CITY HALL — If you thought the Santa Monica City Council’s boycott of Arizona businesses was merely ceremonial, with few real-world implications, think again.
It now appears that a proposed $3 million deal to acquire 20 manufactured homes for the City Hall-owned Mountain View Mobile Home Park could be at risk because of the policy, which the council unanimously adopted May 25.
If the council chooses not to approve the contract because of the boycott that could mean a loss in taxypaper money in the form of man hours put in by city staff.
The council discussed past and future business with the state of Arizona before adopting the boycott, but there was no mention of what it might mean for a proposal to purchase replacement homes from Phoenix-based Cavco Industries Inc.
Cavco was selected from a field of seven firms after a 6-month review process that included a presentation to residents at Mountain View and analysis by City Hall staff and members of the Planning Commission and Housing Commission.
With its headquarters in Phoenix, the company is “one of the largest producers of manufactured housing, park model and cabin vacation homes in the United States,” according to its website. It operates three manufacturing plants in the Phoenix area and one plant in Seguin, Texas.
Like many other cities, Santa Monica adopted a boycott of Arizona businesses and banned official travel to the state to protest the law known as SB1070, which requires Arizona police to check immigration papers when they have a “reasonable suspicion” someone they’ve stopped could be in the country illegally. Critics have said the law, which is set to take effect July 29 pending court challenges, will lead to racial profiling.
Housing Administrator Jim Kemper this week said he was not sure how the boycott will affect his department’s recommendation to purchase the homes from Cavco. The proposal was part of a plan to replace older dwellings at Mountain View, where 80 percent of the units were built before 1976, according to a City Hall report.
The City Council has final say on the proposed contract and is tentatively scheduled to vote on the deal by July, Kemper said.
He said there’s been no decision about whether to pull the recommendation or to re-open the bidding process.
“We’re going to present all the facts to the council and then they, of course, will decide,” he said.
City Councilman Terry O’Day, who proposed the Arizona boycott, on Friday said he had not been aware of the proposal to purchase manufactured homes from an Arizona company.
“I’m sure it was a very involved selection process, but I’m sure we can get them elsewhere, too,” he said.
When the council adopted the boycott, council members discussed the possible impact it could have on a proposed $2 million contract with Trapeze Group, a software company with an Arizona facility that is the front runner for a contract to provide real-time signs for Big Blue Bus stops.
That proposal is yet to get the council’s approval, but Stephanie Negriff, the BBB’s director, has said that the contract wouldn’t violate the boycott because Trapeze is headquartered in Canada and will handle the proposed contract through its Cedar Rapids, Iowa, office.