San Francisco Legislator Under Fire: Y Combinator’s Garry Tan Addresses Controversial Email Legislation Once More

Y Combinator President Garry Tan took to the social platform X Tuesday to again express his displeasure at elected officials representing San Francisco, where the storied accelerator is based. This time, he was lambasting California state assembly member Matt Haney, over a proposed late-night email bill he authored. Haney represents San Francisco in the state’s house-of-representatives equivalent. Meaning they’d have the legal right to ignore calls, emails, texts or messages sent after that time, unless an emergency, and employers in violation could be subject to fines, The San Francisco Standard reported. He went on a rant in January on X about seven San Francisco supervisors that took a violent tone.

Y Combinator President Garry Tan took to the social platform X Tuesday to once again express his disapproval towards elected officials representing San Francisco, where the distinguished accelerator is based.

This time, he directed his criticism towards California State Assembly member Matt Haney, who authored a proposed late-night email bill. Haney represents San Francisco in the state’s House of Representatives.

“Legalize hard work. Haney is spreading nonsense again, from the guy who killed algebra and spun up the fentanyl crisis in the Tenderloin.” – Garry Tan 💥♻️ e/acc (@garrytan) April 2, 2024

Tan also shared a thread stating, “Is this a foreign op or what?”

Haney has become Tan’s “favorite punching bag,” as Tan has previously criticized him in several tweets, including in April 2023, October 2022, and June 2021.

In 2016, Haney led the San Francisco Public Schools board when the district considered moving algebra out of middle school, a decision which was later reversed in 2024. Tan’s dislike for this move is evident in his previous tweets.

In 2022, Haney was appointed to lead California’s opioid committee, to which Tan tweeted, “Politics as usual is putting the incompetent supe who presided over 1000s of fentanyl deaths in his SF district in charge of the CA opioid commission. Matt Haney has done nothing to support recovery and treatment…”

Haney defended his work in combating the opioid crisis in a February LinkedIn post, referring to AB 1976, a bill that would require California employers to have “adequate first-aid materials” for workers, including the life-saving medication naloxone.

Tan’s latest criticism towards Haney revolves around AB 2751, a proposed bill that would grant employees “the right to disconnect” after agreed-upon working hours. This means that, unless in case of an emergency, employers would not be allowed to contact their employees via calls, emails, texts, or messages after working hours, and would face fines if they violate these regulations, according to The San Francisco Standard.

Haney clarified, “If you’re working a 9-to-5 job, you shouldn’t be expected to be working 24/7. That should be available to everyone, regardless of the existence of smartphones.”

However, Tan’s perception of the bill is contrary to its main goal. He implies that it forbids individuals from working long hours, when in fact, it prevents companies from setting an expectation of being always available for work. This idea goes against the startup hustle culture, which is revered in Y Combinator’s world, and promotes dedication to work, especially in the early stages.

Tan’s recent tweet criticizing a California lawmaker is not an isolated incident. In January, he expressed his rage towards seven San Francisco supervisors on X with a violent tone. He later apologized, explaining that the tweet was inspired by a popular rap song, and eventually deleted it.

However, the repercussions did not end there. In February, three San Francisco supervisors received threatening letters to their homes, each including a picture of Tan and the phrase, “I wish a slow, painful death for you and your loved ones.”

TechCrunch spoke with supervisor Aaron Peskin about the letter at that time, and he stated that he did not believe Tan was directly responsible for it. However, Peskin acknowledged that with its threatening tone towards an individual, rather than being a discourse on a policy, Tan’s tweet still did “harm to democratic discourse.”

Attempts to reach both Tan and Haney for comment were unsuccessful at the time of publication. Y Combinator declined to comment.

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Max Chen

Max Chen is an AI expert and journalist with a focus on the ethical and societal implications of emerging technologies. He has a background in computer science and is known for his clear and concise writing on complex technical topics. He has also written extensively on the potential risks and benefits of AI, and is a frequent speaker on the subject at industry conferences and events.

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