Controversial billboards are popping up in California that seem to be using the Robb Elementary school shooting in Uvalde to warn Californians against moving to Texas.
“The Texas miracle died in Uvalde. Don’t move to Texas,” the billboard reads.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that one of the billboards popped up this week and was leased to an unnamed advertiser by billboard ad agency FoxPoint Media. The newspaper allowed KSAT to use a photo of the billboard for this article.
The billboard has an image of a young man wearing a hood and sunglasses with children’s faces in the mirrored reflection. The words “Don’t Mess with Texas” are crossed out with a red x.
The ad appears to be referencing the massacre on May 24 when nineteen students and two teachers were killed by an 18-year-old with a semi-automatic rifle who gained access to Uvalde’s Robb Elementary School.
“The Texas Miracle” is a phrase often used by Republican politicians to tout the state’s resilient economy and for decades, Texas has enticed California companies to relocate to the state with property tax breaks. Former Gov. Rick Perry popularized the term.
According to the Texas Real Estate Research Center, California ranks Texas as the top move-to-state, making up more than 10% of Texas transplants.
There’s no love lost between political leaders of the nation’s two most-populous states.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has said he’s actively fighting to not let California become like Texas. Newsom placed $30,000 worth of full-page advertisements in three Texas newspapers over the summer criticizing what he said is Gov. Greg Abbott’s hypocrisy on gun safety.
“Governor Newsom should focus on all the jobs and businesses that are leaving California and coming to Texas,” Abbott spokeswoman Renae Eze responded.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Reddit users have been debating the intent behind the billboards.
Some Redditors thought that the billboards could have been purchased by Californians who don’t want to lose businesses and employees. Others speculated that conservative Texans were behind the campaign in an effort to keep liberal Californians from moving to the red state.
Either way, many users agreed that the billboards are in poor taste.
KSAT has reached out to FoxPoint Media to inquire about who is behind the billboards but we are still waiting to hear back.