The city of San Diego is off the target list of a “reverse boycott” list of cities and various organizations that are boycotting Arizona. Local tourism officials, who fear losing business just weeks away from the important summer tourist season, said the news eased their minds.
Brett Scott, a leader of the reverse boycott, said Friday he removed San Diego from the list after learning from the North County Times that the San Diego City Council didn’t vote to boycott Arizona.
A resident of Gilbert, Ariz., Scott maintains the reverse boycott list at www.azfightsback.com, and he has been quoted in several national newspaper and television reports.
San Diego got on the list after its City Council passed a resolution condemning Arizona’s controversial new illegal immigration law. Other cities, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Columbus, Ohio, have gone even further and ordered their governments to boycott the state.
Numerous Arizonans expressed their unhappiness with San Diego’s decision. The San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau has received “hundreds” of e-mails from Arizonans suggesting they’d find another place to spend the summer, said its chairman, Joe Terzi.
Veteran San Diego County hotelier Robert Rauch said he’s happy with Scott’s change of heart. He’d been worried that Arizonans might boycott the rest of the county, along with the city.
“There is a realization that San Diego didn’t do what L.A. and San Francisco did in calling for a boycott,” Rauch said. “I think it’ll help a great deal.”
Rauch runs a Homewood Suites hotel in Carmel Valley and is a former chairman of the San Diego North Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Cami Mattson, CEO of the San Diego North bureau, also said she was pleased.
“It is helpful for our Arizona neighbors and visitors to know that there is no economic debate or ill will regarding travel and visitor spending in either state,” Mattson said.
Rauch said he was concerned that some Arizonans might not distinguish between San Diego’s milder reaction and the boycott calls of San Francisco and Los Angeles, and head for Orange County instead.
“If only a small percentage of those take action, it will have a significant impact this summer, and perhaps going forward,” Rauch said. But Scott’s statement will help, he said.
Scott said he was misled by news articles that failed to distinguish between the action of San Diego and that of the boycotting cities.
In a post called “A Clarification on San Diego,” he wrote that while he disliked the San Diego City Council’s resolution, it didn’t merit a boycott.
“I wish to thank the council for keeping their actions in the realm of debate and not economic warfare,” Scott wrote. “As far as my opinion on the fact the San Diego city council would issue a resolution about another state; My response is ‘mind your own business.'”
The summer months are high season for San Diego tourism, the time of year when hotels and motels record their highest room occupancy rates. Rauch said summer occupancy was forecast to reach 80 percent this year.
The Arizona law requires police to check the immigration status of those stopped or arrested, if police suspect they’re in the U.S. illegally, and if it’s feasible to do so. Opponents say it will lead to racial profiling. The law forbids police from considering race or ethnicity.
The San Diego City Council passed its nonbinding resolution on May 3. It refers to the original law, known as SB 1070. However, on April 27, the Arizona Legislature amended it with another law, HB 2162, which the resolution does not mention.
Rauch said he’s sympathetic to his colleagues in Arizona, who are taking a “major hit” from the boycott.
“They have lost millions of dollars already,” despite opposition to the law from the Arizona tourism industry, he said.