Wednesday, July 23, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Yee, ‘Shrimp Boy’ and the last hustle

Web_OurView_YourView

By
From page A8 | 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 San Francisco 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 California 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 UC Davis, 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 for his efforts to improve open-meeting laws. Then, 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 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.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 3 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Dave ShreeveApril 06, 2014 - 10:35 am

    Interesting how this editorial never mentions that Yee is a Democrat. I highly doubt that would have been the case if he was a Republican.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich GiddensApril 06, 2014 - 12:56 pm

    I would like to know why State Senator Yee wasn't charged with terrorism charges by the Feds!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich GiddensApril 06, 2014 - 12:59 pm

    Glen, you failed to mention Yee's sponsorship of immigration insanity---driver's licences for illegal aliens and non-cooperation in immigration matters between State and Federal authorities.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Fairfield labor pact wins City Council OK

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 9 Comments | Gallery

 
 
 
Solano leaders feel left out of Delta decision-making

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3

Polk first to file for Fairfield council

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Dally seeks to retain seat on Vacaville school board

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
Carpenters training center set to expand in Fairfield

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5, 5 Comments | Gallery

 
Governor signs 2 bills by Frazier into law

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5

 
Library friends set spring book sale

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A6

 
Video chair exercise class returns to senior center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

2 Vacaville homes hit by gunfire

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

 
Man, woman, comic and dance contest primed for box office

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

 
Rockville Trails hike on August calendar

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
Mayor’s Commission on Crime hears from community

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A12, 12 Comments | Gallery

.

US / World

Dueling rulings: Courts split on health law clash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
IRS employee charged with identity theft

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Assailants sought in fatal train platform beating

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Senate, House on collision course on border money

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

ACLU may fight for California migrant shelter

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9, 1 Comment

 
Board puts soda tax before San Francisco voters

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

George Harrison memorial tree killed by beetles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
California agency to consider hiring “water cops”

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Gaza blockade key to any Israel-Hamas truce deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Mexican-born professor eyed for state high court

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Airlines ban flights to Israel after rocket strike

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
AP source: Thieves got into 1K StubHub accounts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Obama nominee McDonald pledges to ‘transform’ VA

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Body of missing S. Korean shipping tycoon found

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Crews make gains on massive Washington wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
11 parents of Nigeria’s abducted girls die

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Lax security at crash site hampers investigations

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Plane crash bodies removed from war zone

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

.

Opinion

 
 
Walmart donation benefits Meals on Wheels

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

Batson’s column on Mideast peace is wrong

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 5 Comments

 
Fix our problems first

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 7 Comments

.

Living

Today in History for July 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: July 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

How to argue appropriately with your mate

By Barton Goldsmith | From Page: A2

 
10 Things: 10 fresh ways to use fresh blueberries

By J.M. Hirsch | From Page: B6

Horoscopes for July 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B6

 
Bulking up the classic BLT without adding fat

By Sara Moulton | From Page: B6

I’m tired of my parents judging me because of who I date

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B6

 
A summer sausage roll with a triple dose of fennel

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Entertainment

‘Downton Abbey’ back on Jan. 4 for season 5

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
‘X-Men’ VR experience coming to Comic-Con

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

 
.

Sports

Raiders enter camp with ‘chip’ on shoulders

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
49ers start fresh after forgettable offseason

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Giants beat Phillies 9-6 in 14 innings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

A’s agree to 10-year lease to stay in Oakland

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Selig still waiting on Tommy John report

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

AP source: Cavs to sign Andrew Wiggins to contract

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Paterno son, other former assistant sue Penn State

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Pyrenees please Nibali, Rogers in Tour Stage 16

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Warriors announce Brandon Rush’s signing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

CEO: Rivers to quit Clippers if Sterling stays

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Racehorse owned by Britain’s queen fails dope test

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Mudcats score early, get 7-3 win over South Bay Storm

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B3

 
Seahawks start atop AP Pro32 rankings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Business

Ackman goes after Herbalife’s nutrition clubs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8, 1 Comment

 
China meat scandal hits Starbucks, Burger King

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Solid earnings drive more gains in US stocks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Microsoft 4Q earnings hurt by Nokia acquisition

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Apple post biggest earnings gain in nearly 2 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
One in every 25 New Yorkers is a millionaire, study says

By Los Angeles Times | From Page: B8

California firm issues nationwide fruit recall

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Obituaries

Joseph Ross Smith Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
John Klefstad

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Shirley T. ‘Mac’ McFadden

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 4 Comments

 
.

Comics

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6