Thursday, May 20, 2010

Arizona Utility Commissioner Attempts To Extort Los Angeles

In response to the Los Angeles City Council vote to boycott Arizona over the recently passed immigration bill, Gary Pierce, one of the commissioners of the Arizona Corporation Commission's utility regulation panel, has decided to threaten the city, using power as leverage.  Pierce, one of three Republicans of the five person board, had written a letter to the mayor of Los Angeles, threatening to renegotiate power agreements so that the city "no longer receives any power from Arizona-based generation."  Pierce continued, stating that he is "confident that Arizona’s utilities would be happy to take those electrons off your hands."

Here is the complete letter (copied from Hot Air):
Dear Mayor Villaraigosa,

I was dismayed to learn that the Los Angeles City Council voted to boycott Arizona and Arizona-based companies — a vote you strongly supported — to show opposition to SB 1070 (Support our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act).

You explained your support of the boycott as follows: “While we recognize that as neighbors, we share resources and ties with the State of Arizona that may be difficult to sever, our goal is not to hurt the local economy of Los Angeles, but to impact the economy of Arizona. Our intent is to use our dollars — or the withholding of our dollars — to send a message.”

I received your message; please receive mine. As a state-wide 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. In fact, approximately twenty-five percent of the electricity consumed in Los Angeles is generated by power plants in Arizona.

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.

People of goodwill can disagree over the merits of SB 1070. A state-wide economic boycott of Arizona is not a message sent in goodwill.


Commissioner Gary Pierce
What I thought was interesting was that Ed Morrisey of Hot Air suggested that Los Angeles Councilman Ed Reyes should learn California's own penal code before commenting on Arizona's, specifically referencing 834b in the California Penal Code, which reads that " Every law enforcement agency in California shall fully cooperate with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding any person who is arrested if he or she is suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws."

The comment was interesting because the Immigration and Naturalization Service no longer exists - it was broken up in 2003 and made part of three different agencies of the Department of Homeland Security.  Does this make that particular California law outdated? 

While I understand the argument Morrisey is making, he fails to understand the point of contention - while he references the California law to support Pierce's extortion threat, the portion of the California law Morrisey cites only pertains to a person once they are arrested.  The problem critics have with the Arizona law is that it allows law enforcement to try and determine immigration status where "reasonable suspicion exists."

Maybe Pierce wrote this letter because he is up for re-election, and like many conservatives, have decided to embrace a combative tone against critics, taking a page out of the Tea Party handbook.  Do the other commissioners believe in such heavy-handed poltical games? 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please share your thoughts and experiences in relation to this post. Remember to be respectful in your posting. Comments that that are deemed inappropriate will be deleted.