On Monday, Telsa CEO Elon Musk continued to defy California state and local laws by restarting production at the company’s Fremont assembly plant, saying he was prepared to be arrested if necessary.
The announcement came in the wake of Musk filing a lawsuit against the county to reopen his business.
Musk’s California operation is the only Tesla vehicle assembly plant in the U.S.
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“Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules,” he tweeted. “I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.”
“Yes, California approved, but an unelected county official illegally overrode,” he added. “Also, all other auto companies in US are approved to resume. Only Tesla has been singled out. This is super messed up!”
While California Governor Gavin Newsom said earlier on Monday that he was unaware that the Telsa plant had restarted operations, Musk did get some support from President Donald Trump.
“California should let Tesla & @elonmusk open the plant, NOW,” Trump tweeted. “It can be done Fast & Safely!”
Musk thanked the President for his show of support.
In fact, Musk received support on social media from many.
Musk sent out an email to employees last Thursday calling for 30 percent of the factory’s workers back to the plant, arguing that it was permitted under Governor Gavin Newsom’s order. Musk on Saturday filed a lawsuit against Alameda County to reopen, and threatened to move his facility to another state “immediately” if anyone tried to stop him.
“If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependen [sic] on how Tesla is treated in the future,” he tweeted.
Alameda County responded to Musk’s decision, writing, “Today, May 11, we learned that the Tesla factory in Fremont had opened beyond Minimum Basic Operations. We have notified Tesla that they can only maintain Minimum Basic Operations until we have an approved plan that can be implemented in accordance with the local public health Order.”
“We are addressing this matter using the same phased approach we use for other businesses which have violated the Order in the past, and we hope that Tesla will likewise comply without further enforcement measures,” the county added.
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Governor Newsom said his “understanding is they have had some very constructive conversations with the folks at that facility. The county health director and they are working to focus on the health and safety of the employees at that facility and my belief and hope and expectation is as early as next week, they will be able to resume.”
Newsom did express his general support for Tesla and Musk.
When asked about Musk’s plant reopening, Newsom said, “My understanding when I walked up to the podium today, that was not the case. I’m trying to monitor hundreds of thousands of businesses all throughout the state. I’m trying to work with business large and small.”
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