“She even turned me down when I asked her to write about it for ! “She does this work because at this point in her life, it’s what she wants to do more than anything.” In a state of land grabs and Hollywood mythmaking, the Resnicks are well cast as the perfect protagonists.But is their philanthropy just a marketing ploy, or a sincere effort to reform California’s lowest-wage industry?“If you call yourself the Wonderful Company,” Lynda Resnick told me, “you’d better damn well be wonderful, right?” unset House, the Resnicks’ 25,000-square-foot Beaux Arts mansion, is imposing even by Beverly Hills standards.Its cavernous reception hall is bedecked with blown-glass chandeliers, its windows draped with Fortuny curtains, and its drawing room adorned with a life-size statue of Napoleon so heavy that the basement ceiling had to be reinforced to bear its weight.The Resnicks purchased and tore down three adjacent houses to make room for a 22-space parking lot and half an acre of lawn.
They were both there for a school board meeting, and the superintendent had failed to show up.
Visitors have included Hollywood A-listers like David Geffen, Steve Martin, and Warren Beatty—or writers like Thomas Friedman, Jared Diamond, and Joan Didion. “They are my rock stars.” A petite 72-year-old, Lynda has a coiffure of upswept ringlets and a coy smile.
In conversation, she reminded me of my own charming and crafty Jewish grandmother, a woman adept at calling bluffs at the poker table while bluffing you back.
“To my friend with the sweet voice,” she wrote inside Tijerina’s copy.
It was only later that Tijerina realized the woman owned the almond groves where Tijerina’s husband worked as a pruner.