City Considers Stance on Arizona Immigration Law

Mayor Schneider Expresses no Appetite for Taking Official Action Against It

While Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider has spoken out against Arizona’s recent law authorizing state and local law enforcement officials to begin enforcing federal immigration laws — saying, “It’s dangerous and will impede law enforcement” — she expressed no appetite for taking official action against the polarizing law. Given the new council’s political makeup, she expressed skepticism that there were two councilmembers — the requisite number to get any item on the agenda — willing to take it on. Some cities are threatening to stop doing businesses with companies located in Arizona to protest the new law. Schneider discovered city hall does business with only four such companies for a combined sum of $13,000 a year. About half was with the manufacturer of the Taser stun gun, for supplies and service. City police deploy their Tasers about five times a month, and assistant chief Frank Mannix attributes their use to a marked decline in the number and severity of injuries sustained by officers while on duty. Tasers provide a nonlethal method for subduing unwilling suspects short of actual physical altercation. Since the department began using Tasers in 2006, Mannix said the department’s workers’ compensation costs have dropped from $900,000 a year to $270,000. Last week, several hundred protestors massed at the intersection of State and Anapamu streets to protest the Arizona law; after about two hours, police declared the demonstration an illegal obstruction of traffic and announced they’d arrest anyone who did not leave. Eight people were arrested.

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