Arriving at the pork processing plant before dawn, I could see the lights flickering on the downtown Los Angeles skyline a few miles north. It was one of those heavy, dark mornings with a thick layer of sea that many of us in Southern California know to expect in summer.
I’m not new to the area, but new to The New York Times.Me participated in the paper Prior to that, I was a Colorado native and covered state politics and policy for The Denver Post, a newspaper I grew up reading.
Now, as an economic correspondent for The Times, based in Los Angeles, I travel around the West writing about this diverse and dynamic part of the country and its economic challenges.
So when I read the news that Smithfield Foods was closing its iconic meat processing plant in Vernon (an industrial city not far from downtown Los Angeles), leaving about 1,800 people out of work, I had two questions. I have returned to many times. what about the workers?
Today I published an article capturing the controversy surrounding the closing and who should be held responsible — the company or California?
Smithfield officials told me the rising costs of doing business in California led to their decision. , pointing out that the state remains the country’s tech capital, saying the controversy does not align with reality.
Associated with the Farmer John brand, the Smithfield factory dates back to 1931 and is known for its massive murals depicting pastoral countryside far from Vernon’s concrete corridors. For decades Farmer John has produced the widely known Dodger Dog.
Over 80% of the factory’s workforce is Latino, immigrants and first-generation native borns. Most are over the age of 50.
Outside, we visited Teresa Robles, 57, who has been working here since 2018.
She knows the factory’s history, and when whispers began in early June that it would close, she was immediately concerned. I wondered if I could find a job with comparable wages.
“They’re kicking us out without answering,” Robles told me through tears.
The factory is scheduled to close early next year. The union says it is trying to find new jobs for its members and a buyer for the factory. Watch what happens in the future.
Curtis Lee is an economics correspondent for The Times based in Los Angeles.
Today’s travel tip comes from Steve Mullen, who recommends classic Los Angeles drives.
“If you want great ocean views, drive south from Santa Monica, and when you get to the hills leading to the Palisades, you’re obligated to rubber-neck the right side of your car for great views of the Southern California coastline. Looking north from the Palisades, the beaches of Redondo, Hermosa, Manhattan and Venice/Santa Monica are all visible at the edge of a crescent of sand that cuts off the Pacific Ocean.This is California’s Gold Coast, surf, beach. Barbecue, where the Beach Boys came from.”
What is your favorite place in California? Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We will share more information in future editions of the newsletter.
And some good news before you go
A lucky Californian literally won the lottery.
Mega Millions tickets worth $4.2 million sold at Vons in northeast Fresno. ABC 30 report. It was the only California ticket to match all five numbers drawn on Friday. (However, it was no match for the $1.28 billion Mega Ball.)
thank you for reading. I will be back tomorrow.
PS here mini crossword of the dayand a clue: Cancer’s animal symbol (4 letters).
Soumya Karlamangla, Briana Scalia, and Jack Kramer contributed to California Today.You can reach the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.
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