Tuesday, May 26, 2020

County Commission invites Tesla to relocate to St. Johns County. (SAR)

Great idea from Commissioner James K. Johns: strike while the iron is hot, my mom said.

Poor followup by overpaid, underworked, maladroit, mediocre, inept County Attorney.

Thinly-researched and poorly-written "resolution" by County Attorney PATRICK FRANCIS McCORMACK, admittedly on the fly.

Borrowing a line from Chief Judge Nahum Litt, I suggested PFM be "sent back to law school for retreating."  No model of legal draftsmanship, his resolution stank, like some dull Chamber of Commerce resolution.

Two of our Commissioners noted he left out the railroad and Northgrup Grumman as assets in our community.

McCORMACK can't find our County's assets with both hands.

Time for McCORMACK to retire. Now.

I called in public comment, unquoted in the Record. The video no longer shows Commissioners' faces during public comment, but I could see a sly smile from Commissioner Johns at the conclusion of my remarks on the video, here: (item 3, belatedly added).

St. Johns County has a bad reputation due to Sheriff DAVID SHOAR's corruption, internationally known thanks to Folio Weekly, The New York Times, PBS Frontline, NBC Dateline, ABC 20/20, the Guardian, and podcasters, and the continuing support of activists for proper investigations of the homicides of Michelle O'Connell (September 2, 2010) and Eli Washtock (January 31, 2019), who was investigating her homicide.

If we want Tesla or any other corporate headquarters here, I suggest that St. Johns County Commissioners:

  1. assign County Administrator Hunter S. Conrad and his staff the urgent task of research, drafting and outreach
  2. research Elon Musk and Tesla.  (Research -- what a concept!  This is an essential marketing principle seemingly omitted by crappy, conceited, incompetent County Attorney PATRICK FRANCIS McCORMACK blithely ignored.  Color him colorless, and soon to go, in the wake of his corrupt pal,  fired November 19, 2019, County Administrator MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK (2007-2019), a racist, sexist,  misogynist, retaliatory, homophobic authoritarian twit, as lugubrious a goober as ever made a chair squeak.    
  3. meet Mr. Musk  -- he'll be in our area, presumably, for his Space X launch.
  4. promise to adopt progressive public policies that would make Tesla employees welcome, including:
    1. living wage laws.
    2. strong laws against environmental crimes against nature --- tree-killing, wetland-filling and other activities often rubber-stamped here. 
    3. strong human rights ordinance against all kinds of discrimination, including sexual orientation and gender identity.   (Query to Tesla General Counsel: Did KKK intimidation kept St. Johns County Commissioners from supposing sexual orientation nondiscrimination in their proposed section 10.06 of their proposed defective County "starter charter" in 2008?  We, the People defeated the flawed, supported by a diverse coalition that included Hamilton Upchurch, defeated the Charter., TWICE.

From St. Augustine Record:

County Commission invites Tesla to relocate to St. Johns County

In this Sept. 29, 2015, file photo, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors Inc., talks about the Model X car at the company’s headquarters, in Fremont, California. [ASSOCIATED PRESS]

By Sheldon Gardner
Posted May 26, 2020 at 9:55 AM
St. Johns County commissioners voted 4-0 on Tuesday to invite Tesla to move its headquarters or other operations to St. Johns County.

Commissioner Jimmy Johns recently floated the idea. Commissioner Jeremiah Blocker was not present because he is on military duty.

Company CEO Elon Musk threatened to relocate the business from California over coronavirus restrictions, according to The Associated Press.

In a May tweet that has since been deleted, Musk wrote that, “Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately,” according to The Associated Press.

St. Johns County plans to send a copy of the resolution passed Tuesday along with a letter and packet to Musk that touts St. Johns County’s benefits — it wasn’t clear on Tuesday what specifically the packet would include.

“While we have experienced a devastating virus, we are still open for business,” Johns said at the meeting.

In an interview with The Record, Johns said he is always looking to bring high-paying, quality jobs to St. Johns County.

“We’re not open to any and every commercial business,” he said. “We want commercial businesses that are a good fit with our community, embraced by our current residents and will employ our residents.”

Many of the county’s residents still work outside of the county, he said.

About 40% of the county’s workforce leaves the county to work, according to Kelsee Russler, county communications specialist.

Johns also said the county needs to continue to increase commercial development to have commercial cover a bigger share of property taxes.

He said he knows people who work for Tesla who aren’t decision-makers, and he doesn’t know Musk. He said he hadn’t talked with anybody about the idea before bringing it up to the Commission.

“This is very preliminary,” Johns said.

In addition to manufacturing electric vehicles, the company also makes energy products for homes, businesses and utilities, such solar panels, solar roof tiles, and a backup power source for homes that uses solar energy, according to the company’s website.

Johns described Tesla as being a “clean industry” with a diversity of products that makes the company more capable of weathering economic storms.

St. Johns County’s largest industrial employer as of 2018 was Northrop Grumman with 1,110 employees, according to the county’s Fiscal Year 2020 financial plan.

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