Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sucks to be Arizona


The beloved Phoenix Suns, now in the NBA's Western Conference finals (and the team I'm now rooting for, mainly because of Steve Nash), don't much care for their state's draconian anti-immigrant law, and, understandably, much of the rest of the country is turning away from Arizona, with the state's tourism industry suffering the brunt:

Arizona took another hit Wednesday as Republicans cast a vote for the home of their 2012 convention. Phoenix made the short list but lost out to Tampa.

It was little surprise to tourism officials in Arizona. Since the state passed the nation's toughest immigration law three weeks ago, its meeting and events business has fallen drastically.

Hispanic civil rights groups are boycotting Arizona and urging others to do the same. Officials at the National Council of La Raza, one of the groups driving the boycott, had privately asked the RNC not to meet in Phoenix.

The city risks losing as much as $90 million in hotel and convention business over the next five years because of the controversy, according to city estimates released Wednesday. The state's hotel and lodging association has counted 23 canceled meetings for a loss of between $6 and $10 million. On Wednesday, Los Angeles became the largest city to join the boycott.

And it gets worse for Arizona. Consider the extent of L.A.'s boycott, which, the L.A. Times reports, includes a ban on "most city travel to Arizona and future contracts with companies in that state."

Hopefully the boycott with continue to grow. (Some) Arizonans may deserve better, but the state deserves to be isolated.

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Meanwhile, Gov. Jan Brewer has signed a new law banning the teaching of ethnic studies courses at state-funded schools. I've never been a big fan of these courses, particularly at the university level, as I agree that they can be divisive and counter-productive, but this goes way too far. And it's yet another law specifically targeting Hispanics.

Arizona may not be Nazi Germany, but it's turning into a reprehensible little shithole of bigotry before our very eyes.

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