In May, Boulder city manager Jane Brautigam banned official travel to Arizona due to the state's controversial immigration law, and last night, the city council considered a resolution denouncing the law.
But the council wound up tabling the resolution -- a move deputy mayor Ken Wilson sees as smart.
"I was never in favor of any resolution," Wilson says. "I think Boulder should mind Boulder's business."
Specifically, Wilson believes that "the city shouldn't get involved in national or interstate politics. We've got enough issues to deal with on our own turf, and that's what I think we should focus on."
Wilson supported those council members who argued in favor of studying the immigration issue in relation to the effect it has on Boulder and "communicating those concerns to our representatives and senators," he notes. And he also can imagine supporting resolutions taking on EPA rulings whose impact might be felt by Boulderites. But he opposes resolutions that are more about making a statement than helping constituents.
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"In the past, we've had citizens who've lobbied us to have resolutions to impeach Bush or Cheney, to have a Department of Peace, and other things like that," he notes. "And I don't think we should be spending time on those issues. People should lobby their senators and their representatives to do those kinds of things, not the Boulder city council."
This approach shouldn't be interpreted as evidence that Wilson is a big booster of the Arizona law. In fact, he agrees with many of the thoughts shared by Boulder congressman Jared Polis and Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle in a May editorial on the subject, in which they suggested that the measure could result in more victimization for immigrants due to their presumed reticence to turn to law enforcement in a time of need.
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Likewise, Wilson understands Brautigam's worries about city travel to Arizona. "If we had a Hispanic employee of the city who needed to travel there, I would be very concerned," he maintains. "If I were them, I'd treat it like a foreign country and hang onto my passport at all times. I think that's sad, but that's their issue."
In Boulder's case, however, "we shouldn't be having public hearings that take up hours and hours of time that don't directly impact us, and that we can't directly effect."