In the aftermath of the Arizona immigration law, legislation which is wildly popular nationwide, many left-wing jurisdictions are attempting to curry favor with various constituencies by drumming up boycotts of the state.
The results so far aren’t so hot.
In Highland Park, Illinois, a girls’ basketball team slated to play in a December tournament in Arizona had their plans kaiboshed by a left-wing administrator last week. While the school district’s higher-ups have ratified assistant superintendent Suzan Hebson’s idea to boycott the tournament, they’ve done so at the price of stoking a gargantuan controversy and bringing a torrent of bad publicity down on the district. Hebson herself has become a celebrity of sorts – and not in a good way, as Fox News has documented a string of questionable decisions she has made along lefty lines over the years.
Political statements made by educators which meet with public disapproval are failures. Most people can agree with that even if those failures are described in friendly terms as “courageous.” The Highland Park fiasco is a failure of epic proportions from a public-relations standpoint.
But in California, the failure of the boycott promoters has been more substantial.
The city of San Diego has responded to the Arizona law not with a boycott to date, though a host of governmental bodies from the City Council to the School Board have issued resolutions attacking Arizona as racist and its law as unconstitutional – an effort the effect of which would serve to depress business ties between the city and the arid state to its east.
The response? Droves of cancellations at San Diego hotels. It seems that more than 2 million Arizonans vacation in San Diego each year, and now those Arizonans are finding other places to travel this summer.
Would-be tourists have notified the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau and some hotels that they are canceling their scheduled travel to the coastal vacation destination, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
According to the newspaper, the convention bureau has received about 25-30 emails from Arizona residents, with some saying they are canceling their reservations and taking their money elsewhere.
That has tourism officials urging Arizonans to consider the resolutions as merely symbolic and local politics at work.
“We’re in a very tough environment already because of everything else going on, and we don’t need another negative impact to our industry,” ConVis President Joe Terzi told the Union-Tribune. “This affects all the hardworking men and women who count on tourism for their livelihoods, so we’re saying, don’t do something that hurts their livelihoods.”
“I’ve been approached by a number of hotels who are very concerned because they’ve received cancelations from Arizona guests,” Namara Mercer, executive director of the county Hotel-Motel Association, told the newspaper.
In other words, the leaders in the tourism business in San Diego is screaming about the damage their stupid, preening politicians are doing in aggravating their customers.
Have they made a difference? Not really.
Meanwhile, in San Diego, school board President Shelia Jackson said she is sorry people don’t want to come to her city, but she still supports her vote to boycott Arizona.
“It’s sad that people would cancel their plans to come here in reaction to that, but I still think we did the right thing,” Jackson told the Union-Tribune. “Certainly, we know how important tourism is to San Diego, and it wasn’t my intent to impact the tourism trade.”
San Diego’s impending regrets are nothing compared to those Los Angeles might be facing, however. The City Council in L.A. last week voted 13-1 for a full-on boycott of Arizona, putting some $58 million in economic ties at risk between the city and the state.
What was apparently not envisioned within that boycott, however, was the fact that some 25 percent of the electricity Los Angeles uses comes from Arizona power plants. It turns out that could be a problem, as a letter from Arizona Corporations Commissioner Gary Pierce this week threatened payback:
“I received your message; please receive mine. As a statewide elected member of the Arizona Corporation Commission overseeing Arizona’s electric and water utilities, I too am keenly aware of the ‘resources and ties’ we share with the city of Los Angeles,” Pierce wrote.
“If an economic boycott is truly what you desire, I will be happy to encourage Arizona utilities to renegotiate your power agreements so Los Angeles no longer receives any power from Arizona-based generation.”
Appearing to tap into local frustration in Arizona over the raft of boycotts and threatened boycotts from cities across the country, including Los Angeles, Pierce warned that Arizona companies are willing and ready to fight boycott with boycott.
“I am confident that Arizona’s utilities would be happy to take those electrons off your hands,” Pierce wrote. “If, however, you find that the City Council lacks the strength of its convictions to turn off the lights in Los Angeles and boycott Arizona power, please reconsider the wisdom of attempting to harm Arizona’s economy.”
And now there even seems to be a burgeoning movement not just among Arizona citizens but others across the country who are calling for a boycott of California in retaliation for the hijinks of its politicians – not to mention a budding call to “buycott” Arizona by patronizing Arizona firms to support the state’s new law.
Either way, it’s a cautionary tale. Political posturing can create unintended consequences which hurt real people – something job-killing lefty politicians ought to understand by now, but don’t – and it looks like yet another lesson is coming. In cash-starved California’s case, it’s a lesson the locals can’t afford to learn.