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Calif. City Takes Stand Against Illegal Immigration as Ariz. Boycott Battle Rages

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A demonstrator holds a sign during an immigration rally in Phoenix May 1. (Reuters Photo)

A California city mere miles from the metropolis that imposed a boycott on Arizona over its immigration law has just weighed in on the other side of the debate -- voting to declare itself a "Rule of Law City" where illegal immigrants are not welcome. 

The decision by the Costa Mesa City Council comes after the Los Angeles City Council voted last week to suspend official travel to Arizona and end future contracts with state businesses in protest of Arizona's immigration policy. That decision sparked a war of words between Los Angeles and Arizona officials, who this week warned the city their Arizona-based power supply could be at risk. 

Several other local governments across the country have proposed or implemented similar boycotts on Arizona since the law passed last month. But Costa Mesa's declaration puts it on the other side of the fence, as a counterweight to those jurisdictions that have declared themselves "sanctuary cities" for illegal immigrants. 

Mayor Allan Mansoor told Fox News on Thursday that the "Rule of Law" resolution should "set the tone" for tougher policies to come. As Arizona officers are now empowered to do, Mansoor said Costa Mesa law enforcement should be able to ask suspects for proof of legal residency. 

"It's the right thing to do," he said.

Los Angeles officials couldn't disagree more. They continued to stand by their Arizona boycott after a state utility official -- Arizona Corporation Commission member Gary Pierce -- on Tuesday warned that state power companies would be "happy" to stop sending electricity to Los Angeles if the city really wants to cut ties. Los Angeles gets about a quarter of its electricity from the state. 

But on Thursday, the Arizona official appeared to be turning down the voltage on his warning.

After intense media coverage and a fresh round of name-calling, Los Angeles and Arizona officials acknowledge that Arizona could not unilaterally sever those power contracts. 

Los Angeles has an ownership stake, albeit a small one, in two Arizona power plants -- one coal plant and one nuclear plant. 

Austin Beutner, general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, flaunted that detail in a statement Wednesday. 

"We are part owner of both power plants, which are generating assets of the department," he said. "As such, nothing in the city's resolution is inconsistent with our continuing to receive power from those ... assets." For good measure, the official urged convention organizers who are canceling their Arizona plans to consider the "City of Angels" as their convention destination. 

Pierce spokesman John LeSueur conceded that Los Angeles would have to volunteer to abandon those power contracts before the Arizona Corporation Commission could negotiate for other customers to take their place. 

"The ball is in L.A.'s court," he said. 

But LeSueur said the point his boss was trying to make is that Los Angeles benefits from Arizona and should be prepared to truly cut ties if it wants a genuine boycott. 

And he said Beutner's claim that Los Angeles is generating its own resources is bogus since the plants are still based in Arizona. 

"That's just a complete non sequitur," he said. "For him to suggest, 'because we own it we're not using Arizona resources,' just doesn't follow."