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Mayor Price has a special message for Tesla’s Elon Musk: Fort Worth is NOW

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price has a message for an unhappy California resident.

“Hey @elonmusk Cali is so yesterday — #FortWorth is NOW. We have more available land than any other major city in #Texas. Our industry-leading @HillwoodDevelop  mobility and innovation zone was a leader at this year’s @CES,” Price said in a tweet.

The message wasn’t to just any Golden State resident. It was aimed at Tesal leader Elon Musk who is currently embroiled in a dustup with California officials.

Price’s tweet is a sly reference to Fort Worth NOW, the task force the city has set up to rev up economic development. She also notes Fort Worth large amount of available and for development as well as Hillwood’s mobility and innovation zone designed to create a testbed for entrepreneurs involved in transportation.

On Monday, Musk restarted his huge San Francisco Bay Area factory despite being told not to by the county Health Department.

Like other business owners hit hard by coronavirus shutdown orders, Musk is a leader in the growing movement to reopen in the face of government orders, giving smaller businesses a boost and letting them know they’re not in the fight alone.

Musk, with 34 million Twitter followers (Price has 27K of her own), has openly defied an order from the Alameda County Health Department to conduct only minimum operations at the plant in Fremont, California, that normally employs 10,000 people. On Twitter he has made derisive comments about the county’s top health official. He has called the stay-home restrictions “fascist” and said they rob people of freedom.

Within California, where Tesla was born, Musk has had a long history and in some ways personifies the Silicon Valley ethos of innovation, starting with electric car designs and later moving into building rocket ships with his company SpaceX. When he opened the Fremont plant in 2010 at a recently shuttered factory that was jointly run by General Motors and Toyota, Musk was embraced with open, muscled arms by another California legend, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Tesla coming to Fort Worth would be quite the technological feather in the city’s economic development cap. But if Tesla were lured to the town of the cow, it might not be cheap.

The California relationship has been fruitful for Tesla, netting Musk hundreds of millions in subsidies, including nine years of sales tax exemptions totaling nearly $250 million.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, a former San Francisco mayor, said Monday he has a long relationship with Musk, noting that the state has “substantively supported” Tesla for many years. He anticipated the relationship would continue. – Associated Press contributed to this story.

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Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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