UPDATE 1:45 PM May 11: Tesla has started building cars again against Alameda County orders. Already one worker has called into the local news affiliate to complain the company is not following health and safety guidelines for coronavirus.
For everything going right these days with Tesla its CEO and founder Elon Musk seems to only get madder with each day. This time it’s about his auto assembly plant in Fremont, California. It is currently closed due to the coronavirus crisis as are every other auto manufacturer’s plants. While most manufacturers in the state are slowly getting to open up their facilities the county of Alameda in Northern California where the Tesla plant is located wants to wait another week or so. Even the California governor Gavin Newsom has given the Tesla plant reopening his blessing. But the bureaucratic process starts and ends with the county. So Musk took to Twitter and within a few hours threatened to leave California, then to sue the state.
It should be fun being Elon Musk, but it appears as though it is not
It should be fun being Musk, but it appears as though it is not. Last week he even had a baby with partner Claire Boucher. But he has been particularly vocal about the coronavirus lockdown in general and his plant being closed in particular. It’s not helping that the health officer with the power to make the call he has tweeted is “unelected and ignorant.” To be clear she is a former infectious diseases professor with a Master’s degree in public health.
It should also be noted that the first COVID-19 death in the US happened in Santa Clara County which is where Tesla’s headquarters is located. And, it is also next to where the factory is situated. In spite of the proximity and optics, Musk has been especially vocal about the lockdown orders.
Now Tesla has filed a lawsuit against Alameda County
So now Tesla has filed a lawsuit against Alameda County. “I’m not messing around,” he tweeted. “Absurd and medically irrational behavior in violation of constitutional civil liberties, moreover by *unelected* county officials with no accountability, needs to stop.”
Many of the foreign-owned auto manufacturers have opened factories this week. The Detroit three plan on doing so May 18. While all of these manufacturers have followed state and county directives for closing and then opening their factories without pushback Musk has not. He has publicly attacked health officials and threatened states with shelter-in-place orders.
Musk says the closures are “fascist” and also unconstitutional
Industry, tech, and politicians on both sides of the debate have weighed in. Much of the debate falls along party lines. But none have gone as far as Musk. He says the closures are “fascist” and also unconstitutional.
The flare-up began with Musk announcing Tesla would start-up manufacturing last Friday. When he was told he’d have to wait the Tweets started to intensify. Now Musk is hinting he may disregard Alameda County’s power to keep Tesla shut down. He’s already tweeted that Tesla has “started the process of resuming operations.”
Several supervisors have already been called back to prepare for reopening. Leave it to Tesla to-good or bad, squeeze more media attention over when and how it will restart manufacturing. It’s all in a day’s work for Elon Musk.