Yesterday, Arizona Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce challenged the city of Los Angeles and its mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, to put their money where their mouths are by ending their purchases of electrical power generated in Arizona. In a letter exclusively provided to Hot Air, Pierce questioned how a city-wide boycott of Arizona would work while LA continues to light the city with Arizona electrons. In response, Villaraigosa bravely … ducked the question entirely:
Mayor 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.”
But Pierce wasn’t threatening anything. The ACC doesn’t have the authority to cut Los Angeles off from Arizona power, although it has enough influence with utilities in the state to have them rethinking their sales policy. Let’s remind everyone exactly what Pierce said:
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.
In other words, if LA wants to make a big PR splash with a “boycott,” then make it a real boycott. Don’t just talk tough, Mayor Villaraigosa — act tough, or be quiet. When the going gets tough in LA, apparently the tough … cry about getting threatened.
Andrew Malcolm also has some fun with the story:
So, the choice is clear. If L.A.’s Democrat pols follow through and stop buying turquoise jewelry and bolo ties from Arizona, the next-door Republican neighbors will arrange some uncomfortable brownouts during the coming warm days.
Yeah, it’s starting to look like the collective courage of LA’s political leadership amounts to little more than the bolo-tie and turquoise jewelry variety.
Let’s take a poll. What will LA do to actually boycott Arizona?
Addendum: My thanks to Andrew and NBC Los Angeles for actually crediting Hot Air with the story. Not every news outlet was as careful.