Los Angeles Infuriates Yet Again
By Kathryne Gadarian
The so-called Los Angeles boycott of Arizona-based businesses in protest of the state’s controversial new immigration law sends a message. Just not the one that the City Council had hoped to send.
Days after the boycott passed, City Council suspended the boycott to allow the LAPD to continue doing business with American Traffic Solutions, the Scottsdale-based company that makes red light cameras for the city, on the grounds that it provided a service necessary to public safety. Now councilmembers want to exclude the bustling airport transportation company Super Shuttle from the boycott, because it is a popular service that brings business and jobs to Los Angeles.
At risk of stating the obvious, a boycott means refusing to deal with a person or entity as a means of protest or coercion. It does not mean cherry-picking the business deals you want to keep with said entity. Boycotts always involve a level of sacrifice on the consumers’ part to send a message to the recipient party. To make piecemeal exceptions greatly dilutes the message, and severely undermines the credibility of the city. For all its bluster, Los Angeles clearly has no intention to inconvenience itself in order to protest Arizona’s morally and legally questionable anti-immigration measure.
Of course Super Shuttle provides a valuable service to Angelenos. If it didn’t, Los Angeles probably wouldn’t have a contract with them to begin with. Cutting commercial ties only with the companies that do not provide useful products or services isn’t a boycott, it’s just business.
One has to wonder why the city waded into this debate in the first place. Boldly declaring a boycott against Arizona won Los Angeles the enmity of the conservatives; its subsequent suspension of the boycott to keep its contracts with its favorite merchants has earned it only outrage and disillusionment from the left. The only message Los Angeles has managed to send is that it stands for nothing, has no conviction, and no clout. Message received.