Remember Leland Yee? Straight outa Chinatown, the San Francisco Democrat is going to the big house after being convicted of racketeering
The oddball corrupto-crat posed as an anti-gun zealot for Democrat campaign events, but was happy to engage in serious weapons trafficking with Philippines Islamic separatists
Leland first came onto my viewscreen in 2002 when he took immigrant umbrage at local native plant enthusiasts who wanted to restore indigenous foliage to parks and was quoted in the San Jose Mercury
One supervisor, Leland Yee, took umbrage at the notion that only native species should be kept, and exotic ones eradicated, comparing it to racial cleansing or “xenophobia.”
“Plants and trees without the proper pre-Mayflower lineage are called ‘invasive exotics’ and are wrenched from the soil to die,” Yee wrote in a local newspaper editorial. “How many of us are ‘invasive exotics’ who have taken root in the San Francisco soil, have thrived and flourished here, and now contribute to the diversity of the wonderful mix that constitutes present-day San Francisco?”
That degree of stupid is almost funny in the abstract, although alarming in an elected official. See my 2014 Vdare article that includes more anecdotes of the wacky-strange man who nevertheless managed to become successful in colorful San Francisco, until he wasn’t — California Immigrant Pol Leland Yee Busted For Corruption
Below, Leland with an array of multilingual campaign signs in happier days (for him). No English is visible, but “Yee Se Puede” is. Diverse!
The Taiwan animators are often Sinophile to the extreme, but they ripped Leland up and down for his gun-grabber hypocrisy when he was arrested a couple years back. So entertaining.
Leland was sentenced in San Francisco on Wednesday. Diversity didn’t save him.
Former state Sen. Leland Yee; ex-SF school board member sentenced, San Francisco Chronicle, February 24, 2016
Former state Sen. Leland Yee, a force in Bay Area politics for a quarter century, was sentenced to five years in prison and fined $20,000 by a federal judge in San Francisco on Wednesday for taking bribes from undercover agents posing as campaign contributors.
After roughly an hour of haggling between Yee and his lawyers, who argued for leniency, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer dressed down Yee in front of the court.
“I have the responsibility of sentencing the whole person,” the judge said. “You’ve done a number of very goods things but I don’t think I should be lenient.”
The judge said Yee’s crimes had undermined public faith in democratic instutitutions.
“We must be accepted by the public as having done an honest job. You abused that trust,” Breyer said.
Yee stood stoically in a dark suit. Just before he was sentenced, and after his lawyers had asked for leniency on his behalf, Yee briefly addressed the judge.
“Nothing will ever take away the pain I have caused to my friends, family, constituents and the institution I represented,” he said. “In the 67 years of my life, I’ve devoted most of it to the people here in San Francisco and in California.”
The judge took particular umbrage to Yee’s admitted participation in a gun-running conspiracy, considering his public position supporting gun control. The judge called Yee’s participation “inexplicable … unfathomable (and) hypocritical.”
“You were willing to go against your stated position for money,” Breyer said. “That’s the most venal thing I’ve seen.”
Keith Jackson, a former San Francisco school board president, was next. About an hour after Yee’s sentencing, Breyer sentenced Jackson, who served as a consultant and fundraiser for Yee, to nine years in prison for arranging the lawmaker’s payoffs from agents and accepting some of his own.
“I take full responsibility for my actions,” Jackson told the judge, before sentence was imposed. “I could have walked away and I should have walked away, but I didn’t.’’
Jackson stood quietly beside his lawyers in a brown suit and black shirt and listened to the hard words directed his way from the bench.
“You are an intelligent person who rose out of a difficult situation to become a leader in the community, so your conduct subsequent to that is perplexing,” the judge said. “The scope of your criminal involvement was enormous. It was akin to a one-person crime wave.”
Both men pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge in July. Also pleading guilty, to a separate racketeering charge, were Jackson’s son Brandon and sports agent Marlon Sullivan.
The prosecution arose from a five-year undercover investigation that targeted a Chinatown community organization, the Ghee Kung Tong, and its leader, Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, and yielded charges against 29 defendants.
Chow, the first to go to trial, was convicted last month of running the organization as a racketeering enterprise and murdering its former leader, Allen Leung, in 2006. He awaits sentencing in March and faces a mandatory life term. Federal agents said they encountered Yee through Keith Jackson, who also worked for Chow.
Yee, 67, a child psychologist by training, was first elected to the San Francisco Board of Education in 1988 and served as its president during the second of his two terms, when Jackson was also on the board. Yee won election to the Board of Supervisors from the Sunset District in 1996 and left in the middle of his second term to run successfully for the state Assembly, where he became part of the Democratic leadership.
He won the first of his two state Senate terms in 2006, representing parts of San Francisco and San Mateo counties. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor of San Francisco in 2011 and was running for secretary of state, California’s top elections officer, when he was arrested in April 2014. He suspended his campaign but still finished third in the primary election, with more than 9 percent of the vote.
One of Yee’s causes as a legislator was gun control. But in his guilty plea, Yee admitted agreeing in a March 2014 meeting with Jackson, an undercover agent and the now-deceased Wilson Lim, a Daly City dentist and Yee supporter, to illegally import weapons, including automatic firearms, from the Philippines. Yee said the agent paid him $6,800 in cash.
He also acknowledged that over a period of nearly three years, in exchange for purported campaign contributions, he arranged a meeting between a donor and another senator to discuss marijuana legislation; agreed to recommend another campaign contributor’s software company for a state contract; promised to vote for legislation restricting workers’ compensation payments to injured National Football League players, and agreed to sponsor a Senate resolution honoring Chow’s Ghee Kung Tong.
The racketeering charge was punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Prosecutors sought an eight-year sentence, describing Yee as a corrupt and cynical politician who had repeatedly demonstrated his willingness to sell his vote to the highest bidder. Yee’s lawyer urged a term of no more than five years and three months, citing Yee’s long history of public service, the public humiliation he has already suffered, and his need to care for his wife, who has cancer.
Jackson, 51, admitted in his plea agreement that he had set up the payments to Yee but also had taken payments from agents posing as mobsters for dealing cocaine and arranging a supposed murder for hire.
Prosecutors sought a 10-year sentence for Jackson, saying he had initially suggested bribing Yee and had led his son Brandon into crime. Jackson’s lawyer proposed a six-year term and said he was manipulated by agents who hired him for legitimate consulting work and later took advantage of his financial needs.