What Happened at City Council Last Night?
The Tucson Metro Chamber was there for you last night at the Tucson City Council meeting when the mayor and members of the City Council discussed a proposed resolution declaring the City of Tucson to be against the construction of a wall along the U.S./Mexico border.
While the Chamber took no position on the merits of such a wall, we did advocate strongly for the removal or change of one of the provisions of the resolution that suggested the City might forever terminate the possibility of doing business with any company that works on the design or construction of such a wall. The exact language in the resolution stated that companies that contribute to the wall’s construction would be “identified and divested by the City”.
Here is the text of a letter the Chamber sent to the City Council prior to last night’s meeting. I attended the meeting and read a similar statement into the record on behalf of business.
During discussion before the vote was taken by the Council, several changes were made to the language of the resolution and City Attorney Mike Rankin pledged to research actions being taken by other cities on similar measures. During a break I asked Mr. Rankin if the term “investment” or “divestment” included future City “procurement”. He replied that procurement was not intended to be an aspect of the Council’s “divestment” policies.
The bottom line is that further clarity is needed to define “investment”, “divestment” and “procurement”, but for now it appears that the City intends to divest from mutual funds and other securities that include the stocks of companies involved in the design and construction of the wall and not punish local companies contracted to do work on such a wall if it is ever built.
Near the end of the Council meeting I received a text message from a City Councilmember that simply said, “pretty innocuous”. I think that is a fair description of how the Council’s resolution will impact local companies.
Michael V. Varney
President & CEO