Tesla Motors

Dear Editor:Wow! Think of all the metaphors that can be applied to Tesla Motors choosing to partner with Toyota Motors to build cars in Fremont instead of Downey. "The rug pulled out from under us", "Money knows no friends", you get the point. The one that came immediately to my mind at about 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 20 was "the runaway bride" from the altar as the groom held her ring in his hands ready to put it on. The immediate reaction from our city leaders was why, how, stunned and shocked. Our councilman Mario Guerra was quoted and went on television saying "I couldn't be more disappointed, I feel like I was stabbed in the back. We were promised all along that we weren't being used and this is what happens." Well, Downey was used! We were small pawns in a chess game involving millions and possibly billions of dollars. It went to the highest bidder. And it turns out the final offer was bigger than what Downey and Long Beach offered combined! The huge disappointment comes from the hours of negotiating, wine and dining, and the overall dance that anyone in business goes through in order to get a customer, in this case Tesla with a potential of about 1,500 jobs and about $20 million in future tax revenue. But I guess that with Toyota's 50 million free dollars and a ready to go NUMMI assembly plant, we were no match. The bride was being wooed behind our backs. I guess this proves that the days of looking at a potential business partner in the eyes across the table, shaking hands and coming to an agreement is only what we read in the history books. John Wayne, Granddad, those were the days. But here's the thing folks. Yes, Tesla represented a huge opportunity for Downey's business and residential community. Our city leaders have worked hard over the past year to bring Tesla to town. But at the same time our city leaders have worked even harder every day to bring smaller additions to our city, i.e. New Kaiser Hospital, revamping of the arts for the Downey Theatre, a selection of restaurants like BJ's, The Palms, the Downey Landing shopping center, and a whole new entertainment concept for downtown Downey. I can go on, but the list is longer than this space allows me. These are the projects that our city council, Mayor Anne Bayer and city councilmen David Gafin, Mario Guerra, Roger Brossmer and Luis Marquez have worked hard for every day, to work with small and large business owners to bring quality business to Downey. I sympathize with Downey's disappointment, but there will continue to be let downs and great successes in the future. At the end of the day, Downey is and will continue to be one of the great cities in California. -- Robert Zavala, Owner, Freedom Vacations

Dear Editor: Look at the bright side. What if Tesla decides to shaft Fremont after that city had gone through millions of expense for the firm? Downey got bushwhacked at a point when the city had not yet spent a lot. It could happen there! Just a thought from a Downey resident of 55 years (but considerably more of personal age!). -- Gerald Altman, Downey

Dear Editor: It's no surprise to me that Tesla pulled out at the last moment given their history of 'negotiations' in other locales in the past. In 2007, the governor of New Mexico announced Tesla would build an assembly plant in Albuquerque. By September 2008, they had pulled out of that deal and the mayor of San Jose, Calif., was announcing that Tesla would build their plant in their city. By 2009, San Jose was out of the picture and it was between Long Beach and Downey (with Mayor Guerra quoted in The Downey Patriot in November 2009 that the deal was 99.9 percent complete.) In early 2010 our most vocal council member didn't miss an opportunity to give us the news that Tesla was building their assembly plant here in Downey, even though Tesla would never publicly confirm their commitment. (By the way, it was reported that the estimated number of jobs the Tesla plant would have created in Albuquerque was 400; that estimate rose in San Jose to 600 to 1,000 new jobs; for Downey, the estimate became 1,200 new jobs. Interesting.) I read all about Tesla and their history of 'shopping' cities for the best monetary deals by simply using Google and Bing - all the press releases, articles, and scads of information was all there. Now Mr. Guerra blames 'big corporations' in general for this so-called betrayal. Please don't generalize and blame all 'big corporations': blame Tesla and blame the na?Øveté of those in the city government who put the cart before the horse and kept announcing that it was a 99.9% done deal before it actually was a done deal. Toyota's offer of a purchase of $50 million of Tesla's stock, once it goes public and starts selling stock (which hasn't happened yet either...oh yeah, that's information that's been reported on the Web too), beats Downey's $8.9 million package. The bottom line is really what is going to make Elon Musk a huge wad of money when he leaves the company to the stockholders (if there ever ARE any stockholders) and goes on his merry way. Beware Toyota and Fremont, Calif., you may be the next ex-paramour of Tesla...if a better offer comes along. No worries, though...we have yet another new drug store/pharmacy on the way! We sure could use at least a dozen more of those in Downey, couldn't we? -- Janice Allen, Downey

********** Published: May 28, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 6