No Death Threats in SF Politics (a modest proposal)

Wow, things are really heated in the City these days. I mean, we get it. We're pissed off too (obviously). But we've always tried to focus our anger on San Francisco's injustices and corruption, not specific people, and to root that anger in love. We understand that the City's intense politics can make it hard to stay grounded….But yikes it's getting scary out there--particularly on twitter/x ever since Elon Musk unleashed the troll hordes.

Speaking of Elon, last September, he made headlines when he called for Supervisors Dean Preston and Aaron Peskin to be jailed, and pledged to donate $100,000 to GrowSF's anti-Preston PAC.

GrowSF clutched their pearls and said they wouldn't accept Musk's money because they "need to be aligned on values with our donors." Bilal Mahmood, who was preparing to launch his campaign against Preston, dropped an f-bomb on Elon in a (now-deleted) tweet saying, "Elon should keep his fucking money out of our politics."

We appreciated their stances, because we know it can be hard to stand up against political allies who cross a line. That initial courage now looks like hypocrisy after Garry Tan recently tweeted that Supervisors Peskin, Preston, Walton, Melgar, Ronen, Safai, and Chan should "die slow motherfuckers." GrowSF and Mahmood haven't said a word. 

Why not? Because unlike cheapskate Elon, Garry Tan--CEO of tech incubator Y-Combinator and a GrowSF board member--has been a huge funder of moderate campaigns. He’s dropped nearly $200K since 2015, including $50,000 to the anti-Preston PAC and $5,000 to Mahmood's DCCC campaign.

Since Tan's tweet, five of the Supervisors have received threats in the mail at their homes that say, “Garry Tan is right! I wish a slow and painful death for you and your loved ones.”

But still the candidates and PACs that Tan funds refuse to cut ties with him, or even condemn his comments. Tan’s apologists have tried to minimize his comments because they were based on a Tupac diss track. But come on, he’s still telling his political enemies to “die slow!” 

And when we flashback to this wild-pupil Tan video from last summer where he pledged to "wipe out the Preston-Peskin hard left cabal" and says, "Preston, Peskin, Chan, Walton, Melgar, Ronen, your days are numbered," it makes his “die slow” tweet seem less like a drunken mistake and more like a pattern of menacing intimidation. In the context of our federal election climate, these threats are all the more concerning.

What can we do?

  1. Sign the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club's petition demanding that campaigns return Garry Tan’s money and condemn his comments, and that Y Combinator condemn Tan’s rhetoric and call for his resignation. 
  2. Email the Board of Supervisors and say you support President Peskin's proposed legislation to require a campaign finance disclaimer on political mail and ads linked to anyone who has made credible and documented violent threats. We know this ordinance will need to be narrowly tailored to respect the First Amendment, but we think it’s reasonable to include a disclosure on a political hit ad if it’s paid for by someone who told the ad’s target to “die slow.”
  3. Vote with the Pissed Off Voter Guide and share it with your friends!

Don’t feed the trolls!

Garry Tan and GrowSF are seriously trolling progressives. Even when they aren’t actively making death threats, they are continuing a pattern of bullying and fanning the fake news flames. We’ll end this post with what we said the last time we dealt with this bullshit, which coincidentally was during the last DCCC race:

While hater noise sure gets us down, we LOVE talking to SF voters about the issues we care about in the streets, on Muni, on campuses, and in our neighborhoods. Thanks for the love that so many of you send our way every election — we feel it! If you like what we do and want to get involved, get on our email list or check our website or facebook or instagram for pub crawls and other opportunities to volunteer. Donate if you can, help us educate voters on local races before the March primary, and become a member of the League so you can help us with the November guide!

Check out our Pissed Off Voter Guide for the March 5, 2024 primary election — a 6,500 word democracy-bomb of sharp analysis and inside baseball, and if you can, please donate to the League so we can print more voter guides.

  • The League
    published this page in Blog 2024-02-07 20:49:04 -0800

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