I made very clear in the wake of Arizona's passage of SB 1070 that I would not be setting foot in the state, nor spending a dime in it until the law was revoked. The law, however gutted by the courts, remains on the books, as does systemic harassment of Latinos, so my pledge still stands.
I've heard three arguments for picking Arizona:
We're taking the fight to the enemy
I doubt the conference would decide to host the event in, say, Apartheid South Africa, in order to "take the fight to the enemy". If you think that analogy is absurd, it is, but only in terms of degree, not intent in the county that has consistently elected Sheriff Joe Arpaio since 1992. But if you want a less bombastic analogy, look to labor: Netroots Nation refuses to hold events in cities without union hotel and conference facilities. They're not "taking the fight" to non-unionized locations because we, as a movement, stand for the right of people to organize and we don't reward those places that deny those rights. It's the right call. Also, would the conference have been happy to stay in Arizona had Gov. Jan Brewer signed the virulently anti-gay SB 1062 earlier this year? Hard to see that happening.
Latinos deserve that same kind of respect.
Lots of people are happy with Arizona!
I personally haven't talked to anyone thrilled about spending next July in Arizona's 100+ degree weather, but I have no doubt such people exist. I had one person tell me, "There are two sides to the issue!" And yes, there are! But that, right there, should've been a hint that perhaps Netroots Nation should've tread more carefully. If they want a united netroots, they shouldn't make decisions that are inherently divisive.
Being in Arizona will shine a spotlight on the immigration debate
I can't decide if this rationalization is more absurd or condescending, as if we need a conference to have a debate that is raging this very minute, and has been for years.
Given the circumstances, Daily Kos will skip the 2015 edition of the conference, as well as promotional and fundraising efforts leading up to it. Hopefully, things can go back to normal in 2016, in time for the conference's 10-year anniversary.