L.A. City Council to consider first exception to Arizona boycott
One month after it voted to impose a partial economic boycott of Arizona over its immigration policies, the Los Angeles City Council is poised to grant its first exception to its ban on city-related travel to that state.
Council members will be asked at Tuesday's meeting to make an exception to the boycott for four Los Angeles Police Department officers who are scheduled to attend the Airborne Law Enforcement Assn. Conference in Tucson from July 12 to July 17.
The exception was requested by Councilman Greig Smith, who cast the council's lone vote against the boycott. In his request, which was also signed by Councilman Bernard C. Parks, Smith said this year's conference will be hosted by the U.S. Border Patrol.
Councilman Richard Alarcon, a supporter of the boycott, voiced doubts about Smith's request, saying he wants to make sure that the training is essential to public safety -- and cannot be obtained by the LAPD elsewhere. "If we are going to carve out certain exceptions, we better set a high standard," he said.
The council approved its boycott last month as a protest of the Arizona law requiring police to determine the citizenship status of people they stop for another reason and suspect are in the country illegally.
The boycott was designed to prevent the signing of new city contracts with Arizona-based companies and bar most travel to that state on city business.
The boycott measure allows the council to make exceptions in cases in which a failure to do so would harm the city's interests. Last week, the council voted 8-2 to file a court brief supporting a lawsuit that seeks to overturn the Arizona law.
Smith cast one of the votes opposing that court brief.
If allowed to attend next month's conference, the four LAPD officers would be able to attend classes on high-rise emergencies, aeronautical decision-making and helicopter patrol tactics.
-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall