On his Facebook page last month, District 3 Councilman Jose F. Moreno endorsed boycotting Papa John’s Pizza:
“Hit haters in the wallet” exhorts the Vocal Progressives boycott post shared by Moreno – and hitting those haters includes the three Papa John’s Pizza stores in Anaheim.
Before moving to the identities of the “haters” who are allegedly exploiting their Anaheim employees, let’s review some pertinent realities. The Welcoming Anaheim program to make immigrants (especially Latinos and Muslim immigrants) “feel welcome” in Anaheim is Moreno’s brain child. It even proposes creating an “immigrant affairs coordinator” position at City Hall.
Moreno helped found the Muslim-Latino Collaborative OC to combat “divisive rhetoric.”
Speaking this week at the Hispanic Education Endowment Foundation banquet last week, Moreno said, “We must recognize the reason we need these scholarships for our students is too often our corporations do not pay their workers enough to be able to afford to go to college.”
Also, earlier this year, Moreno co-sponsored an Anaheim Small Business Organization event on the critical importance of capital formation for small businesses. What boycott-supporter Moreno doesn’t seem to realize that even more important to small businesses are customers – and the purpose of boycotts is to deprive targeted businesses of customers.
So, who are the greedy “haters” whom Councilman Moreno favors hitting in the wallet? The co-owners of the three Papa John’s Pizza stores located in Anaheim are Amer Boukai and Fred Tarazi. Two of their stores are on the boundary of District 3.
Co-owner Amer Boukai is a successful businessman who is a founding board member of the Orange County Islamic Foundation, which provides religious, educational, and social services to the Muslim community. He is also a member of the board of trustees of UC Irvine Foundation. Boukai’s other interests include increasing the supply of affordable housing.
Each year, the Boukai Family Foundation awards four $2,000 scholarships to UC Irvine students. The purpose of this scholarship program is to build on the values of faith, family, education and community giving and “advocate the importance of tolerance toward Islam and all forms of religions and faith traditions, and to serve to strengthen opportunities for future generations in Arab-American communities.”
The Boukai Family Foundation also contributes hundreds of thousands of dollars to organizations such as the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Islamic Relief USA, CAIR California, UNICEF, Hearts of Mercy Foundation, the Islamic Center of Southern California and the National Humane Education Society.
Apparently none of that matters because owners of Papa John’s Pizza stores like Boukai and Tarazi are – in the eyes of progressives like Moreno – greedy, exploitative businessmen.
It would seem that supporting a boycott of these small Anaheim businesses – two of them owned by a businessman of the Muslim faith – runs counter not only to the spirit and intent of Welcoming Anaheim, but to Moreno’s occasional professions of support for small business. Moreno endorses the progressive boycott’s cartoonish distortion of Papa John’s Pizza, which is belied by Boukai’s generous philanthropy.
This is a free country and Councilman Moreno is at liberty to support the causes of his choice. However, before lending his support for the Papa John’s Pizza boycott, it would have been prudent to reflect on the propriety of an Anaheim City Councilmember endorsing the boycott of Anaheim small businesses. Moreno defends his habit of pulling routine consent calendar items because he wants to get at the facts before making a decision. In this case, a concern for the facts would serve better than a knee-jerk ideological response.