Arizona immigration boycott fails, but Tacoma will try again

The News TribuneMay 19, 2010 

In an unusual procedural maneuver, the Tacoma City Council late Tuesday purposely voted down a resolution to oppose Arizona’s controversial law cracking down on illegal immigrants when a majority of members belatedly realized they were one vote shy of passing the symbolic proposal.

The 11th-hour legislative wrangling ensures that the measure will be brought back before the council next week for another vote that likely will result in approving the measure.

"I think it’ll pass next week," said Councilman Joe Lonergan, who voted against the measure. "The mayor will be back, and she's the deciding vote."

With Mayor Marilyn Strickland and council member Spiro Manthou out of town, only seven council members were left to decide the resolution, co-sponsored by council members Ryan Mello and Lauren Walker, that is intended as a symbolic gesture to oppose Arizona’s law.

Four members — Mello, Walker, Victoria Woodards and Jake Fey — voted to pass it. Two — Lonergan and Marty Campbell — voted against it; Councilman David Boe abstained. That made the vote 4-2-1 in favor of the measure.

But under the Tacoma City Charter, a resolution can be adopted only by a majority vote of the full nine-member body — meaning five votes are needed for approval. When City Attorney Elizabeth Pauli informed the council of that fact nearly four hours into the meeting, the council hastily called a short recess, leaving confusion among onlookers.

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