May 19, 2010

City after city is taking LA's lead on boycotting Arizona because of their draconian immigration law, so it was time for the xenophobes to respond.

An Arizona utility commissioner said he's willing to pull the plug on Los Angeles if the city goes through with a boycott of his state. In a letter to the city of LA, a member of Arizona's power commission said he would ask Arizona utility companies to cut off the power supply to Los Angeles. LA gets about 25 percent of its power from Arizona. "That is one commissioner who has that idea -- whether he can do that or not is another idea," said LA Councilman Dennis Zine. "They are the ones who have to make the move, not us." The commissioner's power grid play is in response to the city's approval of a resolution directing city staff to consider which contracts with Arizona can be terminated.

Here's part Arizona Corporation Commission member Gary Pierce's letter to the mayor:

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. 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.


Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is in Washington D.C., meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, but his deputy chief of staff issued the following statement: "The mayor stands strongly behind the city council and he will not respond to threats from the state that has isolated itself from an America that values freedom, liberty and basic civil rights."

Councilmember Tom LaBonge said he'd like to talk with Pierce. LaBonge said the city needs to look into its long standing utility agreements with Arizona.

LaBonge met Wednesday morning with LA Department of Water and Power officials.

"We have right of ownership of the power plants," LaBonge told NBCLA. "We partially own them."

Other California cities, including Oakland and San Francisco, have passed similar measures.

On Tuesday, Berkeley became the latest California city to boycott Arizona. The City Council voted unanimously to restrict staff from traveling to the state on city business.

There is no "Power Play," really, because after reading the letter from Commissioner Pierce, he's talking about renegotiating power agreements and not just shutting off those electrons. The letter is a PR ploy. Does Arizona want to lose even more valuable revenue since they've lost so much business already because of SB 1070? And if they really could cut off the sales, and yet didn't have a buyer, it would fall into that old "who would they sell it to" mode. That's called "cutting off your nose to spite your face."

Meanwhile, Gov. Brewer is in serious panic mode and transfered 250K from her Dept. of Commerce to Arizona's Office of Tourism to try and rebrand the state's image.

Acknowledging that Arizona has developed a serious image problem because of its tough new immigration law, Gov. Jan Brewer and tourism-industry leaders said Thursday that they will launch a new effort to stanch the flow of lost trade and convention business in the state.

The legislation and firestorm of negative publicity that followed brought calls for boycotts, moved groups to back out of local conventions and led several cities to cut business ties with Arizona companies.

The loss of business is critical in a recession-battered state vitally dependent on visitor spending.

"It's up to us to get the truth out there. This is impacting Arizona's face to the nation," said Brewer, who blamed the controversy on misconceptions about the law.

A new task force is charged with rebranding and repositioning the state as a unique destination spot.

That is sure to be a tough task after weeks of talk-show comedians, celebrities, politicians and others making Arizona a punch line, calling the law racist and drawing comparisons to fascism and Nazi Germany.

Senate Bill 1070, which Brewer signed April 23 and which takes effect in late July, requires police to ask a person about his or her immigration status if there is "reasonable suspicion" the person is in the country illegally. Being in the country illegally will be a state crime under the law.

One of the task force's first goals will be trying to stop the trend of boycotts, officials said.

An early plan for how to do that is due in about a month.

"The end goal is to reassert that we are a safe, inviting, diverse and culturally aware community," said Steve Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Steve Moore meant to say that Arizona is safe for the Pat Buchanan's of America. - Live Donations Tracking for Donation - Make a Donation to Donation

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