Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Arizona Threatens to Pull Plug on LA Over Immigration Law Boycott


Arizona is threatening to unplug the lights of Los Angeles -- and its air conditioners,   if the city doesn't rescind its order to boycott the state over the state's new immigration law.  
"I feel like if you're going to boycott the candy store, you've got to leave all the candy alone," said Arizona Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce. Arizona provides 25 percent of Los Angeles' power.
"I feel like Arizona is the candy store," he added.
The  Los Angeles City Council's 13-1 vote earlier this month to boycott Arizona and Arizona-based businesses fueled Pierce's challenge. 
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed legislation SB 1070 last month,  making the bill law,  and giving to AZ police the power stop people they suspect may be illegal immigrants and demand identification.
Los Angeles was among several California municipalities that have voted to boycott Arizona, including Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, and others. 
Fighting back

Now the state of Arizona has begun its counter-attack.   Pierce sent a letter to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa this week explaining his stance on the issue.
 In a veiled warning, he asked the Mayor to  "reconsider the wisdom of attempting to harm Arizona's economy."
"If they're really serious about this, then be true to your conviction," Pierce told ABCNews.com. "I would be happy to help them to renegotiate the power agreements so they no longer receive power from Arizona."
"When temperatures rise over 100 degrees we're going to love to have the extra power," he said.
Los Angeles reportedly receives about 25 per cent of its power from Arizona, meaning that fully one fourth of America's second largest city could be plunged into darkness.
Politicians in the city voted last week to impose a boycott on Arizona which will affect about $8 million worth of contracts with the state. City officials will also stop all travel to the state, and will not hold conferences in Arizona.  
In response an Arizona utility commissioner raised the idea of the state's utility companies pulling the plug on the City of Angels.  
In a letter addressing the Arizona Corporation Commission,  Gary Pierce stated that if an economic boycott was what LA wanted,  then he would " happy to encourage Arizona utilities to renegotiate your power agreements so Los Angeles no longer receives any power from Arizona-based generation.".  
"I am confident that Arizona's utilities would be happy to take those electrons off your hands.
"If, however, you find that the City Council lacks the strength of its convictions to turn off the lights in Los Angeles and boycott Arizona power, please reconsider the wisdom of attempting to harm Arizona's economy." Mr Pierce said if Los Angeles was "serious" about its boycott and not just "posturing" then it would have to consider supplying its own power.
The electricity comes from coal-fired power plants in northern Arizona, a nuclear power plant outside Phoenix, and two hydroelectric plants on the Colorado River.

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