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L.A. exempts Tasers from Ariz. boycott

November 9, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The Los Angeles City Council made national news in May when it voted to boycott Arizona because of that state's new immigration law. The boycott included new city contracts and banned city travel to Arizona. The council Tuesday granted its third exemption to the boycott..

Councilman Greig Smith was the lone council member to oppose the boycott.

"I think it's had no effect one way or the other," Smith said. "I think it's a joke. I think it's a politically-motivated position. The lawsuits are going to determine whether it was legal or not."

Arizona passed a law to force its police officers to check immigration status during a legal stop. It required all immigrants to carry papers. The federal government has sued Arizona.

After the city's boycott, Los Angeles discovered that its red light cameras came from American Traffic Solutions in Arizona. An exemption was granted to continue the business.

Blue Van Joint Venture in Arizona runs the outfit which operates Super Shuttle. That exemption was also granted.

It turns out nearly all Los Angeles public safety officers, including the Los Angeles Police Department, carry Tasers made in Arizona. The City Council unanimously granted it as an exemption.

Councilwoman Jan Perry was one of the most vocal boycott supporters. She considers the Arizona law discriminatory.

"We realized the city needs the equipment and the contract was already in place. Our point has been made. We don't wish to disrupt our business moving forward," Perry said.

"If we were to stop buying now and go to a different company, we would be buying an inferior product for our police officers," Smith said.

The boycott will stay in effect. The federal lawsuit is still pending. There will probably be other exemptions if public safety is involved in Los Angeles.