The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

April 27, 2010
Steinberg tells Schwarzenegger to boycott Arizona

Can a state really divorce itself from its neighbor?

If state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg gets his way, we could soon find out.

Jumping on the boycott bandwagon over Arizona's new law on illegal immigrants, the Sacramento Democrat urged Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today to do everything legally possible to sever economic ties with Arizona until it repeals the law.

He and others threatening boycotts say the law, signed last week by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, will inevitably lead to racial profiling. The law -- which would take effect in about three months barring a successful court challenge -- would require immigrants to carry proof of their status and require police to determine whether someone is in the country illegally if they have a "reasonable suspicion" about someone.

"As a border state, the impact of the Arizona law will surely have reverberations in California. And given the threat the Arizona law poses to public safety and individual freedoms, I believe we can't afford to wait for the courts to resolve the legal questions it presents. I think we have a moral obligation to deliver an unequivocal message to lawmakers in Arizona that California does not condone its conduct," Steinberg wrote Schwarzenegger.

"The Arizona law is as unconscionable as it is unconstitutional, and the state of California should not be using taxpayer dollars to support such a policy. For that reason, I respectfully request that you provide me with information about all existing and proposed contracts between the state of California and any businesses or governments in Arizona. I would like for our respective legal staffs to work together to determine whether we can legally break any of our existing contracts, and also ensure that no new contracts are negotiated until Arizona's law is effectively repealed."

The wave of opposition is similar to what happened after then-Arizona Gov. Evan Meacham repealed civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday as a holiday in 1987 and voters supported that decision in 1990. That time, boycotts worked. After tourism plummeted and the NFL moved a Super Bowl from Tempe to Pasadena, Arizona voters reversed course in 1992 and made the holiday official.

But taken to an extreme, Steinberg's solution could threaten the whole idea of the United States of America. Would Utah boycott California because it allowed same-sex marriages? Would Phoenix shun San Francisco because it's a sanctuary city? Would state after state show its displeasure with a controversial law in another by cutting off ties?

About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Stuart Leavenworth on Twitter

Follow "SacBeeEditBoard" on Twitter