A San Diego City Council committee considered Monday whether to ban city investments in corporations that do business with apartheid South Africa.
"I feel like we're in partnership with a very evil system," said Councilman William Jones before the Rules Committee unanimously voted to ask the city manager's office to investigate how to implement such a ban.
At issue is how to invest the city employees' $378-million retirement portfolio.
Currently, 8.8% of those investments--or $35,488,000--are with six companies companies that do business with South Africa. (The six firms are Avery International, Dun & Bradstreet, Times Mirror, IBM, Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing and Phillips Petroleum.) Three of the firms, IBM, Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing and Phillips, have signed an agreement called the Sullivan Principles in which they pledged not to discriminate against blacks in employment.
But the Sullivan Principles don't change a racist nation, members of a new coalition, San Diegans for Divestment, charged Monday. And several council members agreed. The council should send a message to South Africa by barring investments in companies that do business with that nation, they said.