Will Arizona Turn the Lights Out In L.A. Over Immigration Law Boycott?

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 19, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight: If you live in Los Angeles, you better run out right now and get some batteries because it could be lights out for you! As you know, the Los Angeles City Council passed a resolution boycotting the state of Arizona. Well, now, in a letter to LA's mayor, an Arizona utility commissioner is slamming LA right back!

Commissioner Gary Pierce joins us. He is a member of the Arizona Corporation Commission. Good evening, sir. And I have a copy of the letter that you have fired off to the mayor of Los Angeles. But tell us in your words, what does this letter say?

GARY PIERCE, ARIZONA CORPORATION COMMISSION: Well, I want to welcome to you Tucson, Arizona, where I am tonight. But the letter is really a call to the city council and to mayor -- and to the mayor to think through this situation. Certainly, the Arizona Corporation Commission doesn't have the power to eliminate their -- their -- they own power here and generate it here in Arizona. But if they're -- want to be true to their beliefs, then they ought to sell off that power and go buy their power somewhere else.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, what I have learned in the last few hours is that Arizona supplies 24 percent, approximately, of the electricity in Los Angeles. And here's what you write in your note. You say, "I received your message" -- meaning about the boycott -- "please receive mine. As a statewide elected member of the Arizona Corporation Commission overseeing Arizona's electric and water utilities, I, too, am keenly aware of the resources and ties we share with the city of Los Angeles. In fact, approximately 25 percent of the electricity consumed in Los Angeles is generated by power plants in Arizona. If an economic boycott is truly what you desire, I'll be happy to encourage Arizona utilities to renegotiate your power agreements so Los Angeles no longer receives any power from Arizona-based generation."

That certainly sounds like fighting words. That basically says, "You boycott us, we're going to do everything we can to boycott you, including, you know, essentially, pull the plug on your power."

PIERCE: Well, I don't know if I'd characterize it that way, Greta. The point is, is I don't believe boycotts are useful at all with your neighbors. It's not like we're Cuba and that at some point you're going to feel this -- think this is going away.

The reality is, if they're going to boycott us, how long does that last? Arizona's not going to change their mind. We have a little character here. We obey laws. And so it's up to the city council there to recognize that if they have the courage of their conviction, they will decide, You know what? We want to get rid of all business with Arizona, and so we're going to take ourselves out of the game with our energy. We'll sell it off to somebody else and we'll buy our power outside of Arizona.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are the words, then, in this letter not serious words but just simply fighting words and meant to jab Los Angeles a little bit? Or are you dead serious that if...

PIERCE: Well...

VAN SUSTEREN: ... if Los Angeles continues to boycott Arizona, you know, you will encourage activity on the -- a reverse activity in some way?

PIERCE: Well, the point is, it points out their hypocrisy because I don't believe they're serious about weaning themselves off of all Arizona products that they can do, that they do have control over. So -- so they need -- they need to see if they truly have, like I said, the courage of their conviction to do it.

And if they do, fine. If they don't, then what they need to do is rethink this boycott because boycotts are serious, and I don't think you do that with a neighbor, particularly a neighbor that you intend to have good relationships with in the future.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you going to do anything? Suppose -- suppose Los Angeles says, Yes, we're serious about this boycott. Are you going to do anything or are you just simply firing off a letter?

PIERCE: Oh, well, mind you, what I'd like to do is have -- is have Los Angeles enter into negotiations to sell off their power, if they're serious about it. If they're not serious about it, like I said, withdraw from the boycott. But we're precluded, Greta -- we're precluded from -- from turning off the lights in California. It's not something I can do if I wanted to.

VAN SUSTEREN: So if I understand, then, your intention is not really to do anything, but rather just to poke a stick in their eyes and saying, You're a little bit -- you're hypocrites because they're -- they're not -- there's no indication they're going to pull the boycott. There's certainly no indication they're going to renegotiate with the state of Arizona because they're under no legal obligation to do so. So basically, they look back at you and say, Well, tough luck, we're not going to do any of this. Then what do you do or not do?

PIERCE: Well, I think the point is then made that they're not serious about this, Greta. You know, that's -- that's the point, is if you're going to call a boycott and say, you know, We're going to not go to that store, and say, Oh, wait a minute, that's where I get my prescriptions, or that's -- I need to go in there and this now -- well, you know, come on, have a little courage. You know, that -- to me, it's just -- it's just grandstanding on their part. And that's what I think they're doing here, and it does us no good and it does the citizens of Los Angeles no good.

VAN SUSTEREN: Commissioner, thank you, sir.

PIERCE: Good to be with you.

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