Friday, September 19, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Yee, ‘Shrimp Boy’ and the last hustle

By
From page A12 | April 06, 2014 |

One does not often emerge from San Francisco politics smelling like a rose. It is a city of intensely parochial loyalties, where success is earned by building coalitions of voters from the city’s patchwork of diverse neighborhoods. The currency is sweat, tears and favors — the raw ingredients of the hustle.

Out of this environment of back-room dealmaking, Leland Yee emerged as a champion of transparency and accountability. First as an assemblyman, and then a state senator, here was one S.F. politician who stood for something different. Was it too good to be true?

Was it ever …

YEE FIRST came to our attention in about 2009, when he decided to take on executive compensation at the University of California and Cal State University systems. We would later learn that the almost-daily barrage of press releases was typical of his approach; once he got his teeth into an issue, he did everything he could to raise awareness and bring pressure on those he saw as obstacles to change.

At the height of the financial crisis, as public universities piled on fees and cut classes, Yee was unrelenting in his criticism of the ever-increasing salaries that university officials received. There wasn’t a hire or a promotion in either system that didn’t draw a scathing response from his office.

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi was a favorite target. When UC hired her from the University of Illinois, Yee insisted on a fuller accounting of an admissions scandal that had rocked that institution. When Katehi clarified that the scandal had nothing to do with her, Yee was unmoved: “It’s interesting that she says, ‘It’s above my pay grade,’ and that’s that,” he told The San Francisco Chronicle. “Is she going to continue this ‘see no evil, hear no evil,’ approach, and just cover up what may be going on?”

Later, after the infamous pepper-spraying incident at UCD, he publicly slammed her response to the crisis. The hustle had come to academia.

As the improving economy made the situation on campus less dire, he turned his focus elsewhere. Open government became his focus, and he won praise in this and other papers for his efforts to improve open-meeting laws. And, setting his sights on California secretary of state job, he began pushing for improved gun control, as well as more restrictions on violent video games.

SO IT WAS a shock when the news came down last week that state Sen. Leland Yee had been arrested in an FBI sting on political corruption and gun-running charges. The open-government and anti-gun advocate was accused of taking bribes and setting up arms-smuggling deals.

The documents in the case paint a lurid picture, straight out of a pulp detective novel: a mysterious “reformed” gangster named Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow; Chinatown social clubs that may or may not be fronts for organized crime; Eastern European arms dealers; and Philippine rebel groups.

The Leland Yee that emerges is the complete antithesis of his public persona; an unprincipled opportunist ready and willing to do anything for a price. It was the ultimate hustle.

But now it’s all gone. His campaign for secretary of state is over, and his fellow state senators suspended him from the Legislature. Instead of his once-glittering career, now he faces years in prison and disgrace. And we, the voters, are left with nothing but one more lesson in politicians who are too good to be true.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Grant means new push for moving tracks out of town

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Some say council needs to reconsider MRAP

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    UC to create $250 million venture capital fund

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A1

     
    School district may redevelop downtown site

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1

     
    Master Gardeners share their wisdom at free workshops

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Scots vote to stay in UK

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    France strikes Islamic State group’s depot in Iraq

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Man faces arson charge in huge California wildfire

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    DUI suspected in crash

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Volunteers sought to make veggie bags

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Storyteller will draw on music, dance

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Woodland Healthcare offering flu shots

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Putah Creek Bike Path to close temporarily

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Little Free Libraries open at Montgomery

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

    Project Linus seeks donations

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Rabid bat found at Holmes Junior High

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Students invited to apply for Blue & White grants

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Halloween costume sale benefits preschool

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Telling tales, on ‘Davisville’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Register to vote by Oct. 20

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Free workout class set at library

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Explorit: Lots of ways to be a volunteer

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Sierra Club remembers longtime walker

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    DHS Classes of 1954 and 1955 will hold 60th reunion

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Nonprofits can get DCN’s help

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Davis maps available at Chamber office

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Reception benefits endangered gorillas

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Downtown history tour planned in October

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Sutter Farmers Market offers local goods

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    Wolk applauds approval of stronger rules for olive oil

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Davis hosts its own climate change rally

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Qigong classes available for heart health

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Forum

    Sick of being the bad guy

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Cheers and Jeers: Not the end of the rainbow

    By Our View | From Page: A6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    Return to previous plan

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Save the ‘pine cone place’

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Affirm our community values

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Project has safety risks

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Learn more about Paso Fino

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Educate homeless with dogs

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

     
    .

    Sports

    Blue Devil volleyballers hold off Herd

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggies’ new energy could be scary for Big West

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    No rest for the weary: Aggie TE Martindale busy on and off the field

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devils hope the light bulb turns on at Edison

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    River Cats and Giants sign two-year deal

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Take Zona and Bama this week

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: B2

    Mustangs are no match for DHS boys in water polo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    A’s slide continues as Rangers sweep

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    Name Droppers: Awards keep coming for UC Davis retiree

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Business

    Redesigned 2015 Escalade remains breed all its own

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Carol L. Walsh

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, September 19, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

    Taylor Morrison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

    Malek Baroody

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Norcal Land

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

    Robin Garland

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

    Dana Hawkins

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Karen Waggoner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Lynne Wegner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Martha Bernauer

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Joe Kaplan

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Remax

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Melrina A Maggiora

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

    Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Julie Leonard

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

    Kim Eichorn

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Jamie Madison & Associates

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Marcelo Campos

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Julie Partain

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Kim Merrel Lamb

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Bob Bockwinkel

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Juan Ramirez

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Chris Snow

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    James Hanna

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Raul Zamora

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Susan von Geldern

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Travis Credit Union

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20

    Jamie Madison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Karen Waggoner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Tracy Harris

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER22

    Lisa Haass

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER22

    First Street Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER24