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Arizona boycott to be debated by L.A. Board of Supervisors, L.A. Unified School District

June 1, 2010 |  8:04 am

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/images/2008/03/20/mark_ridleythomas_2.jpgBoth the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and Los Angeles Unified School District are scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to support boycotts of Arizona in the wake of the state's crackdown on illegal immigration.

Both are looking into the question several weeks after the Los Angeles City Council became one of the first governmental bodies to approve a limited boycott of Arizona.

The focus Tuesday will be on the Board of Supervisors, which is divided on the question.

With his fellow supervisors split 2-2 on the question, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas will be in a position to cast the deciding vote.

Supervisor Don Knabe announced Friday that he will join Supervisor Mike Antonovich -- who called the proposal "stupid" -- in opposing the boycott. Supervisor Gloria Molina, with support from Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, proposed suspending county-funded travel to Arizona unless the county’s chief executive determines it would seriously harm county interests. The boycott also calls for a divestiture of Arizona’s state and municipal bonds by the county’s pension fund.

Ridley-Thomas’ spokesman, Ed Maddox, said Friday that his boss did not plan to publicly take a position on the issue until Tuesday. Ridley-Thomas has supported boycotts in the past, and worked as a city councilman to uphold Los Angeles’ boycott of South Africa during apartheid. 


The LAUSD proposal -- backed by board President Monica Garcia -- would condemn the Arizona law and explore ways to stop doing business with the state as well as some Arizona businesses.

The Arizona law requires police to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop and suspect is in the country illegally. It also makes it a state crime to lack proper immigration papers. Top U.S. Justice Department officials have drafted a legal challenge asserting that Arizona's law is unconstitutional because it impinges on the federal government's authority to police the nation's borders.

-- Garrett Therolf and Shelby Grad

Upper photo: Mark Ridley-Thomas. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Lower photo: Monica Garcia. Credit: Los Angeles Unified School District