Supervisor against boycott

Political Landscape

June 03, 2010

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich reiterated his opposition on Wednesday to a boycott of Arizona in response to the state's contentious illegal immigration law.

Supervisors Antonovich and Don Knabe were on the losing end of the 3-2 vote Tuesday to join the city of Los Angeles and a growing list of local governments protesting Arizona's new law targeting illegal immigration.

Antonovich rallied Wednesday with Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner outside the county Hall of Administration, contending that the boycott was an economic catastrophe at a time of sky-high unemployment and deficits. To signal to a trading partner that the county wished to sever its business ties was absurd, he said.


Tony Bell, a spokesman for the supervisor, said illegal immigration has been an economic catastrophe to the tune of $1.5 billion a year in health care, criminal justice and welfare costs — and that doesn't include the billions spent on education.

The supervisors directed county officials to suspend all nonessential business travel to Arizona, review all contracts with companies there and report on how those contracts can be terminated.

"It is an irony that the boycott will create a real hardship for the very people they want to protect and assist," Bell said.

The boycott, which also calls on the county's pension fund to divest itself of Arizona's state and municipal bonds, was supported by Supervisors Gloria Molina, Zev Yaroslavsky and Mark Ridley-Thomas.

Officials from Burbank and Glendale said there were no plans to mull boycotts, or to weigh in on state or federal immigration matters.

Burbank Mayor Anja Reinke cited state sovereignty, adding that her council had "absolutely no plans" to discuss the issue.

The Los Angeles Unified Board of Education on Tuesday voted unanimously to condemn the Arizona law, and called on district officials to explore ways to curtail employee travel, economic support of Arizona and companies based there.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in April signed the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act into law. It requires police to determine the immigration status of anyone stopped and suspected of being in the country illegally and takes effect July 29. The law also makes it a state crime to lack appropriate immigration papers, but prohibits using race or national origin to question suspected illegal immigrants.

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