A demonstration against Proposition E outside Y Combinator's offices
Ahsha Safaí speaks at a press conference outside Y Combinator's headquarters. February 22, 2024. Photo by Kelly Waldron.

Proposition E will reduce police accountability, make San Francisco less safe and disproportionately affect communities of color. 

That’s according to the community advocates who gathered outside the headquarters of Y Combinator, a tech incubator that funds early-stage startups, for a press conference on Thursday morning. 

“We’re here today to tell tech CEOs who think they own San Francisco that we need more transparency not less,” said former police commissioner Angela Chan.  

Some 25 people appeared at the event, including Supervisor Ahsha Safaí and representatives from the Young Women’s Freedom Center and Harvey Milk Democratic Club. 

Proposition E, which voters will decide on March 5, has raised more than $1.5 million, largely from a handful of tech donors. Among other things, it would allow the police department to experiment with surveillance technology without the oversight required of other city departments.

What would Prop. E Do? Read Our Deep dive

Y Combinator executives are heavily invested in the measure’s passage. CEO Garry Tan is a major donor and board member of the public pressure group GrowSF, which is urging voters to adopt Proposition E. Tan is a self-described “Twitter menace” dead-set on ousting progressive politicians from city leadership, and last month posted that progressive supervisors should “die slow motherfuckers.”

Emmett Shear, former Twitch CEO and an advisor at Y Combinator, donated $49,000 in support of Proposition E. He told Mission Local earlier this month, however, that he was unfamiliar with the contribution. 

Jessica Livingston, who co-founded the incubator, has not donated to the proposition but is backing those that support it, including with a recent $50,000 contribution to GrowSF’s anti-Dean Preston committee for the November 2024 election.

Chan, who is now assistant chief attorney at the Public Defender’s Office, pointed out that Y Combinator seems to benefit from a low profile itself: Its headquarters — a white, nondescript building on 20th Street by Pier 70 — does not appear to be listed on Google Maps. 

“They profit off of surveillance, but don’t want to be surveilled,” Chan said. 

Safaí, a mayoral candidate, said Proposition E “is one of the most racist measures we have seen,” and will “unwind a decade of positive work we’ve done to do police reform, accountability and oversight.” 

The District 11 supervisior has openly rejected the measure, and bashed Mayor London Breed for putting it on the ballot. He accused her today of having  “all of a sudden done a 180” on police reform. She is no longer interested in knowing when we have violent interactions in the community, he said. With Proposition E, “That goes out the window.” 

Other speakers voiced similar concerns. Geoffrea Morris, an attorney and co-founder of the nonprofit SF Black Wall Street, said the measure is anti-Black, discriminatory and would roll back progress on police accountability and reform. 

Geoffrea Morris speaks out against Proposition E at a press conference outside Y Combinator.
Geoffrea Morris speaks out against Proposition E at a press conference outside Y Combinator. Feb. 22, 2024. Photo by Kelly Waldron.

“I’m sad to see that the face and the author of such harmful policies … is our first Black [female] mayor,” said Morris. 

“Prop. E is an extension of the policies that were created that criminalized Black and Brown communities by over-policing us, over-charging us and pushing us deeper into the cycles of incarceration,” added Lucero Herrera, a program director at the Young Women’s Freedom Center. 

Last year, the police department reported that Black people were 25 times more likely than white people to have force used on them in the last quarter of 2022. 

“Those closest to the problem are closest to the solution,” said Herrera, who noted that policy changes should engage community members. 

Breed’s wide-ranging measure seeks to increase police powers in San Francisco. It would do so by expanding the range of crimes that justify police chases, reducing use-of-force reporting requirements, allowing for more surveillance and limiting the oversight of the police commission. Its proponents say it will free up cumbersome reporting requirements enabling officers to do their jobs, while its opponents fear it will reduce police accountability and open the door to civil rights violations. 

“Garry Tan likes to quote Tupac,” Morris said, in reference to Tan’s recent posts threatening government officials. “Well, this is our ‘Hail Mary,’ and I need you all to run with me.”

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Kelly is Irish and French and grew up in Dublin and Luxembourg. She studied Geography at McGill University and worked at a remote sensing company in Montreal, making maps and analyzing methane data, before turning to journalism. She recently graduated from the Data Journalism program at Columbia Journalism School.

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  1. The ACLU opposes Proposition E.
    Do you trust Mayor Breed, the SFPD, and our new techno capitalist billionaires to protect your civil liberties more than the ‘ACLU?

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  2. Even the Chronicle has come out against Prop E. When you’ve lost the property-peddling, cop-coddling Comical, you know you’re beyond the Pale.

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    1. Two Beers: What that shows is that The Chronicle is putting ideology over what’s best for the city.

      If you care about the city, you will vote for Prop E. I already did.

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  3. “Shear and Tan are Narcs”

    That’s really the message they thought was important to get out to the folks who are undecided on this proposal? LOL.

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  4. What’s the deal that people sit on their hands for years as the alt right rampages with recalls, gerrymandering, thumping Campos, ousting Mar, but half way after the ballots are out, they agitate about billionaires funding a political takeover and about a reactionary attack on the SFPD commission?

    The time to win elections is between elections, not after ballots have been mailed out. These people are not serious, they’re performing a role that can’t be consequential.

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  5. Campers,

    In other peoples Public Forums over the last several decades I’ve been a strident voice so far Left that I’m standing alone on such issues as Leagalizing Sex Work and Decriminalizing Drugs and giving Ten Grand to anyone arrested who’ll agree to get sterilized …

    and, things like that

    my disappointment is that right here on Mission Local and more recently, on SFist and I allowed to write such things.

    I can’t even write them on my own blog for the last week because that’s hacked.

    My point is that ‘the man’ controls so much media that even very intelligent people never get to read opposing points to the chosen establishment narrative.

    They own all of the major news outlets.

    Temporarily muzzled dawg says …

    No on E !!!


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