Sunday, April 19, 2015
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

.

News

Aggie Pride on parade at UC Davis Picnic Day

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
City wants a study of sewer rates

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

Hard-of-hearing student needs community’s help

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
KDVS fund drive includes on-air pledging, plus parties and food

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Art helped sell California’s agriculture

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Sign up now for Celebrate Davis!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

Students, families can get after-hours Internet access

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Lawyers seek resolution to Davis molest case

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

Garamendi hosts conference for women

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
‘Invaluable public servant’ retires after 20 years

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Your brain’s aging and a new report urges ways to stay sharp

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Injury-proof yourself for effective exercise

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Understanding risks can help women prevent leading health threats

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Get some advice at Connections Café

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

Eyewitness speaks about Israel’s election

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Free gardening advice offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
Grad Night tickets on sale online

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

Schenker speaks about ‘Magical Mexico’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
Yolo County DA honors crime victims at annual tribute

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

Holman offers Publishing 101 seminar

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
Radio-controlled airplanes will race April 25-26

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

Vote with your dollars at Davis Food Co-op

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
Woodland bike rides set every Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

Join the 10,000-vegetable challenge!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9Comments are off for this post

 
NAMI group offers family support

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Birding tour will benefit Putah Creek Council

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Watershed Wonders activities return to Putah Creek

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

Yolo County Neighborhood Court seeks new volunteers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

 
UCD looks at building a better brain as we age

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

‘Vault’ highlights ‘Kathak’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Two drought-preparedness water bills pass out of Senate committees

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

Picnic Day favorites: dogs, bikes science

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A13 | Gallery

 
Strike up the band, and the bubbles!

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A14 | Gallery

.

Forum

 
John Cole cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: B6

 
Yolo Crisis Nursery still needs help

By Our View | From Page: B6

Drink up, kids, but make your choice a healthy one

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

 
Leash your dogs; it’s the law

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B6

Speak out

By Debbie Davis | From Page: B7

 
Let’s not turn our backs on the Earth

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B7

This Earth Day, make a pledge to cool your home

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B7

 
.

Sports

Fast Aggie start negated by 14-0 USC lacrosse run

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Stagnant second-half offense sinks Devil girls

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Over the hump? DHS baseball team wins late

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Lambdin, Marshall lead Aggies at Mt. SAC

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Republic FC gets another win at Bonney

By Evan Ream | From Page: B2

 
UCD roundup: Aggies sweep a water polo double dip

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Busy Clancy, Hall spark Devil tracksters at Mt. SAC

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Former DHS star Drexel returns to create havoc for Aggies

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B4 | Gallery

Sports briefs: Blue Devils split a pair of tennis matches

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B14 | Gallery

 
Pro baseball roundup: Oakland blanks Kansas City

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Marrone Bio Innovations strengthens its sales team

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

 
New phase opens at Brookfield Cottages

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

Tucos closes; new Japanese, pizza, subs debut

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
WISH grant funds available to eligible homebuyers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

.

Obituaries

Jody Zewe

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Ruth Rodenbeck Stumpf

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Herman Timm

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Robert Leigh Cordrey

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Alice Catherine Micheltorena

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, April 19, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8