L.A. vs. Arizona, the Latest Uproars: Kobe's Wife, Mayor's Bet & Electricity
That protest at Monday night's Lakers game turned out like this: few protestors, lots of news cameras. Yet Los Angeles is still becoming somewhat of a focus for opposing the Arizona's controversial immigration law.
During that game against the Phoenix Suns, Kobe's Hispanic wife, Vanessa, wore a black t-shirt donning the words “Do I Look Illegal?” Coach Phil Jackson may have not wanted the team involved in politics -- let's just play ball! -- but Vanessa's act may have been just as poignant.
And it isn't over the Lakers. "Should the Suns prevail, we will humbly accept ownership of 'American's Toughest Sheriff,' Joe Arpaio, Sheriff of Maricopa County," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa proposed to Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon -- both oppose SB 1070, the law that requires law enforcement to check immigration status of people they suspect to be in the country illegally. "Perhaps a stint in Los Angeles would teach him that you cannot deduce immigration status simply by looking at a person."
"Should the Lakers be victorious," Villaraigosa contined, "we will deliver to you both Steve Poizner and Meg Whitman, Republican candidates for Governor of California, currently battling for supremacy on the issue of illegal immigration. Perhaps some time in Arizona would show them both that being governor isn't always all it's cracked up to be."
And now, one Arizona power official is livid that Los Angeles would boycott doing some business with their state. "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," wrote Arizona Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce to the Mayor in a letter obtained by LA Weekly. Pierce says L.A. gets 25% of its power Arizona. "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."
One major source of power, though, comes from the Navajo Generating Station where the LADWP has a 21% ownership stake in it. It's also located on sovereign land. And in any case, if Pierce were paying attention, the decision by L.A. City Council did not include water and power -- that's because they have no control over that aspect because the LADWP has its own board with authority. And in yesterday's meeting of that group, while they did approve a new water conservation law, their agenda carried no Arizona item.