Oakland takes action against Ariz. immigration law

April 29, 2010 7:49:48 PM PDT
The city of Oakland could be the latest to join a growing boycott of Arizona. The City Council made a move on Thursday against Arizona's new law cracking down on illegal immigrants.

Oakland officials are looking through their books to determine how much business they do with Arizona.

They know, for example, that they buy food at Arizona-based PetSmart for animals at the city shelter and they are compiling a list of other companies they'd like residents to boycott.

The parent company of Kragen Auto Parts is based in Arizona and when Alonzo Walker heard that, he decided to take his business elsewhere because he's opposed to that state's new immigration law.

"I don't agree with that. That's just another way to try to categorize people and also profile somebody," he said.

Walker's decision to drive away from the Oakland store is exactly what some members of the Oakland City Council are asking everyone to do.

"It's time to standup. Arizona should not be able to get away with this. Nobody is able to explain and there will be racial profiling," Oakland City Council member Ignacio De La Fuente said.

Those who gathered on the steps of City Hall are supporting a resolution modeled on the one San Francisco introduced earlier this week.

It urges city government to avoid entering into any new contracts with Arizona-based businesses, to review existing contracts and to prohibit city funded travel to the state.

The measure introduced on Thursday before a council committee also asks residents to boycott the state and any companies headquartered there, which presented a dilemma for an Oakland family ready to rent a truck from Phoenix-based U-Haul.

"First we're going to look around, but if we can't find one, we will have to come here and get one definitely," Oakland resident Ira Goosby said.

Richard Oltman is with Californians for Population Stabilization. He supports Arizona's law and is blasting Oakland.

"When you're 1,000 miles from the border, it's easy to be sanctimonious and to criticize somebody else who is trying to solve something that is clearly a problem," he said.

Oakland City Council member Jane Brunner is the sponsor of the measure and she dismisses criticism that a boycott could end up hurting Latino workers in Arizona.

"Yes, people may lose a little money but in the end, they have their freedom," she said.

Oakland's City Council is expected to vote on the resolution Tuesday -- the same day as San Francisco.


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