Feature

Can Arizona black out Los Angeles?

Arizona officials have threatened to cut the city's electricity supply to protest L.A.'s economic boycott. Is this sensible — or even possible?

Los Angeles' proposed economic boycott of Arizona has provoked a tit-for-tat response from Arizona's state corporation commissioner Gary Pierce, who's threatened, in essence, to cut the power L.A. receives from the besieged state (25 percent of the city's needs). In a letter written to Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Pierce says: "If... 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." Is this really the best way to protest the boycott?

Arizona is cutting off its nose to spite its face: Clearly, Arizona's "megalomaniacal tendencies" extend beyond simple immigration policy, writes Alex Pareene at Salon. But Pierce's "attempted supervillainy" ignores the potential damage cutting off L.A.'s power could do to the state. If Arizona goes through with its threat, then L.A. could just take its business elsewhere, "thus hurting Arizona's economy."
"Arizona's blackout blackmail"

The state can't just switch off L.A.'s power: Pierce's plan isn't even "tenable," says Liz Goodwin at Yahoo News. According to APS, the energy company that owns the Arizona nuclear power station that provides the bulk of the disputed power, California "owns a stake in most of the Arizona-based plants that provide them with energy." Could Pierce really persuade them to cut off their own power? 
"Arizona official threatens to cut off electricity to L.A. in retaliation for boycott"

Pierce was just pointing out the idiocy of boycotts: If you actually read the letter, says Patrick O'Grady at Phoenix Business Journal, you'll see Pierce "never threatened to cut off the power." His point was that L.A. ought to look at "the larger issue of how interconnected Arizona and southern California are." He even acknowledges that "'goodwill' disagreements" about the bill exist — he just doesn't believe economic boycotts are the right way to dispute it.
"Boycotting power a little tough to do"

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