After a series of car accidents, the city is considering setting up traffic cameras in five major intersections.
The company the city is considering for this project is based in Arizona. Some argue, given the tension surrounding the immigration debate, contracting a company from that state sends the wrong message.
“The perception to the community is that they don’t care,” says Christian Ramirez from the American Friends Service Committee. “By purchasing these cameras, we’re sending the wrong message.”
Over 60 percent of National City’s residents are Hispanic. Some would rather see the project given to a company based out of California.
“Arizona discriminates against our people,” said business owner Rafael Zermeno.
National City’s mayor says the issue is safety and has absolutely nothing to do with politics or immigration.
“If we boycotted every person in Arizona and every company in Arizona because of what their legislature does I'm afraid of what people would do to California because of what our state legislature does,” said Morrison.
The mayor said that Red-Flex offered the best proposal for this project. He said his city council was elected to deal with issues in National City and not with Arizona’s laws.
“I personally have problems with the Arizona law,” asserts Morrison. “If they tried to bring it over here I would fight it like crazy, but it's over in Arizona. It's not a National City situation.”
After Arizona passed its tough immigration law, the city of San Diego, Chula Vista and even the San Diego Unified School Board publicly took a stance against the law. Some were hoping National City would follow.
“National City can in fact take a symbolic stance on this and send a strong message,” argues Ramirez.
But Morrison disagrees.
“If I worked on symbolism, we would get absolutely nothing done on time and at any level," concluded the mayor.
The proposed traffic cameras would be placed in the following intersections: Plaza Boulevard and Euclid Avenue; Paradise Valley Road and Eighth Street; Highland Avenue and Eighth Street; and Highland Avenue and Plaza Boulevard; Highland Avenue and 30th Street.