Earlier this month, the city of Irwindale, California ruled that the local Huy Fong Foods Sriracha factory is a public nuisance. Now, California Republicans are pledging to "Stand with Sriracha" against Big Government — and people with nosebleeds allegedly caused by the hot sauce smell.
The Republican Party of Los Angeles County is attempting to override Irwindale's ruling. RPLAC issued a resolution on Sunday claiming that the factory is not a public nuisance but a vital part of the local economy. The resolution reads: "The Republican Party stands with Sriracha and supports Huy Fong Foods as it continues to grow, create jobs and to bolster the local economy."
Residents of Irwindale, however, say the chile smell emanating from the factory is giving them sore throats and nosebleeds. The city sued Huy Fong Foods last year, and owner David Tran was forced to shut down part of his factory in November. Now that the factory has officially been ruled a public nuisance, he has less than 90 days to deal with the smell or close down.
To the GOP, the plight of Huy Fong Foods is about more than jobs and local economic growth. The story of Sriracha is "the epitome of the American Dream." In an op-ed for the Pasadena Star-News, Frank C. Giradot writes,
Reflect upon it. A niche ethnic product has become indispensable in American kitchens serving cuisines that range from the exotic — think about your local sushi bar’s Godzilla Roll (Dai Shogun in Glendora has the best) to the mundane (Spam) or even ordinary dishes like mac and cheese, which was probably brought to American kitchens by Northern European immigrants in colonial days.
Makes that whole melting pot thing seem all the more real, doesn’t it?
Emphasis added. The rise of Sriracha proves true what you learned in 4th grade civics: in America, all different people of all different backgrounds can blend seamlessly together in a delicious, spicy stew.
And who wants to ruin that Sriracha-infused broth? Certainly not Republicans, who have struggled for years to convince more conservative members to reform the immigration system. It's the Big Government Democrats who want to shut down Huy Fong Foods ruin Tran's American Dream. At least, that's what GOP gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari is running on:
The story of Sriracha has even inspired Republicans across state lines. Texas State Rep. Jason Villalba sent Tran a letter earlier this month, inviting him to move Huy Fong Foods to Texas.
As a public official and a corporate attorney for small businesses, I am extremely troubled by excessive government interference in the operations of private, job-creating businesses like Huy Fong Foods.
The great state of Texas would welcome you and your employees with open arms if you would consider moving... Texas could provide you with exactly what you need to continue to grow, build and maximize the opportunities of Huy Fong Foods.
Tran is at least considering moving his factory to a different city in California. He told Frank Shyong at the Los Angeles Times, "I don't want to sit here and wait to die."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.