Inside the Capitol

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

10-1 attachment

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- Arizona appears to be handling the fallout from its new immigration law much better than it dealt with the boycott about refusing to recognize Martin Luther King Day 20 years ago.
In 1990, the state lost many tourism and convention dollars in addition to the National Football League relocating the 1993 Super Bowl from Phoenix to Pasadena, California. In all, boycott costs were estimated at $300 million.
In August, the Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association estimated the state already had lost over 40 conventions and $15 million as a result of its immigration law.
Arizona officials quickly found $1 million to hire a public relations firm to improve its image. In addition, a team was organized to travel the country with hopes of convincing organizers of upcoming large conventions that they still should come to Arizona.
Convention bureaus, however, are most worried about convention organizers who are close to signing agreements for Arizona conventions in the next two or three years. Their decisions could extend the boycott's effects for some time.
The biggest impact would be from Major League Baseball deciding to move its 2011 All-Star game from Phoenix next July. St. Louis reported $60 million from hosting last year's All-Star game.
The Players Association already has called for a boycott of the All-Star game and of spring training in Arizona. Over the years, Arizona's Cactus League has gradually attracted 15 teams away from Florida's Grapefruit League, which now stands at 15 teams also.
But baseball owners have indicated no interest in any boycott so no changes are likely. Over 25 percent of major league players are immigrants and the number is even greater in the minor leagues.. Owners get them into the country through a federal provision granted to "internationally known entertainers and athletes."
Whether an 18-year-old Venezuelan would meet that criteria unless he has all his papers with him is unclear So some in baseball are suggesting that major league owners issue an identification card to all major and minor league players who might ever get close to Arizona.
That would be all of professional baseball because besides having a major league team and half the spring training teams, Arizona also has summer and fall developmental leagues.
Despite Arizona's financial losses, lawmakers in numerous other states are looking at copying its new law. Some even say they want to make theirs tougher. What about lawsuits? The answer given is that nothing important ever happens without lawsuits.
So far, Republican legislators from Utah, Colorado and Tennessee have journeyed to Arizona to learn how it is done. Democratic lawmakers from those states say the big talk will end after the November elections.
They contend that no state in these economic times can afford losses due to boycotts, court costs, increased enforcement measures, detention costs and business lost to contractors bidding in other states.
Others concerned about illegal immigration suggest cracking down harder on employers and electing members of Congress who are interested in more than just building a fence.
One thing passage of Arizona's immigration law has done is to insure the re-elections of Gov. Jan Brewer and Sen. John McCain. At one time both were considered moderates but their support for the immigration law has squared them away with the state's Republican Party.
Brewer was thought to be in trouble because of her advocacy of a temporary sales tax increase. But Arizona voters have now approved that tax and Brewer's election appears assured despite some missteps.
In June Brewer announced that bodies have been found in the Arizona desert that have been beheaded by Mexican drug cartels. Later it was reported that beheadings have occurred in Mexico but no southern Arizona coroner has handled any "headless" cases.
In a subsequent debate, Brewer went completely blank when asked for evidence about the Arizona beheadings. But poll numbers indicate that Arizonans still think she's the governor they want.
FRI, 10-01-10

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)



Post a Comment

<< Home