California Democrat Lorena Gonzalez tweeted "f**k Elon Musk" after the tech maverick announced on 8 May that he would move the Tesla HQ to Texas or Nevada following a decision by Alameda County Health Officer Erica Pan to ban the company from reopening its factory, despite California's governor lifting some coronavirus restrictions.
F*ck Elon Musk.— Lorena (@LorenaSGonzalez) May 10, 2020
Gonzalez’s post received almost 10,000 likes and was shared one 1,000 times, but drew mixed reactions from social media users. While others lamented Musk’s decision, which they said would put thousands of people out of work, others criticised the lawmaker for her strong language and noted that Tesla employees in California pay a good amount of taxes and that the state should have been helping the company, not picking fights with it. Some users accused Gonzalez and the state’s authorities of poor management, which they said made Musk decide to relocate.
On 9 May, Musk tweeted that Tesla had filed a lawsuit against Alameda County and would move its headquarters and future programmes to Texas or Nevada in response to the local health officer saying that Tesla's factory cannot resume work, as the restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus would be in place until 31 May. Musk claims her statement runs counter to California’s Governor Gavin Newsom, who allowed some businesses, including manufacturers, to reopen.
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!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2020
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
However, the governor's order doesn’t override decisions made by local officials. Musk has been critical of the lockdown measures and stay at home order, dubbing them fascist and called on the government to stop taking away people’s freedom.
It is unclear whether the tech and engineer maverick will keep to his promise, as experts have noted it would be costly to move Tesla’s HQ from Fremont, California to Texas or Nevada. The relocation would also take a lot of time, which during a global financial slowdown Tesla may not want to spend.