Twitter/X CEO Elon Musk announced on Friday that he is calling for San Francisco City Supervisor Dean Preston to be fired over multiple proposals that attempted to help halt the crime rate in San Francisco that have ultimately not worked.
Preston, a lawyer and tenants rights group leader, was first elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 2019. Since becoming a Supervisor, he has become well known for his liberal stances on issues and sometimes controversial measures. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he became known nationally for his measure that allows tenants to not have to pay back rent to landlords, as well as another that barred eviction for not paying rent. In 2021, he even went so far as to declare his entire district “eviction free.” At another point, he even tried to pass a free public transportation pilot program.
More recently, Preston has attempted to help halt the crime rate. In May, following a shooting of a man who threatened to kill a security guard with a weapon, Preston attempted to pass a resolution that would bar security guards from pulling their weapons in most situations. Running for reelection, Preston has also been recently been called out for his stance on defunding the police despite a growing need for more officers in the city. Supervisor Preston’s most recent action resulted in heavy criticism this week, suggesting that people visiting the city not leave valuables in their cars, rather than go after the criminals breaking into cars.
As a result, Preston has been the target of a major ousting campaign, with an entire PAC now dedicated to removing him from office. With his reelection bid next year becoming increasingly doubtful, Preston has doubled down on his stances. That led to Twitter/X CEO Elon Musk to target him in the last few days.
First, following a colleague in San Francisco announcing that he gave $50,000 to the Dump Dean PAC on Thursday, Musk responded on X saying that he would double that amount.
I will double that
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 22, 2023
Then came the tweet from Preston. In it, Preston said, “Car break-ins have vexed our city for a long time. Despite various announcements and initiatives over the past several years, the number of reported car break-ins has hovered over 20k p/yr with one outlier: 2020, when SF had far fewer tourists, and therefore fewer tourists leaving things in their cars. Break-ins fell by over 40%!”
He then added that, similar to a 1980s campaign to use seatbelts, San Francisco should say not to leave anything in their car.
“Do this & we’ll dramatically reduce car break-ins,” added Preston.
This immediately met the ire of Musk, who then tweeted in response “Absolutely. Also, Dean Preston needs to be fired. He is arguably the person most responsible for the destruction of San Francisco.”
Also, Dean Preston needs to be fired. He is arguably the person most responsible for the destruction of San Francisco.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 22, 2023
Late on Friday, following many responses coming in favor of either not voting for him next year or recalling him, Preston fired back at Musk. In a tweet, he said that “I’m a democratic socialist who has successfully stopped thousands of evictions, housed homeless families and taxed the rich to raise hundreds of millions of $ for affordable housing. It’s no surprise that a right-wing billionaire like Musk doesn’t like me.”
I'm a democratic socialist who has successfully stopped thousands of evictions, housed homeless families and taxed the rich to raise hundreds of millions of $ for affordable housing. It’s no surprise that a right-wing billionaire like Musk doesn’t like me. https://t.co/lbYtcojrbO
— deanpreston.bsky.social (@DeanPreston) September 22, 2023
While the spat between the two has led many in the city to be divided on Preston, the disagreement did result in many in law enforcement and security to rally against Preston on Friday.
“We’re against him now more than ever,” said Frank Ma, a former law enforcement officer and security consultant. “Every cop I know has either given money or support to efforts against Preston. He’s been ticking us off for years, but just saying ‘Don’t leave valuables in your car’ rather than go to the root problem itself is despicable.”
“Even a few officers I know on the force who were always more left-leaning were not happy with what he said. First of all, taking valuables with you should already be a no-brainer. Only an idiot would recommend a simple campaign to ask people not to do something like that. Second of all, again, you need to go after the criminals. Many in San Francisco are beginning to turn on these progressive policies and we hope that more go away soon.”
“And to be fair, Preston is doing what he thinks is right and what is best for the city. We all have a perfect vision of the city, and he is trying to make it happen for him. But he needs to realize that most people don’t want what he is hawking, or takes it to the extreme. Like his rent protections. They were good for a bit when things were uncertain, but then he screwed over landlords and other people at the expense of others. It’s insidious.”
“And after this whole Musk thing of him pointing out the faults, you can see why more and more people are coming out against him.”
More on the Musk/Preston quarrel is likely to come out in the coming days.