|Will Boston Boycott Massachusetts?|
By Ashton Ellis
Wednesday, June 02 2010
A hallmark of today’s liberals is their commitment to protest without sacrifice. The most recent series of examples come from city councils reacting to Arizona’s new illegal immigration law. From Los Angeles to Boston, local elected officials are declaring disapproval of the Grand Canyon State by promising to boycott it. But as the facts show, the liberal voices making these pronouncements are loath to pay the full price of their principles.
The first city government to make a hollow pledge was Los Angeles. Amid historic budget deficits, the fifteen-member council voted to sever all economic ties to Arizona and its state-based businesses. Within days, Gary Pierce, a member of Arizona’s power commission, sent a smooth, dripping-with-sarcasm letter to L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa offering to make the separation complete. Just say the word and Commissioner Pierce would be happy to ask Arizona utility companies to stop supplying 25% of L.A.’s power needs.
Faced with an opportunity to stand firm and accept the consequences of their convictions, the council side-stepped. “They (Arizona’s power commissioners) are the ones who have to make the move, not us,” said Councilman Dennis Zine. Not exactly a profile in courage.
Now, the birthplace of the original Tea Party protest finds itself at a crossroads.
Boston’s City Council made national headlines when it became another of the municipalities to oppose Arizona’s new illegal immigration law by resolving to sever the city’s contracts with state and local governments in Arizona. But there’s a catch. The resolution is non-binding. That means the city can choose whether it will scrutinize an Arizona contract, and when it will ignore the resolution’s very public denunciation.
The city’s mayor went further. He singled out a city contract with a private Arizona business providing software for Boston Centers for Youth and Families (BCYF). Mayor Thomas Menino plans to give the directors of nFocus a choice: either they can disavow the new law and keep the $1.1 million contract, or agree with it and lose the money.
Of course, the third option is to lie about disavowing the law to keep the money, but hopefully the people running nFocus have more scruples than Boston’s elected leaders.
In any case, if Mayor Menino does rescind the contract it will probably be to the detriment of the competitive bidding process. Presumably, the reason the City of Boston contracted with an Arizona-based software company in the first place was because the firm provided the best service at the lowest price. Now, apparently there needs to be a political issues statement appended to every Boston-area public contract bid. Hopefully, the city fathers will publish their positions prior to the next submission deadline.
And what about the children? The mission of BCYF is “to enhance the quality of life for Boston’s residents by supporting children, youth and families through a wide range of programs and services.” It’s hard to see how ripping out an integrated software program because the supplier is located in a suddenly disfavored state advances that mission. It’s almost like Mayor Menino is blinded by a liberal politician’s need to protest rather than administer government. Just remember his little stunt the next time a teachers’ union boss uses students as human shields during budget time.
Last week, the stakes rose. In a surprise move, the Democrat-controlled Massachusetts Senate amended the state budget bill to include employer verification of immigration status and denials of in-state benefits like college tuition breaks and public assistance to illegal immigrants. Less surprisingly, 84% of Massachusetts citizens approved. However, since the House earlier rejected similar language, the Senate’s amendment will be hashed out in conference committee. If it survives, it will be up to Governor Deval Patrick (D-MA) to decide whether to use his line-item veto power to remove whatever he doesn’t like.
But who says Mayor Menino & Co. should wait until the law gets passed before protesting it? Finally, the folks running Boston city government have an opportunity to protest an illegal immigration bill that actually affects them. Moreover, implementing a boycott will be even easier because the state capitol is within city limits. So, c’mon Bostonians; show Los Angelenos – and your fellow Bay Staters – that you have the courage of your (civic leaders’) convictions. It’s time to boycott Massachusetts!
Related Articles :