monotony of naming the same cities each year. It reminds me of People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” issue, which differs from year-to-year, as if Matthew McConaughey lost his sexiness or something. C’mon People!
I mean really
As far as the other Arizona cities on the list, each of them -- Gilbert, Chandler, and Scottsdale -- were ranked higher than Peoria. However, Scottsdale was only ranked No. 47, which means that Money magazine deems that Scottsdale is only a very slightly better place to live than Peoria. Something to think about the next time you’re dragged to a Scottsdale bar and seven fake-breasted women are bragging about seeing Matt Leinart at the local Safeway. Now you can roll your eyes with confidence!
The factors involved in Peoria’s inclusion on this list were its parks and recreation, its grid system (always a tourist attraction), the spring training allure of the Peoria Sports Complex, its ability to develop while maintaining preserved space, and its general awesomeness.
And hey, guess what? Peoria really IS a great place to live! I mean, that’s why my wife and I moved here in the first place. I guess I just didn’t need a list to tell me that. Especially a list that named Plymouth, Minnesota -- in Minnesota, by the way -- as the best place to live in the country.
But a list is a list, and people seem to like them, and this is certainly good press for the great city of Peoria. In that regard, I urge all of us to work towards making Peoria an even better place to live for 2009, so that it moves up on this list instead of falling completely off. My first suggestion: ten Dunkin’ Donuts stores.
Seriously. It’s our only hope of moving ahead of Edison, NJ.
Only thing holding us back...