Elon Musk Makes One Request for New Texas Hometown

by Jennifer Shea

Elon Musk is moving Tesla’s headquarters from the Bay Area to Austin, Texas after a fight with local officials over the reopening of Tesla’s factory.

And on Sunday, Musk made one request of his new Texas hometown. “Austin should be its [own] city, not a San Francisco copycat,” Musk tweeted yesterday.

Elon Musk Got Into It with California Officials

Musk’s beef with local California officials goes back to earlier in the pandemic. In those days, lockdowns were commonplace and local pandemic restrictions prevented the swift reopening of Tesla’s Bay Area factory.

Last year, Musk reportedly went so far as to call California officials “fascist” in a public earnings call. He also dubbed the state’s shelter-in-place order “forcible imprisoning,” per the New York Post.

“It’s breaking people’s freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong and not why they came to America or built this country,” Musk said. “What the f—? Excuse me. Outrage.”

Musk also shared a YouTube video in which two California doctors argued against shelter-in-place orders. However, the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American Academy of Emergency Medicine both condemned it.

Officials maintained that their lockdowns were in the interests of public health. And they argued that since COVID-19 is a highly transmissible virus, it was necessary to make some adjustments to prevent millions of deaths.

But the spat then escalated after California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez responded to Musk’s social media complaints about Alameda County officials with a tweet that read: “F— Elon Musk.”

Musk’s reaction? “Message received.”

Now Tesla’s US car factory, which was located in the Alameda county city of Fremont, is moving to Texas. Musk no longer has to contend with Alameda County public health restrictions. And Gonzalez, who represents a district in southern San Diego, no longer has to watch California subsidize Tesla, which she had said it was doing in a subsequent tweet.

Musk’s Tweet Was His Reaction to Report on Austin’s Police Force

In the tweet about Austin, Musk seems to have been responding hopefully to a Fox News report. It detailed Austin’s effort to curb rising homicides by staffing up the city’s police force.

A new ballot measure up for consideration in tomorrow’s election would require two Austin police officers for every 1,000 residents and would give the officers 40 extra hours of training on how to handle violent suspects. That follows an Austin City Council vote to take as much as $150 million away from the police department.

Homicides are reportedly up 71 percent in Austin this year. San Francisco, meanwhile, elected a left-wing district attorney, Chesa Boudin, the son of Weather Underground radicals Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, who went to prison for murder when their son was quite young. And in the wake of Boudin’s election, the city has seen a wave of homicides, burglaries and fatal drug overdoses even higher than the norm for the city.

Musk is clearly hoping Austin will take a different path than San Francisco. But he may find his new home is plenty progressive in its own right.