State Sen. Bob Wieckowski

STATE SENATE | 10TH DISTRICT | When Tesla, the Fremont-based electric automobile maker announced last fall it would build an enormous battery plant not in California, but in Nevada, it represented a stinging economic blow to the state, Gov. Jerry Brown and local officials like then-Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski, who represents the area surrounding Fremont.

Tesla’s big announcement Thursday that it is planning to utiltize its so-called “gigafactory” being constructed near Reno to produce a new $3,500 rechargeable battery for use in homes and businesses is a potential game-changer. It’s also a reminder of how Wieckowski and local leaders massively dropped the ball and allowed over 6,500 new and highly-paid jobs to cross the Sierras. Instead of acknowledging the severity of the defeat, Wieckowski’s comments last September were imbued with cluelessness.

Tesla automobile plant in Fremont.

“While I am disappointed in Tesla’s apparent decision to locate its battery factory in Nevada, I am proud of California’s partnership with Tesla resulting in significant job growth in Fremont, Santa Clara County and among the automakers’ suppliers,” said Wieckowski. “I am hopeful that as the company grows, Tesla may build additional battery facilities or other specialized facilities in California as it scales up manufacturing for current and future products.”

Incidentally, the loss of a world-renowned brand’s expansion to Nevada, did nothing to hinder Wieckowsk’s bid last November for the Tenth State Senate District seat, which he won against a little-known and underfunded Republican.

In fact, it’s not even clear whether Wieckowski had any meaningful input with Tesla in the months before it won more than $1 billion in tax breaks over the next 20 years from Nevada officials, which may be even worse for one of the East Bay’s most bumbling and least effective legislators.