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Los Angeles Boycott Leads AZ to Point Out Where a Quarter of Los Angels Electricity Comes From

Phoenix, AZ – The L-A city council voted last week to stop spending money with
Arizona businesses in the wake of enactment of a tough new law
aimed at illegal immigrants. But Gary Pierce, a member of the
Arizona Corporation Commission, pointed out the city is still
getting close to a quarter of its electricity from Arizona power
plants. So he sent a letter to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio
Villaraigosa offering to help encourage Arizona utilities to
restructure their deals with the L-A Department of Water and
Power. Pierce admitted to Arizona Public Radio that neither he
nor his colleagues on the corporation commission have any power
to shut off the electrons to Los Angeles. But he said a message
needed to be sent.

(This is calling them out. Doggone it, they're calling for a
boycott. This is not what neighbors do. We're going to have
disagreements. We're going to have them again. Every time we have
a disagreement over a policy, they're going to call for a
boycott? That's real strange leadership in my view. And short-

But Los Angeles is not likely to stop getting electricity from
Arizona. happen. Austin Beutner, manager of L-A's Department of
Water and Power, said his city owns 5.7 percent of the Palo Verde
Nuclear Generating Station and 21.2 percent of the coal-fired
Navajo Generating Station. Beutner said nothing in the council's
boycott resolution is inconsistent with the city's ability to get
power from what it owns in Arizona. Pierce disagreed. He compared
the city's action s it to a shopper boycotting a specific grocery
store -- and then sneaking in the back because it's the only
place to buy a desired item.

(This ball has been in their court from the start. They're the
ones that got themselves all worked up over it. They're the ones
that can really show their moral conviction to this and sell off
their Arizona power and buy power on the market that's not
Arizonan. They can do that.)

Pierce's letter provoked an angry reaction from the mayor saying
his city will -- quote -- not respond to threats from a state
which has isolated itself from the America that values freedom,
liberty and basic civil rights. Pierce said he made no explicit
threat -- and repeated that the commission doesn't have the power
to throw L-A into the dark. But Kris Mayes who chairs the
commission said she understands why Villaraigosa responded in the
way he did to what her Republican colleague wrote.

(I think it's unclear exactly what he's suggesting. And I think
there's an implicit threat in this letter that is unfortunate and
not constructive for either of our states.)

And Mayes cautioned that picking a fight with California by
saying we supply them with electricity might not be such a great

(What's next? Is California going to tell Arizona they're not
going to send us any more gasoline on the Kinder Morgan pipeline?
I mean, this just sort of has the potential to escalate in a way
that is, you know, silly.)

For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.