Sriracha, Shade, and Other Cities: What's Ruining Our Cities This Week

It's time for another edition of What's Ruining Our Cities! This week: a factory that pepper-sprays its neighborhood, Canada's favorite crack-smoking mayor, dreary urban shadows, and rural towns banding together to secede from their big-city brethren.

Hot sauce is ruining Irwindale, California

Neighbors of the Irwindale Sriracha factory are complaining that the smell is making them suffer from watering eyes and burning throats. "It feels a little like pepper spray," says local resident Jesse Bracamontes, who adds that he likes Sriracha on his food—just not in his yard (or face). The city is demanding that the factory be shuttered until the problem can be fixed, but founder David Tran cautioned that a shutdown would have dire consequences for fans: "If the city shuts us down, the price of Sriracha will jump a lot." [Los Angeles Times]

Mayor Rob Ford is (still) ruining Toronto

Police say they have the infamous video that several prominent journalists have claimed shows Toronto's mayor smoking crack and making homophobic comments. The digital file was retrieved from a hard drive seized during an investigation of the mayor's driver for drug trafficking—got all that? "The file contains video images which appear to be those images which were previously reported in the press," says police chief Bill Blair. Pretty much everybody, ever—including all four of the city's newspapers—has called for Ford to step down. And yet. AND YET. He refuses to resign. [Toronto Sun]

Shadows are ruining Manhattan

Do we have a legal right to light? Supertall skyscrapers on the south end of Central Park will soon eclipse the usually sunny public space below with up to half a mile of shade, forcing New Yorkers to suffer in the artificially early darkness of Billionaire's Row. Other countries like Denmark and England have laws that guarantee a property's "ancient lights," protecting any building that has received natural light for 20 years. Is it time for New York to implement the same kind of protections? [Gizmodo]

Denver is ruining Northeastern Colorado

Citizens of 11 Colorado counties are voting on November 5 to create their own state because they don't feel fairly represented by the more liberal leaders in Denver. "We're rarely listened to when it comes to legislation," says Butch White, the mayor of Ault, Colorado. Similar movements are underway in Northern California and Western Maryland. The last time a state successfully seceded from another state was West Virginia, in 1863. [NPR]

Photo by Ted Eytan