HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KGO) -- We are learning more details about the living conditions for farmers at the California Terra Garden in Half Moon Bay, one of the farms where multiple farmworkers were killed in a mass shooting.
ABC7 News reporter Luz Pena spoke to a city official who inspected the grounds where the shooting took place on Thursday. He said the conditions are deplorable.
San Mateo County Supervisor Ray Muller inspected the mushroom farm off Highway 92 Thursday morning and confirmed the county will have to red tag every unit.
"No one is going back to live there," said Supervisor Mueller, adding, "Horrible. Horrific. Deplorable conditions. We saw what basically looked like sheds. Storage containers that people were living in. No insulation. No running water. Nowhere where you would want to prepare food."
On Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom said he was told about the "deplorable" living and working conditions of the farm workers at shooting site. Now his office is investigating, but the company that owns the farm said the governor's comments are inaccurate and the homes "are all equipped with kitchens, bathrooms and shower facilities in addition to standard living amenities."
According to the mushroom farm's team, eight families lived on the property, paying about $300 a month. They also confirmed that workers are still not back and the farm is not in operation at this time.
"They had porta potties for restrooms. They lived in trailers that were similar to camper style. It was muddy, rodents. Having to cook outside," said Dr. Belinda Hernandez Arriaga, founder and executive director of ALAS.
California Terra Garden has owned the mushroom farm since 2022 and says the state inspected the mobile homes.
"I would like to see those permits. Who reviewed those permits?" asked Joaquin Jimenez, vice-mayor of Half Moon Bay.
Half Moon Bay's vice-mayor has been to the facility multiple times and says the issue is widespread.
"This is not the only farm. There are other farms that have the same thing," said Jimenez.
In a statement, CAL Osha said in part:
"Cal/OSHA and the Labor Commissioner's Office are looking into potential labor and workplace safety and health violations for the worksites in Half Moon Bay where the mass shootings took place."
There's also concern on wages. The mushroom farm says they pay workers $16.50 to $24 an hour.
Felipa Carreto worked at the mushroom farm four years ago under a different ownership. She said she was paid $11 an hour.
"Seguro medico? Did they offer health insurance? No nothing. No insurance no vacation none of that," said Carreto.
San Mateo County is now considering taking further action.
"We are probably going to declare state of emergency, that is what I'm hoping for," said Supervisor Muller.
Read CA Terra Garden's full statement:
"To start, Governor Newsom's comments do not reflect the state of conditions or employee compensation at California Terra Garden.We have 8 families that reside on the property in County-inspected mobile homes and large recreational vehicles. They are all equipped with kitchens, bathrooms and shower facilities in addition to standard living amenities. Additional outside toilet and kitchen facilities exist to allow the families to host gatherings as most families like to do. No one lives in anything like shipping containers or tents as was erroneously reported. The families pay approximately $300 a month to rent these living spaces, well below market rate.Secondly, the salary of all employees range from $16.50 to $24. They also receive paid vacation days, company-sponsored health insurance, life/disability insurance, workman's compensation insurance, and access to a 401(k) plan.Our team members are like family to us. That is why we remain shocked and grief-stricken over the senseless loss of four of our employees and pray for our team member who remains in critical condition. Together, we are beginning the long healing process and offering grief counseling to our employees and their families. Their wellbeing is our top priority."
Read Cal/OSHA'sfull statement:
"Cal/OSHA and the Labor Commissioner's Office are looking into potential labor and workplace safety and health violations for the worksites in Half Moon Bay where the mass shootings took place. Both Cal/OSHA and the Labor Commissioner's Office want to ensure that employees are being afforded all the protections of California labor laws.In California, workers in agriculture and most other industries are protected by California's labor laws and workplace safety and health regulations, regardless of their immigration status. Within the Department of Industrial Relations, neither Cal/OSHA nor the Labor Commissioner's Office request or track workers' immigration status."
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