'Don't Move to Texas' billboards invoke deadly Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde

Lyanne Melendez Image
Saturday, August 27, 2022
'Don't Move to Texas' billboards in California invoke Uvalde massacre
It's a dark but direct message. How are Californians reacting to a jarring billboard that says the "Texas Miracle died in Uvalde"? (Reported by Eyewitness News sister station KGO)

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- A controversial billboard has popped up discouraging Californians from moving to Texas. The message behind the billboard is adding to the already existing rift between the two states.

The message is intended to be dark: "The Texas Miracle Died in Uvalde."

The billboard in San Francisco and Los Angeles shows a man in a hoodie and also comes with a warning to anyone who stops to look: "Don't move to Texas."

"I don't think it's in particularly good taste," an onlooker said.

SEE ALSO | Uvalde school board fires police chief after mass shooting

The billboard is meant to highlight the lax gun laws in Texas following one of the deadliest school shootings in Uvalde on May 24, where 19 students and two teachers were killed.

It's not known who's behind the billboard, but it's capturing the attention of many who go by the intersection in San Francisco's SoMa neighborhood.

"I totally agree with it 100%. So many people are leaving here and going to Texas anyway. It's like, 'Don't go there,'" Luke Gray, a Californian, said.

But are people from California really leaving the state to move to Texas?

The U.S. Census reports that, on average, 68,700 Californians moved to Texas each year over the past decade. Other data sources show the trend accelerated slightly during the pandemic.

RELATED | Uvalde school shooting: $27B lawsuit to be filed for Robb Elementary victims, attorney says

But with a total state population of more than 39 million, the number of Californians moving to Texas is only a tiny percentage, less than 1 percent.

"When home prices go up in California, as they've been doing a lot in the last couple of years, more Californians move to Texas. When home prices level off or go down, fewer Californians move to Texas. For individual Californians, it's really about home prices," said William Fulton, research director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University.

Then, there's the matter of the "Texas Miracle."

The often-mentioned but less-understood verbiage came about in 2008 during the Great Recession when Texas weathered the economic storm better than most states. In fact, more jobs were even created, hence the term the "Texas Miracle."

But claiming that the Texas Miracle is dead, as the billboard claims, is adding to the rivalry between the two states.

"I think it's discouraging. We have to move on and we have to move on positively," one detractor said.

Lyanne Melendez from ABC13's sister station KGO reports from San Francisco.

SEE ALSO | Mom uses what she learned in high school to prepare 5-year-old son for school shooting