Bay Cities Nursery has closed its doors after 100+ years on the South Coast. What impact does that have on our little community? Good question. In conversation with Amy Wolliver* and Rita Mancera** here’s what I discovered:
The extended impact is substantial to not just the workers, of whom there were about 100 but to their families and relatives. The economic impact is imaginable to the town and landlords. With the unemployment numbers at record lows finding a replacement job is not the problem but keeping one’s children in school, at least to the end of the current year can be. The rent, utilities, insurance, food, etc. doesn’t just stop but continues loping along.
Amy says there’s no negative impact on the schools as revenue isn’t based on census, rather it’s fixed based on property owners’ taxes. Even if the family needs to move to HMB they may still finish their current year here in the LHPUSD. At least this keeps some consistency for the child and is comforting for them.
Rita notes that when a job is lost and one needs to find another, there’s a different limit on those un-documented. Word is the facility on the hill will be converted to cannabis growing. That herb is legal in California but is still classified illegal by the feds. Therefore, anyone undocumented can’t work there as they risk legal repercussions.
Bay Cities is certainly not the only farming operation on the coast to convert their flower growing business to another type of “flower.” These facilities also don’t require as many workers to produce their products. I guess these changes are inevitable as society continues to evolve. Where and how these changes come along are not predictable in many cases, but stopping them isn’t in the cards. It’s a case of living with and making the best of them.
*Amy Wolliver is Superintendent of the LHPUSD **Rita Mancera is Ex. Dir of Puente