Tesla CEO Elon Musk warned on Sunday that Austin, Texas, needs to be its own city and not become a “copycat” of San Francisco, one of the most far-left cities in the United States.
Musk made the remarks in response to a Fox News article about how Austin made “the largest cut” to its police budget “of any major city in America.”
“Austin implemented one of the biggest police budget cuts,” journalist Zaid Jilani wrote in a tweet that linked to the report. “Their homicide rate soared over the next year, and today the surge is larger than most of the country. Now, voters will decide whether to boost the ranks of the police.”
Musk responded, “Austin should be its city, not a San Francisco copycat.”
The Fox News report added:
But since the budget cut, Austin has gotten much less safe. According to statistics compiled by the data analysis firm AH Datalytics, the city has seen a nearly 71% increase in homicides over the past year. While homicides have increased nationwide since 2020, Austin’s increase is one of the largest the firm has tracked.
The funding cuts brought with them a series of changes to the Austin Police Department. Cadet classes were canceled, making it more difficult to bring more officers onto the force. Certain specialized units were cut back. Attrition soared. By May 2021, police staffing shortages led to a 30% increase in 911 response times.
Musk’s remarks on Austin’s political environment come just a few weeks after he announced that Tesla would move its headquarters from California to Austin.
The Austin American-Statesman reported:
Speaking to shareholders [on October 7], Tesla CEO Elon Musk mentioned almost casually that the electric automaker — one of the world’s best-known and most valuable companies — has decided to move its corporate headquarters from California to Austin. The stunning move — which came as a surprise to many local and state officials — continues Austin’s ascent as a technology hub and adds to Tesla’s swiftly growing presence in the region, as the company is building a $1.1 billion manufacturing facility in southeastern Travis County.
Musk had previously threatened to move the company’s headquarters from Palo Alto, Calif., to Texas or Nevada in 2020, after disagreements with California lawmakers. Musk did not mention that dispute during Thursday’s meeting.
“I’m excited to announce we’re moving our headquarters to Austin, Texas,” Musk said. “We’re going to create an ecological paradise here around the Colorado River.”
“It’s tough for people to afford houses and a lot of people have to come in from far away,” he said. “We’ve taken it as far as possible but…there’s a limit to how big you can scale it in the Bay Area.”
“Here in Austin, our factory’s like five minutes from the airport, 15 minutes from downtown, and we’re going to create an ecological paradise here because we’re right on the Colorado River,” he added. “It’s gonna be great.”
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