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New Billboard in San Francisco Reads ‘Texas Miracle Died in Uvalde’ — But Why?

A set of new billboards in Los Angeles and San Francisco are advising California residents not to move to Texas, as more than 80,000 residents have between 2020 and 2021, alone, from a total of 250,000 departures, reports Newsweek. However, the billboards have many wondering if the intention is to keep residents out of Texas or in California.

As the culture war between the two western states continues to rage, more and more Texans are complaining about California transplants threatening to turn the state blue in the upcoming midterm elections. The same could be said of California, where the loss of tax revenue and the concentration of conservative voters in northern California could work against Democratic candidates in November.

A picture of the Billboard, which was originally uploaded to Reddit, features a hooded man with sunglasses next to ominous looking text that says “The Texas Miracle Died in Uvalde.” On top of the slogan, the popular “Don’t mess with Texas” mantra can be seen, X’d out in red ink, while the bottom reads, “Don’t move to Texas,” unobstructed.

According to a report from the LA Times, “The Texas Miracle” refers to a 2011 statement from former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who claimed that the state was mostly unaffected by the “Great Recession” of 2008. “Don’t mess with Texas,” on the other hand, was originally a slogan for an anti-littering campaign from 2004, but was ultimately embraced by locals as a state mantra.

It’s still unclear who or what is behind the new billboards, with some theorizing that the campaign originated in Texas to keep Californians out, while others see it as a bid to keep California residents from taking themselves, and subsequently their tax dollars, to another state. Even so, this mass migration doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.

A 2021 Texas Relocation Report ranks the Lone Star state 2nd in national relocations, with a majority of new residents coming from California and Florida. Meanwhile, California ranked first in the country for residents who are moving out of state as a result of strict COVID-19 regulations, a growing homeless population, and the rising cost of living, where housing is estimated to be 50% more expensive in California than in Texas.

The LA Times report also reveals the billboards were leased by a Chicago-based company called FoxPoint Media, though the company did not respond when requested for comment. Regardless, many are seeing the billboards as more of an odd curio than an effective call to action.

The Newsweek report quotes Matt Cabot, a public relations professor from San Jose State University, labeling the billboards as being “the lowest of the low. It’s bizarre. It’s amateurish.” He added, “I’m not sure if it will even backfire because I’m not sure what it’s designed to do,” in reference to the convoluted messaging and unclear intent.

Whether the billboards came from Texas or California, their emergence marks another act of provocation between the two states’ warring governors, Texas’ Greg Abbott and California’s Gavin Newsom. In July of this year, Newsom took out full-page ads criticizing Abbott in three major Texas newspapers: the Houston Chronicle, the El Paso Times, and the Austin-American Statesman, reports Kera News.

The ads were targeted towards Texas abortion law SB 8, which bans abortions after six weeks and puts a $10,000 bounty on any woman, doctor, or accompanying friend or family member who facilitates an abortion after the time allotted by the law. Newsom’s ad was also a scathing indictment of gun violence in Texas, although some have pointed out that gun violence in California is arguably worse.

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