Arizona threatens Los Angeles with power cut over boycott

08:00, May 20, 2010      

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A top official in the U.S. state of Arizona in charge of utilities has threatened to cut off power it supplies to Los Angeles if the city fails to reconsider its decision which was reached last week to boycott the state over its controversial new immigration law, reported on Wednesday.

"Doggone it -- if you're going to boycott this candy store ... then don't come in for any of it," Gary Pierce, a commissioner on the five-member Arizona Corporation Commission, wrote in a letter dated Tuesday and addressed to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Pierce threatened to cut the power Arizona supplies to Los Angeles if Villaraigosa refuses to think over the decision over boycott of the Grand Canyon State. "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," he said.

Twenty-five percent of the city's electricity comes from Arizona power plants, Pierce said, warning that Arizona companies are willing and ready to fight boycott with boycott, reported.

Pierce said that he was speaking for himself, not the entire commission, though he has the support of at least one other member.

On April 23, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed an immigration measure into law, making it a state crime to be in the country illegally and requiring local police to enforce federal immigration laws. This was considered to be among the toughest measures in the United States and kicked off strong backlash from across the country.

The controversial law, which goes into effect at the end of July, requires anyone whom police suspect of being in the country illegally to produce "an alien registration document," such as a green card, or other proof of citizenship including a passport or Arizona driver's license.

Opponents fear the law will bring about racial profiling and civil rights abuse. Several civil rights organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal class-action suit on Monday in an attempt to halt the law. This is at least the fourth lawsuit filed in connection with the controversial law.

The Los Angeles City Council voted 13-1 last Wednesday to ban future business with Arizona. The boycott includes suspending all travel to Arizona for city business, and refraining from entering into contracts with companies headquartered in Arizona when legally and fiscally possible.

The council also called for a review of all existing city contracts with Arizona-based companies to see which can be terminated immediately. It also directed the City Attorney to prepare an ordinance that would require the city to contract only with businesses that are not based in Arizona.

The boycott would involve 56 million dollars in Arizona-related investment. Los Angeles is among the first cities in the nation to initiate a boycott against Arizona. Other cities are considering similar measures.

Villaraigosa on his part also threw his support behind the boycott, noting that a boycott can be effective in pushing Arizona to rescind the law.



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