Arizona calls Los Angeles' bluff

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-01-2010
Arizona calls Los Angeles' bluff
Wed, 05-19-2010 - 4:33pm

Arizona Official Threatens to Cut Off Los Angeles Power as Payback for Boycott

A member of Arizona's top government utilities agency threw down the gauntlet in a letter to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, threatening to cut off the city's power supply as retribution for the city's boycott of Arizona.

If Los Angeles wants to boycott Arizona, it had better get used to reading by candlelight.

That's the message from a member of Arizona's top government utilities agency, who threw down the gauntlet Tuesday in a letter to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa by threatening to cut off the city's power supply as retribution.

Gary Pierce, a commissioner on the five-member Arizona Corporation Commission, wrote the letter in response to the Los Angeles City Council's decision last week to boycott the Grand Canyon State -- in protest of its immigration law -- by suspending official travel there and ending future contracts with state businesses.

Noting that a quarter of Los Angeles' electricity comes from Arizona power plants, Pierce threatened to pull the plug if the City Council does not reconsider.

"Doggone it -- if you're going to boycott this candy store ... then don't come in for any of it," Pierce told
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In the letter, he ridiculed Villaraigosa for saying that the point of the boycott was to "send a message" by severing the "resources and ties" they share.

"I received your message; please receive mine. As a statewide elected member of the Arizona Corporation Commission overseeing Arizona's electric and water utilities, I too am keenly aware of the 'resources and ties' we share with the city of Los Angeles," Pierce wrote.

"If an economic boycott is truly what you desire, I will be happy to encourage Arizona utilities to renegotiate your power agreements so Los Angeles no longer receives any power from Arizona-based generation."

Appearing to tap into local frustration in Arizona over the raft of boycotts and threatened boycotts from cities across the country, including Los Angeles, Pierce warned that Arizona companies are willing and ready to fight boycott with boycott.

"I am confident that Arizona's utilities would be happy to take those electrons off your hands," Pierce wrote. "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."

Pierce told that he was speaking for himself, not the entire commission, though he has the support of at least one other member. But Arizona has some serious leverage over Los Angeles, as well as the rest of California. The state and city get electricity from a nuclear power plant outside Phoenix, as well as from coal-fired power plants in northern Arizona and two giant hydroelectric power generators along the Colorado River.

Despite that, the Los Angeles City Council voted overwhelmingly last week to ban future business
with Arizona -- a decision that could cost Arizona millions of dollars in lost contracts.

Los Angeles officials were furious with the Arizona immigration law passed last month and joined local officials in cities across the country in pushing boycotts to register their dismay. Critics say the law will lead to racial profiling and civil rights abuses.

Arizona officials have defended the law, saying the state needed to take its illegal immigration problem into its own hands. Pierce said he's "supportive" of the state's efforts to control the border.

The law requires local law enforcement to try to verify the immigration status of anyone they have contact with whom they suspect of being an illegal immigrant. It empowers them to turn over verified illegal immigrants to federal custody. The legislation explicitly prohibits screening people based solely on race or national origin.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2010
Thu, 05-20-2010 - 4:52am

Classic! Simply Classic!!

I'm all for it. L.A.'s big on the whole global warmin'/reduce GHG emissions bit, so I'm sure cutting their power will make all those liberals extra happy.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-28-2010
Thu, 05-20-2010 - 6:00am

Hahn goes on to point out that Los Angeles and other California cities have ownership stakes in at least one of the powerplants in question. Earlier today, the LADWP's General Manager Austin Beutner echoed this sentiment in his response to Arizona. LAist reports on Beutner's statement:
"We are part owner of both power plants, which are generating assets of the Department. As such, nothing in the City's resolution is inconsistent with our continuing to receive power from those LADWP-owned assets."

And he's right: L.A.'s resolution on Arizona did not include boycotting its own properties in the state.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-01-2010
Thu, 05-20-2010 - 4:08pm
It wasn't a threat, it was pointing a big fat finger at the hypocrisy of the LA City Council...and it worked.
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2010
Thu, 05-20-2010 - 4:23pm

The LA law made mention of discontinuing any contracts they could legally discontinue and seeing has how power contracts are usually long-term, my initial instinct is that the power would continue to flow.

But, as usual, a great job has been done to show the hypocrisy of liberals.

I mean, if L.A. FEELS this is such a moral issue as they claim, I'm sure they'd be happy to put themselves out just a tad wouldn't you think? Unfortunately it appears they're not quite that comitted to their convictions.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-11-2005
Thu, 05-20-2010 - 8:23pm

Hover Dam was a Federal funded project and therefore can't be cut off from interstate commerce. Just can't be don't. You would end up with the feds at the Governor door if they EVER TRIED to do that.


~~Sam stitches well with others, runs with scissors in her pocket. Cheerful and stupid.
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-01-2010
Thu, 05-20-2010 - 11:57pm
Well, I don't think that Gary Pierce was referring to the Hoover Dam, which doesn't actually sit in Arizona, but rather on the border of Arizona and Nevada...and isn't operated by the Arizona government. But the point that a Federally funded project is not under the auspices of the state government in which is resides is pretty easily proven wrong, simply by an examination of the thousands and thousands of other state project that receives Federal funds that are under the auspices of the states in which they reside.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-22-2010
Fri, 05-21-2010 - 2:32pm


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-01-2010
Fri, 05-21-2010 - 2:58pm
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2010
Fri, 05-21-2010 - 7:20pm

(I say good for Arizona, I hope more states follow suit.)

Looks like they are. :-)