San Jose sees AZ boycott as business opportunity

May 7, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Another Bay Area city is taking a stand against Arizona's new immigration law, but unlike Oakland and San Francisco, city leaders in San Jose are going beyond the boycott. The backlash against Arizona, could be a golden business opportunity.

San Jose opposes Arizona's immigration law, but they're not just taking a stand verbally, they're putting it in their marketing material.

Arizona's controversial immigration law continues to strike an emotional chord, but in San Jose, city leaders are quietly putting their outrage where it could hurt Arizona financially.

"We're banning any travel using city funds from San Jose to Arizona," says San Jose City Council member Sam Liccardo.

Oakland and San Francisco are already doing the same. That's why San Jose's mayor is not just stopping at a citywide boycott. He's using the immigration law as a marketing tool against Arizona and for Silicon Valley.

"I think this is a big mistake, gives us an opening to keep some of these jobs in California. So we're going to take every advantage of it if we can," says San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed.

There's a long standing competition between Arizona and California. Arizona has successfully lured several Silicon Valley clean tech companies out of the state. Mayor Reed is sure they'll think twice now before moving.

"I'll be using it as leverage, just making my point that there's no place in the world like Silicon Valley where people from all over the world can come and focus on what we have in common rather than our differences," says Mayor Chuck Reed

"There's a comfortability [sic] that exists here that perhaps does not exist in Arizona," says Cliff Clarke, Clarke Clean CEO.

Clarke Clean is a green company that makes liquid coating for solar panels and windows. He wants to expand his operations, but refuses to go to Arizona as long as this law is in place. Clarke's says his work force is very diverse.

"If there was an environment that existed where at any time they could be pulled over while they were driving our vehicles or going from one place to the other, of course that would make people uncomfortable," says Clarke.

The city is betting that comfort level will make a difference, even though it costs 50 percent more to rent office space in San Jose, than in much of Arizona.


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