Mark Ridley-Thomas Has Deciding Vote For Proposed County Boycott Of Arizona

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to take up a proposal to initiate its own travel and business boycott against Arizona, and on Friday it looked like the vote would be close:

Supervisor Don Knabe said he would oppose such a measure, putting him in the no-vote category alongside Supervisor Mike Antonovich. With the proposal's author, Gloria Molina, and strong supporter, Zev Yaroslavsky, in the yes category, that leaves the deciding vote for Mark Ridley-Thomas on the powerful, five-member board.

"My boss has not come up with a statement on this yet, and I don't expect anything prior to Tuesday,'' Ed Maddox, a spokesman for Ridley-Thomas, said.But he could change his mind."

The county would join the city of L.A. and other state and local governments in opposing Arizona's law, which encourages police to check on the immigration status of suspects they stop, detain and arrest who are believed to possibly be in the country illegally.

Ridley-Thomas represents much of south L.A. County, including traditionally African-American neighborhoods that have transformed into majority Latino areas. Some black leaders have expressed exasperation with illegal immigration, arguing that such newcomers take working-class jobs from African-Americans.

[Added]: Our colleague Gene Maddaus points out that Ridley-Thomas has very close ties to L.A. unions, which vehemently oppose Arizona's law, so it would be hard to fathom him voting against a boycott. So it'll be interesting to see which way Ridley-Thomas votes.

The board is scheduled to take up the matter Tuesday.

-With reporting from City News Service. Got news? Email us.

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