An unelected 'interim' county official is keeping Tesla from safely reopening its factory

In a local power grab that's in direct conflict with a recent green light from California's Governor, Alameda County has an unelected "Interim" Health Officer who's decided to force Tesla's Fremont factory to shut down indefinitely. Granted, vague reopen dates (mid-May, June 1st, etc.) have been floated publicly but they keep getting pushed back time and time again.

Source: Tesla

Many on social media have questioned why other auto manufacturers have reopened while Tesla has been forced to remain closed. For example, German automakers Mercedes and BMW already opened factories in the US (and, of course, Europe).

Furthermore, Alameda County's decision flies in the face of both state and federal positions on car manufacturing as an essential business (or critical infrastructure) that should be allowed to reopen. In turn, Elon Musk noted on Twitter that Tesla is suing Alameda County. Soon after the tweet, Tesla went ahead with it and actually sued Alameda CountyIn addition, Musk said he wants to move the company's California-based vehicle manufacturing and headquarters to another state where the laws and procedures seem to be more sensible.

Many observers recognize that Elon Musk doesn't just "talk the talk" — he is likely to "walk the walk" which could seriously impact the economy in California. After all, Tesla is the biggest manufacturer, second biggest exporter, and last automaker in the state of California. Needless to say, this would be bad for the state's credibility in terms of 'ease of doing business'.

When it comes to protecting employees during a pandemic like COVID-19, Tesla actually has much more hands-on experience than most realize. Tesla already went through this experience at its Gigafactory Shanghai and successfully (and smoothly) restarted operations with maximum safety measures and zero casualties.

Nevertheless, Alameda County's Interim Health Officer wants to force Tesla from restarting limited operations. Calls and emails from Tesla have gone unanswered as the junior county official is not giving the Silicon Valley automaker an opportunity to create an open dialogue. It appears county politicians prefer to slow things down with red tape. Why don't they assess Tesla's proven track record from its extensive (recent) experience safely reopening its Shanghai Gigafactory?

Since at least 20.5 million jobs have been lost in April in the United States alone, Alameda County's actions are certainly questionable — if this rate of unemployment goes on, the economic impact in the coming months might be the worst in the 21st century. In light of this, a few local government officials have started to come to their senses. The Mayors of Palo Alto and Fremont have both voiced support of Tesla. But it appears Alameda County's unelected official has the final word. 

What the Tesla community can do?

There are a number of ways that Tesla owners, investors, enthusiasts, and others in the EV community can help influence Alameda County to consider allowing Tesla to (carefully and safely) open its Fremont factory.

#1: Tag @AlamedaCounty on Twitter to let them know this is a great cause of concern for you. Be sure to use the #OpenTesla hashtag which should also be trending now.

#2: Shareholders can file a class action lawsuit to recover the damages from Alameda County.

#3: Submit your thoughts via the Alameda County COVID-19 contact form in order to voice your concern and let them know why you think the Tesla factory should be allowed to reopen. Note: Tesla has written extensively on this topic and you can include substantive information from the company's recent blog post on the matter at hand. 

Youtube: Tesla Daily Podcast

For what it's worth, Tesla's comprehensive Return to Work Playbook is far more detailed than the incoherent press conferences given by Alameda County officials. In any event, your voice matters. Especially when it comes to elected officials. Although the decision-maker, in this case, appears to be unelected. And interim.

Want more information on how to help? It turns out that the Tesla Daily Podcast also has some good points on the matter, you can listen to the latest episode above.


Written by: Iqtidar Ali. An earlier version of this article was originally published on Tesla Oracle.