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News + PoliticsTech leader wants supes to 'die slow;' where's the mayor and the...

Tech leader wants supes to ‘die slow;’ where’s the mayor and the Chron?

Plus: Phil Ginsburg's yacht harbor, and zoning changes nobody knows how to pay for. That's The Agenda for Jan. 28 to Feb. 4


Imagine if someone closely associated with progressives in San Francisco—say, a major donor to left causes and candidates or a prominent spokesperson for left-leaning organizations—said that the mayor and her political allies should “die slowly.”

Garry Tan at a web summit in 2018. Wikimedia Images photo

First of all: Doesn’t happen. Our side isn’t like that.

But if it did, I suspect this would be the result:

The Chronicle would put it on the front page and run an editorial talking about how progressives stoke violence.

The TV stations would all pick it up and make it prominent news.

The mayor would denounce the statement and call for all progressives to cease association with this person and return any contributions.

It would have been a massive media and political shitstorm, and the person responsible would have to back away from public life, at least for a while.

But when it’s Garry Tan, the CEO of Y Combinator and a major donor to so-called “moderate” causes?

Only MissionLocal has run the rather shocking story:

“Fuck Chan, Peskin, Preston, Walton, Melgar, Ronen, Safai, Chan as a label and motherfucking crew,” he wrote in a since-deleted post on X, formerly Twitter, to his 408,000 followers during the early morning hours of Saturday. “Die slow motherfuckers.” 

Silence from the mayor. Silence from all the candidates and causes that benefit from Tan’s money. Silence from the Chron. Silence from most of Tan’s allies, except for one tweet suggesting perhaps he was “hammered.”

I guess that makes it okay.

Tan and his allies now say it was just a reference to a Tupac song, and that the critics don’t get it. That not only doesn’t excuse his language; it’s really pretty icky.

For the record: Tupac Shakur was the son of a Black Panther. He was a Marxist radical anti-imperialist. He railed against the kind of economic and wealth inequality that the local tech plutocrats represent. Garry Tan has no right to appropriate that culture and legacy. Gross.

None of the people Tan apparently wants to see dead have made any threats toward him, or done anything to directly harm him or his businesses, except possibly to move slightly to raise taxes a little bit on the very, very rich and to gently regulate some out-of-control tech companies.

This, I think, is not isolated; we’ve seen similar, although not as directly violent, language from Elon Musk. It’s almost Trumpian in the level of vitriol.

And the so-called moderates at City Hall and in the news media don’t seem to care.

Which means it may get even worse.

When it comes to Recreation and Park property, Director Phil Ginsburg seems to have only one policy: Make as much money as possible, even if it means excluding some people from public space and damaging the interests of others.

Parks, under his administration, are a cash register, not a public good.

That’s what’s behind this whole plan to build a new Yacht Harbor off Marina Green.

I don’t usually worry about the property values of the poor folks in the Marina; they’re generally doing just fine. But lots of people from all over the city use the Marina Green, and putting a lot of boats in a place that has world-famous waterfront and views wouldn’t normally get far.

Under Ginsburg and the mayor’s Rec-Park Commission, none of that matters. All the commission would do is demand (according to the Chron) that

staff must first conduct a study to determine how much the department can minimize the number of slips in the West Harbor while still ensuring the project is financially feasible. 

Yes: Financially feasible. That means Rec-Park makes enough money off the deal.

Sups. Aaron Peskin, Connie Chan, and Ahsha Safai have introduced legislation

prohibiting the Recreation and Park Department and Planning Department from performing environmental review of, or otherwise implementing, a project to clean up and reconstruct the Marina Yacht Harbor in a manner that would extend the West Harbor Marina by more than 150 feet from its current boundary.

Sup. Catherine Stefani, who represents the area, had to recuse herself because she owns a boat in the harbor.

That comes up at the Land Use and Transportation Committee Monday/29. The meeting starts at 1:30pm.

The final moves to upzone neighborhoods across San Francisco will come before the supes sometime in February, and it’s clear that a lot of folks will be unhappy.

But the process is moving forward, in response to state Sen. Scott Wiener’s legislation forcing San Francisco to achieve an impossible goal.

The Planning Commission will hear an informational presentation Thursday/1 on the zoning changes needed to implement the Housing Element. According to the commission, those are based on:

Affordable Housing Funding and Strategies. Activating Community Priorities Expanding Housing Choice. (Housing Element Zoning Program). Housing Production and Process Improvements


The zoning program will address and account for various policy considerations, including but not limited to the following:

Expanding housing affordability and diversity, including housing suitable for families, seniors, people with disabilities, essential workers, and low- and moderate-income households, among others. Creating a more predictable and fair process to approve and build housing. Addressing historic preservation and ensuring inspiring urban design and architecture. Supporting small businesses and neighborhood vitality. Planning for infrastructure and services to serve growth.

The missing element: How to pay for any of this.

The affordable housing tab: $19 billion. The tab for “infrastructure and services to serve growth:” Billions more.

The Breed Administration has not identified a single revenue source. All anyone says is that funding will be “challenging.” All the mayor is talking about right now is cutting taxes and fees on developers.

The commissioners will get to ask questions, so let me suggest one: Why are we moving forward with a plan that has no funding, and no prospects of funding? Shouldn’t we identify how to pay for affordable housing and infrastructure before we approve all this upzoning?

I don’t think the planning director will have an answer.

That meeting starts at noon.

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.


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