Technology

Miami-Dade Leaders Are on Their Knees Begging Elon Musk to Move Twitter to Miami

U.S. Rep. Carlos Gimenez is tugging on Elon Musk's coattails in hopes of enticing him to jump ship to Miami.
U.S. Rep. Carlos Gimenez is tugging on Elon Musk's coattails in hopes of enticing him to jump ship to Miami. Photo by Palacio do Planalto via Flickr
Ever since Twitter boss Elon Musk publicly aired his frustration with the company's current home of San Francisco, Miami-Dade leaders have begun to collectively roll out the red carpet for the tech giant.

Last week, a few hours after Musk fumed on Twitter about an investigation by San Francisco’s building department into the company converting space at its headquarters into bedrooms for employees, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez pounced on Musk's frustration and made an unsolicited proposal for Miami to become Twitter's new home.

“It's time to move Twitter headquarters to Miami," Suarez said on social media. "It's not about politics. It's about the soul of our country."

It appears that Suarez isn't the only local leader itching to bring Musk to Miami.

In an invitation letter penned to Musk on December 12, former Miami-Dade mayor and current South Florida congressman Carlos Gimenez joined the chorus in imploring the billionaire to uproot Twitter to the 305.

“We want to encourage you to explore our Free State of Florida and make the move to relocate Twitter to Miami-Dade County," Gimenez writes to Musk. “We value freedom, we value hard work, and the people of Miami-Dade will welcome Twitter to our community with open arms.”
On December 6, Musk took to Twitter to criticize San Francisco Mayor London Breed regarding the city's investigation into the installation of beds in Twitter offices. The sleeping quarters were apparently set up for employees working late to accommodate Musk's increased workload expectations and self-described "extremely hardcore" overhaul of the company.

Three days later, Gimenez officially pitched his #Twitter2Miami concept on Fox News with Maria Bartiromo. He told Bartiromo that as former mayor of Miami-Dade, he created a "great tech ecosystem,” touting Miami and Miami-Dade as places not only with a diverse population but "diversity of thought."

In Gimenez's letter to Musk, he describes Miami-Dade County as an international technology hub with pleasant weather, before boasting about its lack of state income tax and its opposition to defunding the police.

The congressman concludes the letter with a flattery-filled paragraph praising Twitter’s “unparalleled levels of transparency” under Musk’s new leadership.

“I hope that Twitter continues down that path and remains a beacon of free speech and First Amendment freedoms on the web,” Gimenez writes. "Mr. Musk, the decision should be easy, move Twitter to Miami-Dade County."

It's unclear whether Musk is seriously considering either proposal. Twitter's communications department, which has been gutted since his takeover, couldn't be reached for comment.

Two of Musk's old partners at online payment company PayPal, Keith Rabois and Peter Thiel, made the move to South Florida amid the pandemic, purchasing multimillion-dollar waterfront mansions in the Miami area. Leaders at the venture capital firm Founders Fund, Rabois and Thiel share some of Musk's libertarian inclinations and general distaste for what they see as lopsided leftist politics in Silicon Valley.

Gimenez and Suarez appear to be entertaining hopes that Miami can continue to capitalize on the exodus of tech gurus from California, spawned in part by the pandemic. Their rhetoric in courting Musk has been unambiguously tailored to appeal to his political leanings.

Miami, Seattle, and Austin were among the popular relocation destinations for tech professionals who grew disillusioned with San Francisco politics and coronavirus-related restrictions and shutdowns. Musk, for his part, announced in October 2021 that he was relocating his electric car company Tesla's headquarters from Silicon Valley to Austin.

Global investment firms with focuses on the tech industry, including Softbank and Blackstone, meanwhile made moves to open up offices in Miami last year.

Now-insolvent cryptocurrency exchange company FTX, the former namesake of the Miami Heat's stadium, was planning to set up its headquarters in Miami, drawing fanfare from Suarez and other crypto proponents. But before the move could materialize, the company declared bankruptcy last month. Its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, was indicted on fraud and money-laundering charges this week.
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Alex DeLuca is a staff writer at Miami New Times.
Contact: Alex DeLuca

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