Friday, December 19, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Texas delegation woos Sriracha maker

By David Hendricks
San Antonio Express-News

A tug-of-war over the future production of the widely popular Sriracha pepper sauce intensified Monday as a Texas delegation toured the embattled California plant of the best-known maker with promises to help if the company decides to expand to a Texas location.

No decision on a relocation or expansion was made Monday as the delegation led by state Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, visited the Huy Fong Foods Inc. plant in Irwindale, California, and conducted a meeting that went well beyond its scheduled ending time.

But the Texas delegation invited Huy Fong Foods CEO David Tran to visit Texas, which he said is a possibility after the pepper-growing season ends this summer in California, according to one delegation member, state Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio.

San Antonio is considered a logical location for a Sriracha production plant because a key ingredient — red jalapeño chili peppers — can be grown in the area.

Huy Fong Foods has been under a court order since November to curtail production after nearby residents complained of offensive odors from the plant.

The Irwindale City Council is scheduled Wednesday to give final approval to an ordinance declaring the plant a public nuisance, although city staff members have asked that the vote be delayed. If the ordinance is approved, city officials say they could enter the plant and make changes to mitigate the smell, according to the Associated Press.

“I don’t think they can do that,” a defiant Tran told the Associated Press. He added that he doesn’t plan to attend Wednesday’s council meeting or cooperate with the city any further.

Tran’s “last resort is to move to another state,” state Rep. Hubert Vo, D-Houston, a member of the nicknamed Texas “Sriracha Delegation,” said in a telephone interview from Irwindale. “He wants to do everything first in California, to do his best to get everything resolved . . . His whole investment is here.”

Vo said Tran is keeping open the possibility of continued operation of his California plant and expanding with a second plant elsewhere.

Both Tran and Vo are Vietnamese, and the two discussed the matter Monday while speaking in Vietnamese.

“We ran away from the communists in Vietnam. Today, we don’t want to run away anymore,” Vo quoted Tran as saying.

Among Tran’s concerns are his workers.

“Tran kept saying, ‘What about my workers?’ — and I assume that meant his growers, too,” Uresti said.

The existing Huy Fong Foods plant employs about 200 people, not counting the growers who supply the plant with chili peppers. The Irwindale plant is reported to have sold 20 million bottles of its sauce in 2012.

“It’s a fascinating company. You have to step back and scratch your head and wonder why his company is being treated the way it is” by Irwindale city officials, Uresti said after the tour and meeting.

The “Sriracha Delegation” visit attracted a large number of news reporters, Uresti said.

“There are a lot of issues at play,” Uresti said, describing how Tran, an American success story who left Vietnam with almost nothing sees his successful company threatened by a small number of councilmembers, even though the company provides vital tax revenues to the city.

“Also, there’s the Texas vs. California issue,” Uresti said, a matter that was heightened recently by Toyota Motor Corp.’s decision to move 4,000 administrative workers from California to Plano.

On May 1, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, put out a Twitter post that read: “Dear Sriracha, Toyota recently announced a move to the Lone Star State — join the GTT (Gone to Texas) movement!”

“The purpose of the delegation visit was to meet and greet, to introduce ourselves. We were here to further the discussion,” Uresti said. “I thought we did a good job of promoting Texas . . . It’s in a central location and has a good workforce.”

No specific incentives were offered to Huy Fong Foods, although a cash incentive from the Texas Enterprise Fund operated by Gov. Rick Perry’s office, “is open to discussion,” Uresti said.

As for San Antonio, local incentives have not been offered at this point. If negotiations started, incentives would depend on the number of jobs, wage levels and the amount of investment, said San Antonio Economic Development Foundation President Mario Hernandez.

Favoring San Antonio is its existing food-processing companies and being the headquarters city of H-E-B, a Huy Fong Foods customer, Hernandez said.

“We are trying to assert ourselves,” Hernandez said. “If the company has enough organic growth to expand, we hope it would give San Antonio a chance.”

Comments

comments

New York Times News Service

.

News

There’s a plate for you at the Davis Holiday Meal

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
UCD, UC team up to study effects of climate change

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Teens’ goal? Helping other soccer players around the world

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Police seek suspect in hit-and-run collision

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

Help sought in search for runaway Davis teen

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Feds release ‘framework’ to rate colleges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Gunfire leads to DUI arrest

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Creative women share food, friendship

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Konditorei presents free holiday concert

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Welcome 2015 with Mumbo Gumbo at a gala bash

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Luminaria display planned in West Davis

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Sierra Club calendars on sale Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Blue Christmas service planned at Davis churches

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Willett bench is a labor of love

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A4

 
Author! Author! UCD hosts talks, Q and A on Asia-focused books

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Libraries will be closed around the holidays

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
See diving ducks at city wetlands tour

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Downtown gift cards get a new perk

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

Meditation, Buddhism classes offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
A home for the holidays?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Nobel Prize winner will discuss research related to autism

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Traditional carols service is Saturday at St. Martin’s

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Explorit: Experience nano this spring

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Soup’s On will benefit NAMI-Yolo

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Donate to STEAC at Original Steve’s

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Supplies collected for victims of abuse

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Grandmothers support group meets weekly

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
.

Forum

He needs them to pay up

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Cheers and Jeers: Have you ever seen the rain?

By Our View | From Page: A14

Defeating Ebola involves medicine, and prayers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14 | Gallery

 
Kudos to Central Park Gardens donors and volunteers

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A14

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A14

 
.

Sports

Cousins is back in lineup but Kings fall

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Devil boys hold off scrappy Rio Linda

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Lady Blue Devils rout an undefeated Liberty squad

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
UCD RB coach Wright heads to Florida; what next?

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

Aggies nab junior college defensive lineman

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Nostra-Dunning makes his college bowl picks

By Bob Dunning | From Page: B2

Tennyson’s first goal is the difference in Sharks win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
.

Features

Name droppers: Trio elected to academy of inventors

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
.

Arts

 
DMTC announces auditions for ‘Sweeney Todd’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

 
‘Before Midnight’ screening is tonight

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

DMTC plans New Year’s Eve party

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

 
Tom Rigney and Flambeau to play

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

 
.

Business

After 19 years, Alfa Romeo returns

By Ann M. Job | From Page: A16

 
.

Obituaries

Rena Sylvia Smilkstein

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
.

Comics