Republican Neel Kashkari, seeking to capitalize on the Brown administration’s failure to persuade Tesla Motors Inc. to build a battery factory in California – and also seeking publicity – arrived at the Capitol in a Tesla on Wednesday, berating Gov. Jerry Brown for economic policies he said hurt business.
The symbolism was mixed. Kashkari did not drive. He got out of the passenger seat of the car, which he borrowed from a friend he declined to identify, and pulled from the trunk several bundles of brown paper bags.
He said the bags were to draw a distinction between things Brown isn’t doing – getting Tesla – and things he is. Brown said last week he will likely sign legislation banning single-use plastic bags.
“Jerry Brown has never had a real job in his life, and he doesn’t understand the value of hard work,” Kashkari told reporters. “This just symbolizes the magnitude of his utter failure.”
Then Kashkari wheeled the bags into a mail room in the Capitol building. There were 6,500, he said, one for each employee Tesla is expected to bring to an industrial park east of Reno. Kashkari wrote on one of the packages that it was from “California’s unemployed.”
Brown said last week that his administration “fought hard for Tesla, but Tesla wanted a massive cash upfront payment that I don’t think would be fair to the taxpayers of California.”
Kashkari, a little-known, underfunded candidate, has labored to generate free media in his uphill race against Brown. But he is not the first politician to use a Tesla to make a point.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry pulled up near the Capitol in a Model S in June, when Texas and California were both hoping to recruit the Palo Alto-based company.