North Dallas state Representative Jason Villalba has been taking a certain amount of heat lately for courting the California hot-sauce-maker, Huy Fong Food Plants, trying to sell them on the idea of relocating to North Texas in order to escape local environmental complaints in the company's hometown of Irwindale, California. I think he's on to something.
Villalba's no fool. He knows the makers of Sriracha, a popular chili sauce, are using his interest in getting them to come to Texas as leverage in their fight with pissy local complainers. Apparently people in Irwindale think the chili plant makes the whole town stink like hot sauce. Villalba is telling them people in Texas think hot sauce smells good. If they move here, nobody will care.
Whether they are using his interest as leverage or not, he says courting this big food processor is an opportunity for Texas to hawk its virtues as a pro-business state where people aren't a bunchy of pissants. That's where I think he's on to something, and the possibilities are endless.
The Monroe County Sherer power plant in central Georgia, for example, has been taking way more heat than the chili factory since a number of research groups named it as the single worst air polluter in America. Pissants at the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, at Environment America and at the Environment Georgia Research and Policy Center have been using a bunch of science to rag on the plant and its owners as the single most toxic entity in the nation. If Villalba can't get the chili plant, he should definitely think about courting this one. It's huge!
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And, look, maybe you think we're getting a little big for our britches believing we could actually lure the single biggest polluter in North America to come here. Fine. There are plenty of smaller dead fish in the sea. Right now in Russell Springs, Kentucky, a bunch of pissants are picking on a rendering plant that they say makes the whole town reek of dead dogs. I don't know how many jobs are involved, but if Villalba could land that one and bring it home to North Dallas, it would be a huge symbolic slap in the face for the pissants.
What really counts is what it says about North Texas: "Lead Pollution? So what? Earthquakes? Don't even notice. Whole town smells like a dead dog? What's your problem?" Maybe somebody could boil that down and put it on some billboards in his North Dallas district.
Right now, speaking of dead dogs, Olympic sailors trying to train for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio are getting all hissy because they say the water of Guanabara Bay reeks of raw sewage and is full of floating garbage, mattresses, tires and dead dogs. Look, whenever Villalba sees the pissants closing in on somebody like that, he and his crew should jump on a plane, go down there and court the whole city: "Tired of having The New York Times give you grief about a couple dead dogs? Come to North Dallas. You'll be treated like kings."
Villalba is right. The future is bright.