Mysterious new billboards are warning California residents not to move to Texas, as record numbers of residents flee the soft-on-crime Golden State for better quality of life in red states.
“The Texas Miracle died in Uvalde. Don’t move to Texas,” the billboards read, alongside a hooded figure and a crossed-out “Don’t mess with Texas” slogan.
Nineteen students and two teachers were killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on May 24, marking the deadliest school shooting in the US in a decade.
The “Texas Miracle” refers to former Gov. Rick Perry’s description of the state’s regulatory model, which helped it weather the Great Recession. “Don’t mess with Texas,” a favorite motto in the Lone Star State, is rooted in a 1980s anti-littering campaign.
While it is unclear who is responsible for the billboards, residents have reported seeing them in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
The San Francisco billboard, near the corner of Folsom and 7th Street, was reportedly leased to advertisers by FoxPoint Media.
The billboards have emerged amid census data that confirms large numbers of Californians flocking to Texas.
According to a study by the Texas Real Estate Research Center, one in every 10 Texas transplants is from California. Last spring, California lost a House seat as its population declined relative to other states, while Texas gained two.
Writing in The Post last year, author and Texas transplant Kevin D. Williamson argued that the state offered a conservative haven for moneyed residents looking to escape California’s “woke” policies.
Earlier this month, soft-on-crime Los Angeles County DA George Gascón narrowly survived a recall after more than 520,000 eligible voters supported his ouster. In June, fed-up San Francisco voters tossed progressive DA Chesa Boudin in a landslide.
Aside from “high taxes and high rents,” Williamson blamed the exodus on California’s “heavy-handed and ineffective” response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Recent statistics suggest that the flood of residents from California did in fact increase during the pandemic, with Texas being the most popular destination. This trend might be fueled in part by the movement of several major tech companies, including Tesla and Oracle Corp., to the state in recent years.
Given the steady trickle of interlopers from California to Texas, some online commenters wondered if the billboards weren’t an orchestrated attempt to stanch the flow.
“Is Texas buying billboards to deter Californian expatriates from turning their state blue?” asked one Reddit user.
“Quite frankly this would make the most sense out of anything,” another replied.
Other observers take issue with the billboards’ mention of the Uvalde shooting, with one Redditor calling it “the most disgusting use of political propaganda, using the tragedy to their advantage.”
“It’s honestly kinda offensive to the people who lost their children in Uvalde,” another user agreed.
“The billboard is immensely confusing and fails at whatever its messaging intends,” said one comment.
Still, some viewers urged potential transplants not to be deterred by the bizarre messaging — as long as they vote blue.
One Redditor, who identified themselves as a “Texan leftist from a lefty family,” complained that “I passionately hate the people who move here to live out their idiotic yee-haw fantasies.”
“We need more lefties to move here to balance out the Republican carpet baggers.”
In an article about the billboards, SF Gate noted that the rivalry between the two states has reached new public heights, with Govs. Greg Abbott and Gavin Newsom sparring in the media.
Earlier in the summer, Newsom took out full-page ads in three Texas newspapers blasting Abbott’s stance on abortion and gun control. Abbott himself previously campaigned with the slogan “Don’t California my Texas!”
Newsom is far from Abbott’s only enemy across state lines. The controversial Republican has also traded barbs with New York City Mayor Eric Adams over the busing of thousands of migrants from Texas to New York.
During an August 10 news appearance, Abbott dared Adams to “make my day” by challenging his bid for re-election.
FoxPoint Media did not immediately return a request for comment.