What do the cities of El Paso, St. Paul, Los Angeles, Hartford, San Francisco, and Columbus all have in common?
Well, they are among a fairly large number of cities nationwide that have decided to boycott, in one way or another, the state of Arizona over its soon to be implemented anti-illegal immigration law.
That law, SB 1070, gives Arizona authorities greater discretion to check the immigration status of those who are pulled over for traffic infractions or otherwise stopped for probable cause.
I personally applaud the Arizona legislature for having the guts to ask the question, "What part of the word 'illegal' in 'illegal immigrant' do people not understand?" I mean, is it such an imposition to ask that people carry a valid form of identification?
I honestly cannot remember the last time I left my house for more than 5 minutes without my wallet and driver's license.
And why, for the sake of Pete, would cities half way across the country give a rat's rear end about the state of Arizona basically enforcing federal law that has been on the books for years?
While I'm not totally certain of the financial health of cities like Hartford and Columbus, I do know that Los Angeles is expecting a budget shortfall of around $212 million this year and that number is expected to more than double in 2011. San Francisco faces a budget shortfall of over $500 million. This then raises the possibility that the entire boycott charade is more about diverting attention away from L.A.'s and S.F.'s dire fiscal crises.
It's like L.A. and many of the other boycotters are saying, "Well, maybe we don't know how to balance a checkbook and can't say no to any feel-good cause, but at least we don't discriminate!" If you ask me, I'd say that it would probably serve cities like L.A. and San Francisco to be much more discriminating in how they spend their tax dollars and decide which laws to enforce and which to not enforce. San Francisco has actually declared itself a "sanctuary city," meaning that illegal immigrants will not be detained or prosecuted in any way.
I mean, with so many other real problems right under the noses of the city councils in Hartford, El Paso and the like, why even bother to get involved in Arizona politics? Any financial losses that Arizona may incur due to lost convention dollars and such is virtually guaranteed to disproportionately effect the very portion of the population that the L.A. types are supposedly trying to "help."
The contracts that these cities have now with Arizona and Arizona-based companies were, one would assume, negotiated in order to provide the boycotting cities with the greatest financial value for every dollar spent. Therefore, it should be considered irresponsible for these same cities to take their dollars elsewhere and impose a greater burden onto taxpayers.
And if ever there was a city, state, county or other municipality deserving of a boycott in order to encourage them to change their ways, I'd have to put San Francisco on top of that list with L.A. running a close second. In the mean time, get those plans to visit the Grand Canyon out and put into motion!
J. Kurt Roberts can be reached at email@example.com.