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May. 19 2010 - 12:27 pm | 445 views | 0 recommendations | 6 comments

Arizona threatens to cut power to Los Angeles

I’m not a fan of SB-1070, Arizona’s new immigration law. I think it is bad for the economy, bad for civil liberties, and a drain on important law enforcement resources and capabilities. It’s the wrong approach to the immigration problem, and I hope we can find better ways to address both immigration and the war on drugs.

All that being said, I think boycotts of Arizona are misguided and will inevitably end up hurting the poor and working class the most, including immigrants both legal and illegal. Recently, the Los Angeles city council voted on just such a boycott.

Now Gary Pierce, a commissioner on the Arizona Corporation Commission, has written a letter to Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa, saying that if L.A. continues its boycott, Arizona will stop providing Los Angeles with power from its power plants. You can read the whole letter here.

I think this is an appropriate response. Arizona’s law may be wrong-headed, but who are the LA City Council to determine that or to impose economic sanctions on Arizonans?  We already know that sanctions (i.e. official boycotts) hurt the most vulnerable. This happens overseas when our government or the UN places sanctions on so-called “rogue” states like Iran or previously Iraq. The poor and the vulnerable suffer the most.

I’m all for cutting off L.A.’s power. It’s not only just desserts, it’s good for the environment, too.

Next up: water rights! The Colorado River passes through Arizona on its way to California, after all….


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  1. collapse expand

    Well–hold on just a second. “Who are the L.A. City Council to determine” that the Az law is wrong-headed? Matters of civil and human rights, racism, and laws that run contrary to our US constitution (as this one may) are EVERYONE’S business. Officials in Arizona are acting like immature teenagers who can’t admit they acted in a wrong-headed manner and redeem themselves by undoing the act. Instead, they are entrenching deeper into their misguided and fear-driven racist position.

    This is an issue for the entire country. It’s about who we are and what we really stand for. Do you think any other state should have made a stink about slavery in the South? Arizona has a recent history of civil rights abuses which have not been limited to just the undocumented Latino population! it’s time for the siblings of this bad boy state to set their nasty brother straight.

    Beyond that–I’m no public utilities lawyer, but I believe that LA has some ownership rights in the Az utilities, as well as contracts which probably cannot be instantaneously re-negotiated. Arizona would be cutting off it’s nose tom spite its face and costing itself even more.

  2. collapse expand

    Who was the Federal Government to oppose Jim Crow laws and break up segregation?

  3. collapse expand

    SB-1070 is a bad law, and I don’t believe the AZ legislature when they insist that it isn’t a racially biased law. Mexican-Americans are rightly furious over it, and that community is much more powerful in LA than AZ. That being said, no American municipality has any business enacting sanctions on any other municipality, because of things exactly like this. We are too interconnected to tolerate feuds like this because of the damage communities could do to each other- not to mention third parties (& fourth, & fifth, etc.) LA hits AZ. AZ hits LA back. What next? CA hits AZ, in defense of it’s largest city? Will they end up trying to seal the borders? When we can’t even seal our national borders? And what about NM? Will they open an Eastern Front? Enough already- soon enough the Courts will settle this when they declare the law unconstitutional. The Tea Partiers will get to gripe about “activist judges”, which should make them happy- judging from the history of Tea Party activism during the Bush administration, they’re happier not getting what they want and griping about it, than they are when they actually get what they want.

    Boycotts should be the province of private entities- businesses, organizations, and individuals. Me, I’m passing on that Arizona vacation this year, even though I hear that Phoenix is nice in Summer. Maybe, I’ll go to New Mexico, try the Journada del Muerte instead.

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