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Council panel urges major deal with an Arizona firm

A Los Angeles City Council panel voted Tuesday to recommend a contract worth up to $97.5 million for a company with 9,000 employees in Arizona, drawing complaints that such a move would violate the city’s boycott of the state.

The council’s Energy and Environment Committee backed a 15-year agreement with Honeywell International despite opposition from Councilman Ed Reyes, a co-author of the Arizona ban.

L.A.'s boycott was approved last year to protest Senate Bill 1070, the Arizona law cracking down on illegal immigration. Since then, however, the council has made exceptions to the ban.

Andrea Alarcon, president of the Board of Public Works, told the committee that Honeywell was not clearly covered by the boycott because it is headquartered in New Jersey, not Arizona. But Reyes deputy Tony Perez said the ban also applies to companies “based” in that state. With 9,000 employees, Honeywell meets that description, he said.

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“There’s no question in the councilman’s mind that if the council rejected this [contract], that would have not only an economic impact on Arizona but a political impact on Arizona,” Perez added.

The contract has been the target of a competing bidder, Emerson Process Management, which argued that Honeywell lacks the experience to do the work.

Honeywell attorney George Kieffer disagreed and pointed out that Emerson ranked third in the search process.

Tuesday’s vote drew jeers from Javier Gonzalez, who represents musicians opposed to SB 1070, which required police to check the status of those they suspected of being in the country illegally.

“It’s disappointing that at a time when the boycott is really working, that [council members] would send mixed messages on this stuff,” he said.

david.zahniser@latimes.com


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