Mayoral wannabe Andrew Yang said Sunday he’d turn New York City into a “very large customer/partner” for electric vehicles from Elon Musk, making no mention of strict contracting laws but garnering plenty of scorn on social media.
“I LOVE electric garbage trucks,” Yang tweeted in sharing an article about a pilot program from the de Blasio administration.
“@elonmusk you would have a very large customer/partner if you want to get into electric buses, garbage trucks and other vehicles that NYC needs,” he wrote in a follow-up tweet to the controversial tech bro, who backed Yang for president in 2019.
The statement appeared to ignore city lawsrequiring that contracts be awarded through “competitive sealed bidding,” with limited exceptions.
Yang also neglected to mention Musk’s track record in the Empire State. His company Tesla got a sweetheart deal to open a solar panel factory in upstate Buffalo in 2014, though it fell short of job creation promises in exchange for $750 million in state funding and reportedly gave up on panels last year.
Rival mayoral candidates and hordes of Twitter users mocked Yang’s proposal to do business with Musk.
“If you love the electric sanitation truck program that yours truly put in place as @NYCSanitation Commissioner, then you’ll really love my plan for city electric grid improvements, so I can electrify our school and city buses next,” tweeted candidate Kathryn Garcia.
Comptroller Scott Stringer belittled Yang’s habit of spitballing ideas on social media.
“Tweets are great,” Stringer wrote. “I’m divesting $4 billion from the fossil fuel industry.”
He was referring to his and Mayor de Blasio’s plans to take pension funds out of the fossil fuel sector within about two years.
There was also plenty of outrage from regular Twitter users.
“New York is not a monopoly game for tech bros; we’ve all suffered too much from the Bezos and Musks who come in to play games with our infrastructure and our workers,” wrote @JessieLosch.
Yang spokesman Chris Coffey defended the candidate’s tweets.
“New York City needs big solutions and we need more innovators to be part of the City’s procurement process,” he said in an email. “If the insider candidates are satisfied with the current state of our transit and waste collection, they’ll need to explain why to voters.”