This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 11, 2020: 

Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk threatened to move his manufacturing facility located in Fremont, California, in response to the county’s demand that it stay closed. Musk and his people had been working with health officials of Alameda County (where the plant is located) to open safely and soon.

The company said it had worked out a thorough “return to work” plan that included online video training for personnel, work zone partitions, temperature screening for all employees, protocols for protective equipment, and rigorous cleaning and disinfecting before and after each shift.

When California Governor Gavin Newsom opened the door slightly on Thursday allowing similar businesses to return to work on Thursday, Musk tweeted to his 10,000-plus workforce to expect to return to work on Friday. When Alameda County health officials overrode Newsom and commanded that Musk’s plant remained closed, Musk blew up.

He tweeted:

Tesla is filing a lawsuit against Alameda County immediately. The unelected & ignorant “interim Health Officer” of Alameda is acting contrary to the Governor, the President, our Constitutional freedoms & just plain common sense.

 

Frankly, this is the final straw. Tesla will now move its HQ [in Palo Alto] to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependent on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA….

 

Tesla knows far more about what needs to be done to be safe through our Tesla China factory experience than an unelected interim junior official.

Whether the outburst from the irascible and unpredictable Musk is just for show — to bring pressure on Alameda officials to allow him to open the plant — or real, remains to be seen. Perhaps he is taking a page out of the president’s Art of the Deal: offer to walk away in order to bring the opposition back to the negotiating table.

It might be working. On Saturday Alameda officials said that they were communicating with Tesla’s “team,” claiming that it was a “good faith effort to develop and implement a safety plan that allows for reopening while protecting the health and well-being of thousands of employees who travel to and from work at Tesla’s factory.”

Those officials are also interested in “protecting” the enormous tax revenue stream that has flowed from the plant ever since it was built. The company employs more than 10,000 workers there, with wages approaching $100,000 a year. Last year workers built more than 500,000 Tesla Model 3s there. The ripple effect reaches an estimated additional 25,000 people working in support positions.

The move, if it happened, would be immensely costly and disruptive. According to estimates it could take between 12 and 18 months to make such a move. How much easier and cheaper and less disruptive to come to acceptable terms with those “interim” officials?

A local Democrat isn’t making coming to an agreement any easier. When California state Representative Lorena Gonzalez, a Democrat, learned about Musk’s threat, she tweeted “F*ck Elon Musk.”

This galvanized Musk supporters to call out Gonzalez for her intemperate and obscene remark:

Tesla employs over 37,000 Californians. What you’re actually saying is “F*ck 37,000 people and their families”;

 

Average Tesla Motors Salary $94k … of the largest manufacturing employers in California … more than 10,000 employees at Fremont factory … a responsible CA Leg[islator] would be working with Tesla to stay in California;

 

Those workers pay good amount in taxes;

 

Keep that up [and] every entrepreneur will leave CA;

 

Entrepreneurs, for all their faults, build the companies that put gas in your car, food on your shelves, and iPhones in your pocket. If you don’t want more Elons in California then maybe it’s YOU who should leave California, rather than the other way around;

 

and

 

You might just be the most short-sighted, petty, vindictive, selfish, destructive, proof-that-progressivism-is-evil lawmaker in the country.

Never was the case for private capitalism made more eloquently.

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