As my colleague Brandon Morse covered a few days ago, Elon Musk is not a believer in forced coronavirus quarantines. He called out bureaucrats/elected officials who think they can shut down the supply chain and the economy will survive.
So, officials in Alameda County, California, where Tesla’s factory is based, had fair warning that an extension of their “Stay Safer at Home” (LOL) order would not be well-received by Musk.
On Friday, the “unelected and ignorant ‘Interim Health Officer’ of Alameda” County extended that county’s shutdown through June 1st. The officer, Dr. Julie Pan, said in response to a question about Tesla during that press conference that the local order trumps the state order, and that facilities should “wait until we have another week or so under our belt to see what has happened after we did that first round of lifting restrictions.”
Pan’s edict came a day after Musk said that Tesla’s plant would reopen Friday afternoon due to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statement that manufacturing facilities could reopen, and that he personally would be on the line.
In light of Governor Gavin Newsom’s statement earlier today approving manufacturing in California, we will aim to restart production in Fremont tomorrow afternoon,’ Musk said Thursday.
‘I will be on the line personally helping wherever I can. However, if you feel uncomfortable coming back to work at this time, please do not feel obligated to do so.’
County orders can be more restrictive than the statewide order, but not less restrictive.
Saturday morning, Musk announced on Twitter that Tesla will be filing a lawsuit against Alameda County “immediately.”
Frankly, this is the final straw. Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependen on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2020
Not just that; Musk promised that Tesla would “move its headquarters and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately,” and would possibly even stop manufacturing activity at its Fremont factory.
That would be quite a hit not just for Alameda County (one of the poorer Bay Area counties) but for the state as a whole.
Some California politicians, notably Asm. Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher (D-Chula Vista), reacted terribly. Gonzalez-Fletcher is running for California Secretary of State in 2022, and if victorious she will be in charge of all business filings in the state (in addition to running elections, maintaining the “integrity” of the voter rolls, verifying signatures for proposed ballot initiatives, and more). One would think that someone in her position would use a little diplomacy when speaking about one of the state’s largest and most innovative businessmen.
However, we’re dealing with Lorena. The same woman who shouted “F*ck Trump!” at a rally when confronted by people who had been harmed by her anti-freelancing bill, tweeted “F*ck Elon Musk” when she heard of his plan.
F*ck Elon Musk.
— Lorena (@LorenaSGonzalez) May 10, 2020
Musk better watch it. Next thing he knows, Gonzalez-Fletcher will be calling him an “anti-vaxxer” or a “Russian bot,” two of her go-to dismissals of critics.
But it seems that Lorena, like her fellow California statists, believes that the state controls the corporations within its borders, that they exist at the whim of the state, and that they will pay whatever wages, penalties, fines, fees, etc., that the state deems necessary and proper.
She forgot that there are 49 other states clamoring for Musk’s business (and for the rest of the businesses in the state). In light of all of the high profile corporate exits from the state, Gonzalez-Fletcher and her Teamster buddies should be waking up, but here we are.
May Elon Musk and Tesla be victorious in their lawsuit. Working class Californians are depending on it.
(Edited at 11:30 a.m. May 10, 2020.)