By Kyle Swenson
August 09, 2017
Members of the Democrat-dominated Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to draft a law that would require companies doing business with the city to disclose whether they are involved with “any proposed border wall between Mexico and the United States of America,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
“We want to know if there are people who do business with the city of Los Angeles … who wish to profit from building a wall that would divide us from our nearest and dearest neighbor Mexico,” Councilman Gil Cedillo said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The measure was adopted by a 13 to 0 vote, with two members absent.
In June, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection indicated it planned to choose up to eight firms to build prototypes for 2,000-mile barrier along the Mexico border, which President Trump made a campaign priority, as The Washington Post has reported. Over 200 companies responded to the government’s requests for proposals in March.
Cedillo, who proposed the Los Angeles legislation, has repeatedly denounced the Trump’s plan for a border wall in recent months.
“I would hope that those who want to do business with us share our values and understand the importance of a city that is significantly immigrant, that the foundation of our economy is immigrant, that our social fabric is immigrant,” he said at a May news conference unveiling the council’s proposal.
The city’s move mirrors a similar proposal working through the California statehouse, and both proposals are being criticized by building trade associations, who say it is an unfair mix of business and politics. New York City and Tucson have both contemplated similar bans on border wall-related businesses.
The motion means city attorneys will be tasked with crafting legislation that requires companies and contractors who are doing business or trying to do business with the city to disclose any contracts or arrangements with the Trump administration’s wall project.
The motion is not an outright ban, although Cedillo’s spokesperson told reporters the council is looking for guidance from city attorneys about what kind of latitude the council has in that area. Previously, Cedillo has said he would like contractors and businesses to submit sworn affidavits about possible dealings with the border wall.
The statewide proposal — Senate Bill 30 — bans wall-affiliated businesses from engaging in California business.
“What would we think of businesses that would work on an internment camp?” Sen. Ricardo Lara, who put forth the bill, told NPR in May. “What would we think of businesses that work on segregated schools? I mean, these were legitimate projects back in the day. And if they so happened to exist in this time, would we be okay with businesses contributing to that?”
The bill passed in the state senate in June. The proposal now is in the California assembly.
Neither piece of legislation sits well with members of the building industry. In April, the Federation of California Builders and Exchanges blasted the idea and those “individuals who abuse their elected positions to impose political judgments against businesses who are trying to lawfully operate in California.”
Similarly, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce has come out against the city council’s motion. In May, Gary Toebven, the chamber’s president and CEO, told the Los Angeles Times this “precedent could lead to an endless number of litmus-test questions based on the personal preferences of City Council members.”
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