Our opinion: What's up,

November 22, 2001

Tissue Corp.?

Calexico residents and employees of Calexico Tissue Corp. deserve to know what is going on at American Tissue Co.

The New York-based manufacturer of toilet paper, paper towels and napkins filed for bankruptcy Sept. 10. Since then the company has fired more than 1,000 New England employees, closed unprofitable subsidiaries and begun the slow process of reorganization.

We want to know what is going to happen to American Tissue's local subsidiary — the 400,000 square-foot Calexico Tissue Corp. on Portico Boulevard.

What has the company said so far?


Calls to the New York headquarters regarding the viability of the company's subsidiary here have been unreturned and numerous calls and a visit to the local plant were ignored by employees there.


What gives?

Calexico taxpayers, by way of the City Council, gave the New Yorkers a sweetheart of a financial deal when the company decided to invest here in 1998 and expand in 2000.

This is the thanks they get? No statement? Nothing? Do they not know or are they not telling?

It's rude and bad business, especially for a beleaguered company.

The City Council, seated as the city Redevelopment Agency board, loaned the company $900,000 to start its facility in 1998. Last year the council kicked in another $360,000 so the operations could be expanded. All totaled, that is more than $1 million for what is now a cold shoulder and a zipped lip.

That beige and green Calexico Tissue Corp. facility is a monument to this city's largesse and desire for economic growth. Not as big a monument as the Calexico 10 Theaters or Wal-Mart, but we digress.

We want to know when the Calexico RDA will be paid what it is owed. We want to know if Calexico Tissue Corp. will continue to employ the same number of people it has employed.

We want to know sooner rather than later. Calexico taxpayers paid for some common courtesy.

Since Calexico Tissue Corp. has repaid the initial $900,000 loan and added to Calexico's economic development we hope that the facility on Portico Boulevard will remain open and continue to provide jobs to residents of Mexicali and Calexico. Those employees spend money in Calexico and beyond and the facility contributes cash to the property tax base. We would hate to see the good-looking place shuttered after such a promising start.

City Attorney Michael Rood has heard from his sources that the outlook for the subsidiary here looks positive but he has not been sent any specific information to that effect from American Tissue.

"I don't think we even have a notice of bankruptcy from them," he said.

Rood said the city might be able to recoup the money it's owed. That's a big, hundreds of thousands of dollars "might" for the city of Calexico.

The residents here and your employees deserve better than "might," American Tissue.

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles