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The fight over Arizona's illegal immigrant law escalates to the power grid

May 19, 2010 |  6:10 am

PowerLine2

According to late-night comedian Jay Leno, the escalating war of boycotts and buycotts over Arizona's strict new illegal immigrant law has gotten so serious that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has even sworn off romantic affairs with Arizona TV news anchors.

Polls show a substantial majority of Arizonans and Americans are good with at least a trial effort of the measure, known as S.B. 1070, that allows police to check for immigration status, seeking to nab thousands of illegals crossing into the state because the federal government has not secured the border with Mexico. (See Related Items below for other recent stories, including the actual law's full text.)

But President Obama, his Cabinet and other nongovernmental groups have strongly criticized the law, which takes effect in midsummer.They've threatened economic boycotts and canceled trips and ...

... conventions while the law's supporters are vowing to boycott the boycotters and buy even more Arizona products and travel there.

The Los Angeles City Council voted 13-2 to boycott Arizona, although what exactly L.A. council members would be doing at a Diamondbacks game might require explanation to Dodger fans back home -- or spouses.

Now comes some hardball from a statewide elected Arizonan named Gary Pierce. He's a commissioner of the Arizona Corporation Commission, which regulates utilities there.

So what? you say.

Well, as our beloved buddy Ed Morrissey points out over at HotAir, it seems that Arizona's power plants generate about 25% of the electricity that runs what Briton Eddie Izzard calls the City of Angles.

In a delightfully stern letter written for the desert home front, possibly indicating Mr. Pierce's higher political ambitions, the commissioner warns Villaraigosa of the retaliation consequences of an LA city boycott.

Pierce writes:

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 statewide economic boycott of Arizona is not a message sent in goodwill.

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.

Somehow that seems just about right.

Related items:

Obama folks having real t-r-o-u-b-l-e reading Ariona's new i-l-l-e-g-a-l immigrant l-a-w

A California mayor wants to hang out the illegal immigrants Unwelcome sign

Support broadens among Americans for Arizona's illegal immigrant law

See for yourself: Complete text of the Arizona law and Executive Order

Forget Obama, Arizonans like their new law

Arizona Gov. Brewer explains signing nation's toughest immigration bill

So what does the new Arizona law actually do?

-- Andrew Malcolm

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