As we've all been told, the vast growth in the number of Latinos makes them an unstoppable force in American politics. Anybody who stands against illegal immigration, such as the Republican upstarts in Arizona who passed SB 1070 in 2010, will be crushed beneath Mexican-Americans' implacable will, relentless focused energy, and superb organizational skills.
From today's LA Times, an article about how all that is working out in the Los Angeles of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa:
By Kate Linthicum |
A year after the City Council approved the sanction, little has changed. There's not even an ordinance specifying how the boycott should work.
In May 2010, Los Angeles was a part of wave of cities that voted to boycott Arizona after lawmakers in that state passed a controversial law targeting illegal immigrants.
City Hall staffers were ordered to review contracts with Arizona companies for possible termination, and official travel to Arizona was supposed to be suspended.
But a year later, little has changed in the way Los Angeles does business with the state next door.
The city still buys street sweeper parts from one Arizona firm and has a contract for emergency sewer repairs with another, officials say. The Harbor Department alone has four contracts with Arizona companies that total nearly $26 million.
A similar pattern can be seen across California. Boycotts in Oakland, San Francisco and Los Angeles County made headlines last year but have since delivered little punch.
None of those jurisdictions has canceled a contract with an Arizona-based company because of the boycott — leading some immigrant-rights activists to dismiss the high-profile calls for economic sanctions as empty symbolism.
The disappointment is especially felt in Los Angeles, where Latino elected leaders strongly backed the sanctions.
"This is a moment of hypocrisy if the city of Los Angeles says one thing and does another," said Rabbi Jonathan Klein, executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice.
I suspect that someday some genius will figure out how to politically organize Mexican-Americans. But it probably won't involve issuing press releases and all that old boring stuff. My guess is that the secret to organizing Mexicans politically will have to involve buying pouffy dresses, renting tuxedos and stretch limousines, and dancing. Lots of dancing.