Chicago and San Jose Pass Toothless "Boycotts" Against Arizona; Councils Afraid to Rock the Money Boat

The Chicago City Council passed a resolution today urging city departments not to sign any new contracts with Arizona companies because of SB1070.

The resolution, which passed on a 46-2 vote, doesn't have any real teeth or affect current contracts. An existing contract with Redflex that brought in $48 million from photo-enforcement tickets wouldn't be affected, says the Chicago Tribune.

Chicago residents must be thrilled that their anger at Arizona won't stop them from getting tickets in the mail.

We're not sure why the Trib brought up Redflex, anyway -- it's an Australian company. But Chicago's point was clear: Do nothing that costs money.

Also today, the San Jose City Council voted 9-2 to "condemn" Arizona's anti-illegal-immigrant law.

That vote prohibits business trips to Arizona, but the most dramatic elements of the resolution were stripped before the vote, reports the San Jose Mercury News.

The councilwoman who sponsored the resolution, Madison Nguyen, originally had wanted to ban big-ticket Arizona contracts like garbage collection and Taser guns for cops. But she removed those features, which would have cost San Jose millions, early in the council meeting.

It's easy to see what these "boycotts" are about: Politicians shoring up support among their Democrat-heavy constituencies with do-nothing ordinances.

And let's face it -- if any major city or state enacts a real boycott against Arizona, it would hurt the state's most disadvantaged people most of all.

Meanwhile, misinformation about SB1070 continues to flourish. Carol Marin, a Chicago Sun-Times columnist, provides a welcome voice of reason in denouncing calls for a boycott. Sort of.

After gushing about her recent, gin-soaked trip to an Arizona ranch, she mischaracterizes 1070:

And so the Arizona legislature late last month passed what some consider a Draconian immigration law, the harshest in the country.

One that allows law enforcement to detain anyone they suspect might be here illegally and to hold that person until the feds can verify his or her status.

And to criminally charge individuals if they are not carrying proper proof of citizenship or immigration status on their person.

For the record, law officers must stop someone for an alleged crime or civil violation before interrogating someone about their immigration status under 1070. (We agree, of course, that some officers would conduct illegal racial profiling by using 1070 as cover).

The new law also does not allow police to criminally charge citizens who aren't carrying their "papers."

In arguing against a boycott, Marin's misstatement of fact might do more to encourage one.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.