CITY HALL — The City Council is set to vote tonight on whether to go ahead with a $3 million purchase of replacement “manufactured homes” from Arizona-based Cavco Industries, despite deciding in May to boycott California’s eastern neighbor over the state’s controversial anti-illegal immigration law.
The proposed contract is for 20 units that would replace out of date City Hall-owned travel trailers and mobile homes at Mountain View Mobile Home Park. The homes would be part of the city’s affordable housing program.
Santa Monica officials received seven bids from companies interested in the contract, including three from companies located outside of Arizona.
But in a report prepared for the City Council, City Hall’s Housing and Economic Development staff said going with a non-Arizona company would mean significantly higher costs, worse design and a lack of required green energy alternatives, among other deficiencies.
Staff also recommended against re-starting the selection process, which has been underway for a year and a half.
“Further delays to the process, or beginning the RFP process again, would penalize existing residents who have been patiently waiting years for the opportunity to upgrade their living conditions,” the report stated.
The City Council unanimously enacted the boycott and banned official travel to Arizona on May 25. Council members said some exceptions to the boycott could be made for specialty contracts.
Councilman Terry O’Day, who suggested the boycott, on Monday said he was “not satisfied with the analysis in the staff report” on the Cavco proposal and believed it may be appropriate to award the contract to an alternate bidder located outside of Arizona in order to honor the boycott.
“I have questions and concerns,” he said. “At this stage I have more questions than answers.”
Councilman Kevin McKeown indicated he too may take exception to City Hall’s recommendation on the proposed deal.
“I regret that so much work had been done on this bid before the council voted to boycott Arizona, and I am certainly in favor of providing better housing to Mountain View residents who want it. But this exception to the boycott will require some discussion,” he said in an e-mail.
The federal government has sued Arizona over the immigration law, which would require police officers to inspect immigration papers if they suspected someone they’ve stopped on suspicion of committing a non-immigration related crime was in the country illegally.
A federal judge blocked significant parts of the law from taking effect on July 28, hours before the law was to take effect.
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton issued a temporary injunction against important sections of the Arizona law, prohibiting the state from making it a crime to lack immigration documents within its borders and striking down the section that would require police to check immigration papers of people they lawfully stopped and believed could be in the country illegally. The judge also overturned two other provisions she said were unconstitutional efforts to undermine the federal government’s authority to enforce immigration policy.
Arizona has appealed the decision, and the legal battle is expected to reach the U.S. Supreme Court.