Worcester City Council: no to Arizona boycott

posted by Mike on May 11th, 2010

Worcester’s City Councilors have a rough job, and I respect them for doing it. But tonight a lot of them acted like cowards and hypocrites.

Three years after voting unanimously to divest from Sudan over the violence in Darfur, tonight they voted, 7-4, that discussion of a similar city boycott of Arizona over the recent immigration law would not be “germane” to the business of the council.

Of the 7 voting to not even discuss the Arizona issue, 6 (if memory serves) were OK with the Sudan divestment–Haller, Clancy, Palmieri, Lukes, Toomey, and Petty. Toomey was absent. Eddy also voted against discussion, but I don’t think he was on the Council for the Sudan vote.

It’s interesting to note that one of 3 Worcester residents who spoke in favor of the Sudan vote in 2007, Joe O’Brien, is now the mayor and a supporter of the Arizona boycott.

Update: I made a mistake in not noting that at least one of the original supporters of the boycott no longer wanted it brought up:

But when that item came up for discussion last night, Mr. Rushton moved to have it “filed,” which is the equivalent of placing it in the parliamentary wastebasket. . . .

Councilor Clancy challenged that the issue wasn’t germane, after which the mayor ruled it was, after which the full Council voted it wasn’t.

Jeff Barnard has more thoughts on this angle.

Another update: Note that Toomey, who voted against discussing the Arizona issue, was absent from the Sudan vote.

Related from Worcester Magazine: Liveblogged notes from the meeting

Via Nick, here’s the video of the discussion:

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8 Comments Leave a comment.

  1. On May 11, 2010 at 19:48 Tracy said:

    Clancy appeared to have some argument to how this was different, which I would have been interested in hearing. I have to say that I don’t see it.

  2. On May 11, 2010 at 20:39 Pete Smith said:

    It appears that the members of the council actually READ the law, unlike a bunch of people who get their marching orders from MSNBC. This law only enforces the US law that is ALREADY on the books, profiling is PROHIBITED, there is NO mention of ANYONE’S race, sex, height, weight, or shoe size, there are NO “papers” that must be shown, you will NOT get arrested for going to get ice cream (like that liar 0bama said), and the local officials STILL must verify with the Federal groups if there is any question on someone’s identity – and having a driver’s license IS considered PROOF of legal residence (you already MUST show your driver’s license if pulled over in a traffic stop, for instance).

    But since this law mirrors the Federal law, if you have a problem, why not boycott the United States?

    Or even better, LEAVE it.

  3. On May 11, 2010 at 20:40 Nicole said:

    Personally, I don’t see the point of a city government taking that kind of stand. I’d rather see them doing something outside of the chamber (auctioning off a day with the Mayor to benefit some charity, etc.) or doing something to better the lives of immigrants in this city.

  4. On May 11, 2010 at 23:02 Mike said:

    Pete: Thanks for the caps.

  5. On May 12, 2010 at 07:58 Tracy said:

    Under federal law being in the United States illegally is a civil offense.
    In Arizona, under the new law, it’s a criminal offense.

    And since police are held responsible for checking during any contact, that includes asking an officer for directions, or calling 911. You don’t have to be pulled over for something to be required to show ID.

  6. On May 12, 2010 at 13:58 Nick said:

    Video of the Arizona discussion:


    The official summary and legal text of SB1070:


    and Poolz discussion:

  7. On May 12, 2010 at 14:11 Mike said:

    Thanks, Nick. I embedded the videos in the post.

  8. On May 12, 2010 at 14:42 Mike said:

    Also important: HB 2162 amended SB 1070, undoing some of the most obnoxious bits.

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