BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) - The city of Bloomington has established a boycott that preventstravel to Arizona by city employees and new contracts with anybusiness based in Arizona.
A letter announcing the boycott that was sent to ArizonaGovernor Jan Brewer. It says that the new Arizona law "essentiallylegalizes racial profiling."
Businesses in the city of Bloomington are encouraged to followsuit. The letter asks them to refrain from doing business with thestate of Arizona and it asks residents to avoid engaging in tourismin the state of Arizona.
The letter is signed by eight of the nine city council members,the mayor and the city clerk.
Councilmember Chris Sturbaum spearheaded the effort.
"I was a wrestler," said Sturbaum, "and what I always looked forwas leverage and where do you find some leverage but saying,‘We can affect this community economically.’"
Brad Wisler is the only council member to withhold hissignature, though he says he is still opposed to the Arizona law,which requires police to check the documentation of suspectedillegal immigrants.
"It didn't make sense to me to state our opposition todiscrimination by discriminating," he said.
Hispanic leaders in Bloomington pushed for the boycott andpraised its creation.
"We do need changes in immigration," says Daniel Soto. "We doneed to protect our border but not that way."
A number of cities around the country have put in place Arizonaboycotts. They include San Francisco, Los Angeles and New YorkCity. Bloomington is the first community in Indiana to do so.
But the real test may be the longevity of Bloomington's wasteremoval contract. It's with a subsidiary of Republic Services, acompany based in Arizona and for now it will stand.
"Would be surprised if you would see any real change in ourcity's contracting practices as a result of this," says Wisler.
But the real question is whether action in Bloomington couldcause change in Arizona.
Wisler, the councilmember who didn't sign the boycott letter, isalso the only Republican on the Bloomington council. He says it'sjust a coincidence, however, and not a partisan issue as far ashe's concerned.
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