The High Five
7:31 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Texas Officials Will Visit California To Try To Lure Sriracha Hot Sauce Maker To Lone Star State

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Texas officials try to lure Sriracha out of California; early voting is underway; St. Vincent to appear on “Saturday Night Live;” and more:

State Rep. Jason Villalba has announced he’ll be leading a delegation from Texas to California to try to persuade the maker of Sriracha hot sauce to move its operations to the Lone Star State. On May 12, he’ll meet with the chief executive officer of Huy Fong Foods, Inc., the company that makes the hot sauce. Joining Villalba will be Todd Staples, the Texas agriculture commissioner. In January, Villalba, a Dallas County Republican who happens to be a huge fan of Sriracha, sent a letter to Huy Fong, extending an invitation to move to Texas. The California plant that makes the sauce produces a strong odor. Neighbors aren’t happy. Huy Fong had to shut down part of its operation after the city of Irwindale, Calif., filed suit. The matter attracted headlines nationwide. The Texas delegation will include officials with the Texas attorney general’s office and the state’s economic development and tourism office. Villalba said in a statement: “I am deeply troubled that one of the fastest growing and universally beloved condiments in the world – made right here in the USA – could face such blatant obstructionism by a local city government.” The owner hasn’t indicated that he’s seriously considering moving out of California, but told Forbes he was open to expanding is business due to growing sales. Villalba’s campaign includes a strong social media effort, including the Twitter hashtag #BringSriracha2TX. Here are some examples:

  • The University of North Texas may have misreported its finances by as much as $23 millionnews that generated headlines earlier this month. In an opinion piece, the student newspaper, the UNT Daily, tries to put it in context so the average college student can understand: How many $1.69 Doritos Locos Taco Supremes could you eat at Taco Bell with all that cash?Using UNT’s misplaced money, you could buy approximately 13,609,467 tacos — before taxes, of course.” And there’s more: “If you’re even hungrier, that amount would also buy 3,285,714 Chipotle burritos, or 1,916,666 buckets of chicken at KFC. If you cashed out the $23 million in $100 bills, you’d be carrying around 506 pounds of cash, which is the same weight of the average adult eastern lowland gorilla, the world’s largest living primate.”
  • Early voting starts Monday for the May 10 elections. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports: “More than 100 races throughout Tarrant County will be on the ballot, including a $292 million bond program for Fort Worth to improve everything from libraries and roads to parks and municipal courts and a $663.1 million bond package for the Arlington school district geared to boost fine arts, technology and transportation. There are contested council races throughout the county, such as the race in Fort Worth to choose a new council member for District 9, to replace the departing Joel Burns.” The Dallas Morning News reports that five candidates are competing to replace Carla Ranger on the Dallas ISD school board. Here’s a Dallas County sample ballot. As the Star-Telegram notes, Monday is also the last day to register to vote in the May 27 primary runoff election.
  • Is the end near for the art barn at the University of Texas at Dallas? Mark Lamster with The Dallas Morning News reports that administrators have initiated the process of closing down the barn, which opened in 1976: “UTD President David Daniel described the building as ‘near the end of its useful life.’ Current plans are to transform it into a storage center after the spring semester. … The Art Barn was designed by Lawrence Wood of the Dallas firm Fisher & Spillman. … With wide panels of vertical white siding, porthole windows on its southern flank, and a staggered profile to the north, it has a distinctive graphic profile amplified by the bright Texas sun.” Lamster also says that while Daniel is concerned about the building’s viability, many faculty, students and alumni are trying to save the building. They’re concerned about losing their principal gallery space. Lamster talked with Daniel, who “seemed to step back from the plan to decommission the building,” saying he hadn’t made a decision.
  • Lake Highlands native St. Vincent, aka Annie Clark, will be the musical guest on “Saturday Night Live.” She’ll appear on the May 17 show, the season finale, hosted by Andy Samberg. Catch up on her latest music here and here and here.