Sneaky campaign to draft Lee sullies political environment

Interim Mayor Ed Lee says he doesn't want to run, but his allies are putting pressure on him to change his mind.
Rebecca Bowe

At a time when City Hall is taking on several important issues – from the budget and pension reform to massive projects such CPMC's mega hospital and housing project and the redevelopment of Parkmerced and Treasure Island – an ambitious cabal of political operators bent of convincing Mayor Ed Lee to break his word and run for office is poisoning the environment under the dome.

A series of unfolding events over the last week makes it clear that Sup. Jane Kim's campaign team – political consultants Enrique Pearce and David Ho, Tenderloin shot-caller Randy Shaw, and their political benefactors Willie Brown and Rose Pak – are orchestrating another campaign to convince Lee to run for office, apparently abandoning the mayoral campaign of Board President David Chiu.

The Bay Citizen reported that Pearce was pursuing creation of a mayoral campaign that Lee could simply step into, while blogger Michael Petrelis caught Pearce creating fake signs of a grassroots groundswell for Lee over the weekend. That effort joins another one by the Chronicle and a couple of downtown politicos to create the appearance of popular demand for Lee to run despite a large field of well-qualified mayoral candidates representing a wide variety of constituencies.

And then today, Shaw joined the effort with a post in his Beyond Chron blog that posed as political analysis, praising the John Avalos campaign – an obvious effort to ingratiate himself to the progressive movement that Shaw alienated by aggressively pushing the Twitter tax break deal and Kim's candidacy – while trying to torpedo the other mayoral campaigns, calling for Lee to run, and offering a logic-tortured take on why the public wouldn't care if Lee breaks his word.

Pearce and Ho – who sources say have been aggressively trying to drum up support for Lee in private meetings around town over the last couple weeks – didn't return our calls. Kim, who is close to both Chiu and Avalos, told us she is withholding her mayoral endorsement until after the budget season – which, probably not coincidentally, is when Lee would get into the race if he runs.

Fog City Journal owner Luke Thomas, who Petrelis caught taking photos for Pearce over the weekend – told us Pearce's Left Coast Communications, “hired me in my capacity as a professional photographer to take photographs of people holding 'Run Ed Run!' signs and should not be construed as an endorsement of the effort to draft Ed Lee into the mayor's race.”

In an interview with the Guardian last week, Lee reiterated his pledge not to run for mayor – which was the basis for his appointment as a caretaker mayor to finish the last year of Gavin Newsom's term – but acknowledged that Pak and others have been actively trying to convince him to run. Pak has an open disdain for candidate Leland Yee and fears his ascension to Room 200 would end the strong influence that Pak and Brown have over the Mayor's Office and various department heads.

“I am not running. I've told people that. Obviously, there is a group of good friends and people who would be happy for me to make a different decision, so they're going to use their time trying to persuade me. I've told them I'm not interested and I have my personal reasons for doing that but they're not convinced that someone who has held this office for five months and not fallen into a deep abyss would not want to be in this office and run for mayor. I've been honest with people that I'm not a politician. I've never really run for office nor have I ever indicated to people that I'd like to run for mayor of San Francisco. That's just not in my nature so it's been a discussion that is very foreign to me that has been very distracting for me in many ways because I set myself a pretty aggressive piece of work that this office has to get to. The way I do it is very intensely. I do meet a lot of people and seek their input before I made a decision,” Lee told us.

Even Sup. Sean Elsbernd, who nominated Lee for mayor, told the Chronicle that he doesn't support the effort to pressure Lee into running and he feels like it could hurt sensitive efforts to craft compromises on the budget and pension reform. When asked by the Guardian whether he would categorically rule out a run for mayor, Lee told us he would.

“I've been very adamant about that yet my friends will still come up to me and they'll spend half their time talking to me about it. And I say thank you, I'm glad you're not calling me a bum and trying to kick me out,” Lee told us, noting that Pak – a longtime ally who helped engineer the deal to get Lee into office, for which Chiu was the swing vote, parting from his five one-time progressive supervisorial allies in the process – has been one of the more vociferous advocates on him running.

Asked whether there are any conditions under which he might change his mind, Lee told us, “If every one of the current supervisors in office asked me to run and those supervisors who are running voluntarily dropped out.” But Avalos says he's committed to remain in the race, and his campaign has been endorsed by three other progressive supervisors.


hi steven,

so much stinks about how ed lee was first chosen as interim mayor, and now as an astroturf campaign is underway urging him to run for a full term. thanks for staying on this smelly story, and for citing my report and pix of left coast communications' folks and luke thomas staging a photo shoot on saturday at rainbow.

of course, i'm very pleased i had my camera with me so i could grab some photographic proof of the episode at rainbow.

wish i knew why luke and left coast chose the rainbow store, on a saturday afternoon when lots of progressive voters are shopping there, to stage their shoot, and someone would ask them questions about what they were up to.

john avalos has my top vote for mayor and i plan to get a few of his signs up in my front windows this week.


Posted by MPetrelis on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

Enrique and David have crossed the line. How disheartening.

Posted by Mark Barnes on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 12:35 pm

I can't wait to see the stealth smear campaign Pak/Brown will slam Yee with. Yee is not to be trusted. Go Pak/Brown!

Posted by Guest on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 12:48 pm

Once Yee takes office the machine will break........ and new administration will come in..... GO YEE 2011!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Guest on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

Fromtrunners Avalos or Yee will axe Kawa and cut off Rose Pak and Willie Brown!

Posted by Guest on Jun. 07, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

Leland Yee who was arrested in 1992 for allegedly shoplifting an $8.09 bottle of suntan oil from a store in Kona, Hawaii and then never showed up for court on the petty misdemeanor charge.this wasn't the only time Yee had a misunderstanding with police.

Posted by Guest tropics on Sep. 23, 2011 @ 10:11 am

be sure to also check out chris roberts' piece on this phony 'run ed, run' effort over the the sf appeal site. here's the link:

there can't be too much scrutiny of this phony effort.

Posted by MPetrelis on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 1:05 pm

Who paid Left Coast Consulting for that photoshoot? SF voters wanna know! : )

Follow the money!

Posted by Guest on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 1:06 pm

ANY evidence, that this astroturf "Draft Lee!" campaign is "poisoning the environment under the dome." What legislation is being held up because of anger of this astroturf campaign? Why would legislation which has absolutely nothing to do with this campaign be held up, and by who? On what grounds? What are you talking about?

Yes you document attempts by the usual suspects to convince Lee to run. But in usual Steven Jones style you feel that simply stating something makes it fact. It doesn't. This reads more like a personal bitchfest with a lot of fear of what a Lee campaign would mean for your chosen candidates, than it does "concern" over a "poisoning of the environment under the dome."

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

When most of "her" posts are full or assertions, personal attacks, and/or ad hominems. That's rich!

Posted by M. Worrall on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

Lucretia is a commenter. Somehow I think the standards of proof are a bit different.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 3:08 pm

If you are going to assert a counter-argument or wish to prove the faults of an position or argument posted by someone else-- regardless if they are an editor or writer-- it seems reasonable to expect an actual argument, supported by evidence, to back up your criticisms. If you do not feel the need to do this --as demonstrated in many of your posts-- and believe assertions, personal attacks, and ad hominems are a substitute for an argument or insightful commentary, why should anyone take what you have to say seriously? What exactly then is your "commentary" bringing to the table, except what appears to be a pathological hatred of the editors and writers of The Guardian? (And I say this as someone who does not at all agree with The Guardian rubber stamping the Democratic Party candidate in any election.)

Posted by M. Worrall on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

The commentary is not designed to "bring something to the table." Lucretia's opinions are her own, she's not speaking as a subject matter expert. If she were she'd post under her real name. Want different commentary? Read a different commenter.

Read what Steven wrote again. He claimed the campaign to draft Ed Lee was poisoning the atmosphere at City Hall. He didn't really provide proof of that, other than insinuating that the (admittedly) astroturf campaign was making him angry. One's feelings do not substitute for concrete proof in journalism, especially considering that Steven is the city editor of the newspaper.

Sorry, when you're paid to do something and that something is journalism you have an ethical obligation to back it up with more than your "feelings." The comparison between Steven's writings as the city editor of the SFBG and a lowly Internet commenter is ridiculous.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

substance to say via her own admissions above. So why post at all, Lucretia?

Posted by M. Worrall on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 7:34 pm

I don't consider my opinion or yours or anyone's opinion to be "of substance." They're opinions - that's it. Now you may be an expert on something, in which case your viewpoint is worth something. But otherwise - no one cares.

In case you haven't noticed - this isn't The New Yorker. And neither of us is Sy Hersh.

Perhaps you should stop caring what anyone else thinks? I don't.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

about what anyone else thinks, why post at all? Why should the editors and writers of The Guardian --or anyone else for that matter-- consider your opinions and respond to them? To follow your logic: who cares if Steve has offered no evidence. as it is just your opinion and not of any substance. Steve is, therefore, under no obligation to present you with any evidence in the above blog thread or any other. (And do you really care if he does?)

Posted by M. Worrall on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 11:07 pm

You got it - the whole thing can be called "who cares?"

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 07, 2011 @ 11:08 am

Unless you get some type of self-satisfaction or validation in posting your opinions which, by your own admission, no one would should care about. You sure spend a lot of attention and time on it --I mean, you have to be always watching the site for for new threads, reading the the thread, and taking the time to write and post your opinions--which is why I never understood how you can ask other contributors here if they don't have anything better to do. Talk about ridiculous.

Posted by M. Worrall on Jun. 07, 2011 @ 8:54 pm

Read up on both philosophies and profit from their message.

Now that I've answered your question please you answer me. Why do you care what I do? Does reading my responses fulfill you in some way?

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 07, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

in my opinion, but I there are many artists whose work I admire and champion that have a nihilistic world view, such as Fritz Lang and Robert Bresson. Do you mean "postmodernist"? I see more elements of solipsism in your posts than I do postmodernism. (Unless you consider posting supposedly arch and snarky postmodern.)

Having this discussion with you has fulfilled my suspicion that you are quite silly. That's Entertainment!

Posted by M. Worrall on Jun. 07, 2011 @ 9:42 pm

.. in nihilism, in my opinion, but I there are many artists whose work I admire and champion that have a nihilistic world view, such as Fritz Lang and Robert Bresson. Do you mean "postmodernist"? I see more elements of solipsism in your posts than I do postmodernism. (Unless you consider posting supposedly arch and snarky comments postmodern.)

Having this discussion with you has fulfilled my suspicion that you are quite silly. That's Entertainment!

Posted by M. Worrall on Jun. 07, 2011 @ 9:45 pm

Issues in my field for example. But Steven's writings? No. Although I have to admit he looks good with his shirt off working it on the dance floor.

Have a good night ;-)

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 07, 2011 @ 10:27 pm

"Nowhere in this story do you provide any evidence ANY evidence, that this astroturf 'Draft Lee!' campaign is 'poisoning the environment under the dome.'"

- Lucretia

What? Evidence in a piece written by Steven T. Jones? Surely you jest!

This is the same Steven T. Jones who said Dennis Kucinich should carpet-bag to SF in order to challenge Nancy Pelosi in the name of progressive politics.

This is the same Steven T. Jones who claimed that Burning Man is a model for a better America.

This is the same Steven T. Jones who wrote angry responses to others' posts, at the same time saying their posts were not worth responding to.

What has caused journalism at The Guardian to take a dive south in recent years?

Is it all the medical marijuana? All the medical alcohol? Or what?

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

Think about it,

If either of the Guardian's present choices for Mayor (Yee or Avalos) are elected, they're certainly not going to appoint Lee back to the City Administrator post. Even if it would be legal. That should give the man a motive to run.

Run Ed Run!

Adachi for Mayor!!

Avalos for Mayor!!!

Gonzalez for Mayor!!!!

Go Giants

Tippicanoe and Tyler too!


Posted by Guest h. brown on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

Actually, the opposite would be true. If Lee enters and loses, the new mayor may not want him around, and with good reason.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 6:10 pm

Great minds think alike? I wrote my response below but that's the first thing that came into my mind.

A lot of people assume that Ed Lee is the presumptive favorite. But when nice guy non-politician Ed Lee morphs into lying, double-crossing politician Ed Lee, everything would change.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 6:26 pm

Who says the next mayor will reappoint Ed Lee?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 7:50 pm

Some responses, Steven T. Jones, to your article above.

You say:

“an ambitious cabal of political operators bent of convincing Mayor Ed Lee to break his word and run for office is poisoning the environment under the dome”

Is this cabal the same as the “Jewish cabal” that progressive h brown claims is running City Hall?

You say:

“And then today, Shaw joined the effort”

Wow, this is getting pretty big for a cabal. When does a cabal become a movement?

You say:

“Lee … acknowledged that Pak and others have been actively trying to convince him to run.”

How does this acknowledgment by Lee differ from being honest?

Bottom line:

If progressives weren’t so insecure about their own mayoral standard-bearer, they wouldn’t be paranoid about any of this.

How has it happened that the progressives, after 10 years of controlling the supes, are unable to come up with a strong candidate for mayor?

Is this also due to a “cabal”?

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

Anybody else think Arthur Evans needs a job? Or a life?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

I don't know if the job pays or not, but I would say that Arthur Evans definitely has a life, here on the Guardian politics blog, where he gets to masturbate in the comments section 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 07, 2011 @ 6:25 am

To paraphrase Diogenes, if only Arthur Evans could fill that void that devours him with a good raucous fuck the way he fills his needp to spite with his masturbation in the agora of ideas!

Posted by Guest on Jun. 07, 2011 @ 1:55 pm

Our local progressive sect seems not to have learned the lesson yet of ranked-choice voting (RCV). Namely, that paranoid attacks are counterproductive.

Voters who may agree somewhat with a candidate or issue, but also have some doubts, are commonly demonized by our local progressive sect. They want 100% agreement, or else they label you as a right-winger.

The effect of paranoid demonization is to reduce the likelihood of undecided voters voting for progressives as their second or third choices. Why should they, after having been demonized?

The mentality of paranoid demonization is in play in the current piece by Steven T. Jones. He regards various people who are even speculating about a mayoral run by Ed Lee as part of a "cabal."

This mentality is not that different from that of h brown. who sees everything as part of a "Jewish cabal" - and in the name of progressive politics!

My guess is that the progressive standard-bearer, John Avalos, is aware of the pitfalls of paranoid demonization by his supporters. They themselves, however, seem determined to destroy his chances under RCV.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 3:31 pm

What if there is more to all of this?

A good chess player attempts to make in any given move, a change that will leverage as many different successful lines of attack and defense for that player as possible, with just that one shift of a piece. Always work for more than one objective with each move.

So what if Ed Lee is indeed rock solid in his stand against running, and Pak, Brown, and Steve Kawa know this full well.

What are their other objectives?

Do they (and their corporate and developer backers) dislike Lee's budget compromise so much that they are throwing the phantom threat of a potential Lee mayoral run into the mix, to upset the apple cart so that they can then step in and manipulate the mess if they succeed?

Are they trying to intimidate mayoral candidates to drop out, for fear of having wasted resources if Lee enters the race?


What else might this tawdry move accomplish in their dirty game...?

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 4:24 pm

He/She/It, Lucie is more appropriately referred to as 'secretions', if you want to engage in any kind of meaningful, insightful discussion, always just ignore the 'secretions'; shun the vast majority of nameless 'guests'; Sambo is simple; The Commish has the attention span of a geriactic gnat; and remember that Ruthie and Mattie are just a couple of feeble old wankers, though it was kinda fun locking horns with Mattie the past couple of days. I, on the other hand, am infallible and indestructible.

Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 4:27 pm

Indeed, I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised to see 'Matlock' put forward a calm, reasoned, and well considered argument in the Herrera thread.

I hope this is a sign of better things to come from all of the bloggers posting to the SFBG site...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

I also posted a similar, somewhat reluctant, acknowledgement, It was kinda refreshing.
However Lucie continues to spew puerile secretions; Ruthie is such a tired old tosser; and the 'guests', as always, nameless ciphers, full of smoke and signifying - nothing.

Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 10:35 pm

"What else might this tawdry move accomplish in their dirty game...?"

- Eric Brooks

It's all a big cabal !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 4:44 pm

Your head is a big cabal focused inward on its own navel Arthur.

Try St. John's Wort...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 6:44 pm


I'll share 5 of these with you if you want. One each day. I don't have money for flowers but I want to use what I have ...

Tell me to post no more of em if you want:

Firehouse food ... best restaurant in town

(in memory of SFFD's Vince Perez and Anthony Valerio)


My writing this week will be dedicated to the two brave San Francisco firefighters who fell in the line of duty last Thursday in Diamond Heights and whose joint funerals will be this Friday at St. Mary's Cathedral.

In my youth I was a firefighter and I'll never be prouder of any job that I've held in my life. I want to relate a few stories from the 5 years I spent fighting fires back in Missouri in the early 70's. Once a smoke-eater, always a smoke-eater. Let me start with breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Freshly caught trout and bass. A deer killed with a long bow. Wild turkey and pheasant. Eggs from free range chickens and honey and homemade cheeses. Pork and beef never injected with hormones. Tomatoes and strawberries and every kind of melon just off the vine. Greens untouched by insecticides. Ears of corn you'd swear the Jolly Green Giant grew.

I've never eaten better than I ate in the firehouses back in St. Louis County in Missouri. Mine was a small department with 3 firehouses and around 35 guys (through 'mutual aid' we became a hundred quickly at multi-alarms) ... but, of those 35 guys there were always 3 or 4 who could cook with any master chef in town and St. Louis has lots of great restaurants.

And I mean, the guys who cooked loved to cook and were ever inventive. They prepped and cooked from the time they walked in the door in the morning until we walked out the next morning. Oh, we did all of the constant training and study to keep our edge as coordinated strike teams on the fire ground but, those 3 or 4 guys (there were no women then and that's a shame) ... they were gods to us and we took care of them. While duties rotated, from daily cleaning underneath the apparatus with kerosene drenched shop towels to house and grounds maintenance ... we made certain they stayed in the kitchen.

About half of them had farms and some drove up to 100 miles and back 10 times a month to work. It was worth it to say the least. Pretty much everyone was a hunter and a fisherman and guys sat around custom set-ups tying flies for fishing or practiced archery in the engine room or fine-tuned antique guns while the rest of us polished and varnished and scrubbed and rotated hoses and checked and re-checked everything from spine boards (which we made ourselves) to antique ladders (did you know the SFFD has some wooden ladders in perfect shape after being in service for 100 years?) ... the business of the Fire Service buzzed on for our 24 hour shifts but always in the background someone was making the next incredible meal for you in the kitchen.

I was on permanent kitchen KP duty which was just fine for all. The youngest of a family of 8 kids with 4 older sisters I learned early on how to stand on a stool to wash dishes and get on my knees to scrub cabinets and the floor. I got to be (and still am) one hell of a janitor.

Other crews rotated the job of cleaning up and assisting the cook/s cause lots of guys thought kitchen work was for sissies and the cooks could be temperamental and I always obeyed them with no guff as I did my sisters growing up and it worked out. I'd trade duties with someone who like the smell and feel of oil and fuels more than I and we always had a sparkling kitchen and good Lord, the spreads of food we laid out.

Lunch was the big meal and we'd have anywhere from a dozen to fifteen sitting down with an appetite peaked from morning drills with ladders and dragging hose lines and practicing on logs with chain saws and K-12's (particle blade circle saws that could cut through layers of ancient city tar roofs and even steel) ... the companies from 3 houses were there for lunch and as I said, what a spread. A full turkey dinner with side dishes of fish and every platter you can imagine all the way down to fresh baked pies was not unusual.

I'll close today's piece with the firehouse dog (they were great companions for the horses in the old days) who changed every decade or so but was always a dalmatian and always named, 'Sparky' (original, huh?). Two things defined our dog.

Our 'Sparky' rode the truck to fires although that practice had mostly been abandoned at firehouses around the country decades before. He was always first into the fire looking for victims and making a hell of a ruckus. He got to go with with us because if you left him behind he had no problem opening a hot oven and taking out a 350 degrees hot turkey (hey, he was used heat) and ... you get the idea.

Sparky's was always first on the truck, springing to the hose bed where he clung to the carefully packed 'skid' (more on that later) from which position he howled with the siren all the way to the fire, but first ... but first ...

If you were a 'backstepper' that day you learned to duck as you pulled out of the engine house and hit the street cause first thing Sparky would do was to lift his leg and piss a true stream to clear his bladder so's he'd be unencumbered for the work ahead.

Tomorrow: Training and equipment and inspections.

Go Giants!


Posted by Guest h. brown on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 5:31 pm

luv ya h.

Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 10:38 pm

luv ya h.

Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 10:38 pm

All I can say is vote for Avalos as your first choice for Mayor!
PS Arthur Evans' obituary has been distributed to many people (by Arthur) yet he is still writing letters, apparently from the Netherworld.

Posted by Guest Jerry on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 5:36 pm

So if you're voting for Avalos first, consider Yee second. The important thing is to make a clean break with the ossified power structure that's in there now. The two candidates who will do that are Yee and Avalos. That power structure is clearly flailing in desperation right now, but it's not dead. We could lose our best shot at the mayor's race in 20 years if progressives go into the election divided.

As for Arthur Evans... the world does not revolve around Arthur Evans. He's an old neurotic crank, and I mostly try to ignore him. Best advice: just skip over his long posts.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 6:46 pm

"The important thing is to make a clean break with the ossified power structure that's in there now. The two candidates who will do that are Yee and Avalos."

- Greg

Thanks for making a post free of obscenities.

However, I'm surprised to see you claim that Leland Yee will "make a clean break with the ossified power structure."

Yee is not a bad person, but he is a typical politician. He tells each group what they want to hear and then makes moves based solely with an eye to promoting his own career.

John Avalos, on the other hand, gets credit for authenticity. His campaign is based on issues that he has long championed consistently.

The problem for Avalos is reaching out to those who do not already agree with his views. He will need the support of a substantial number of them to win.

That support is not likely to materialize as long as his core supporters continue to demonize people who do not already agree 100% with all their dogmas.

You don't have to be a political scientist to figure this out.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 9:18 pm

Rose Pak says "anyone but Leland Yee."

For people who are concerned about making a break with the current corrupt power structure, that's about as good of an endorsement as you can get.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 9:39 pm

All this bs about leland yee somehow lining up as a good second to Avalos is bizarre to me. I often respect greg's opinions, but his bling cheerleading for Yee baffles me.

On one hand we have Avalos, who has been a champion. He clearly makes decisions based on long developed principles and needs of his constituents. He stands for things even when they seem like they could hurt him politically, and after interacting with him for 2 minutes, it is clear that he is a genuine person.

Leland Yee on the flip side represents just about everything that Avalos does not. He is a totally unprincipled slimy politician who will pander to anyone who he thinks will support him. He voted against transgender benefits: and now ten years later tries to turn around and act like a champion of gay rights. Has the gal to claim that he was confused about the vote. He has had a bad record on tenant issues in the past, but now he is supposedly a changed man. First he calls the ban on shark fin soup racist, then when he gets pushback claims that he is against shark finning. Greg, I have seen your tortured excuses around this, so you don't have to repeat them. Have you ever seen leland yee speak in public? It is repulsive. You just get the feeling that he is lying to you. To be honest, every time I think about leland yee, he becomes more repulsive and the idea of pinching my nose and voting for him #2 becomes less realistic.

I certainly don't like who is lining up behind dufty and especially herrera, but they don't seem like such slime balls.

Posted by AnotherGuest on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 10:20 pm

It's groups like the Sierra Club, the California Nurses Association, the Tenant's Union the last time around, etc. A lot of decent, progressive folks have recognized that he's come around on a whole number of issues. And I do think he's genuinely come around.

Shark fin soup? Please. To be perfectly honest, this isn't exactly high on my issues list, but for what it's worth, I think his position was 100% the correct one -oppose the practice, and oppose that bill because it was a lousy bill. My explanations weren't tortured. They were quite sincere; it's just that the position doesn't fit well into a soundbite.

Tenants? He's totally changed. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I wouldn't support him in a million years if I thought he'd screw with rent control. But the Tenants Union endorsed him the last time, and if he's good enough for them, then he's good enough for this renter.

Transgender benefits? This was ages ago, and he's since apologized for that vote and made peace with the LGBT community. I believe he was sincere.

Look, the guy comes from a very conservative background. But since his early career, he's expanded his coalition tremendously, and as the coalition has grown, he's grown personally. That coalition now includes Asians, progressives, LGBT folks, students, tenants, and labor. What it does NOT include, is the Brown/Pak/Newsom machine which this town desperately needs to dump. The same can not be said for Chiu, Herrera, or Dufty.

For the last few years, he's been a damn good vote on the DCCC and in Sacramento. You can speculate on his motives however you like. I prefer to believe that he's sincerely grown. A more cynical view would be that he recognizes the value of building coalitions for his political advancement. But whatever the reasons, it is an undeniable FACT that since building those coalitions, he hasn't turned around and double-crossed them (unlike some who are doing it as we speak).

Some people apparently hold grudges forever and ever, but whenever I challenge any of these folks to come up with a reason, all they can do is dig up ancient history along with a "feeling" of distrust. Seriously, isn't it time we cut the guy some slack already? I mean, exactly how long does a person have to serve in political purgatory before they prove that they've changed? I guess for some people the answer is forever. I don't know if I can break through that, but all I can say is that you're shooting yourself in the foot with that attitude.

And BTW, none of this is to take anything away from John Avalos. I'm supporting both of them. I'm voting for both of them, so my "bling cheerleading" isn't just for Yee.

And as for Arthur... he's just a slimy snake who's trying to sow divisions within the ranks of progressives. I would hope that it's as obvious to you as it is to me.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 11:38 pm

He is a sad man.

I see eye to eye with you that people should be given the opportunity to change, grown etc. and often it is frustrating for me to watch how quick the cadre [of almost always angry white men] jump all over people for one bad vote or whatever and hold it against them forever, with no chance of redemption. It is petty, and more than that, counter productive to building coalitions with people who most of the time we agree with anyhow. I see that here all the time, often by people who I know, and it is a major bummer. If you never allow people space to change, then they are stuck in a bad place.

With that said, something deep inside of me just straight up doesn't trust Leland Yee. When I see him speak, it is literally repulsive to me. He seems like a totally uninspiring mayor to me. While I like the sierra club and CNA, I also know how endorsements work, and I have a similar reaction to John Rizzo, for example. I think that Yee got those endorsements because he is good at being a politician and for little other than that. I would be surprised if he gets anything higher than 3rd on TU endorsement.

Posted by AnotherGuest on Jun. 07, 2011 @ 12:39 am

when you say that people jump all over someone for one bad vote and hold it against them forever. I always try to look at the whole record.

I guess I take a somewhat better view of Leland because I've dealt with him on a closer level than just hearing him speak. I find that he really does listen to the concerns of people who aren't coming from the same place. If that's because he's a good politician, then so be it. But I've never once felt double-crossed or betrayed once he's come around. You might argue that's also because he's a good politician, and maybe you're right. I think one of the things a good politician learns, is that you don't crap on the coalitions you've worked hard to build.

That's something that David Chiu, for example, has yet to learn. Perhaps it's because he hasn't worked so hard to build it, but rather just inherited the coalition, so maybe he doesn't value it as much. And BTW... if it was only one vote, he could be forgiven, but it's been a whole pattern of machiavellian treachery since the day he took office, culminating in the backroom deal that allowed a bureacrat handpicked by Willie Brown and Rose Pak to become mayor. And then there was ParkMerced, which was SO egregious, and SO immediate.... maybe one day he'll be forgiven for that, but there's no way we should even consider rewarding him by making him mayor right now.

As for the TU... personally, I'd be stunned if they don't give Leland Yee their #2. I understand that John Avalos will likely be 1st, and he should be. But then who? Dennis Herrera, who's cozying up to downtown? Bevan Dufty??? David Chiu, after ParkMerced? They need to think about who is going to keep the door open to tenants' interests. John Avalos is a warrior for tenants. Leland Yee is not in that league. But of all the remaining candidates, he's the only one who's going to be open to tenants' interests. And that will be a welcome change from the last 20 years.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 07, 2011 @ 8:01 am

Dear SFBG Editor(s),

I don't know if you take requests, but I would love it if you could do a piece on Leland Yee that would answer some of the questions that I'm sure many of us have concerning Yee's record. For instance, what is his actual voting record over the past five years with regard to tenant issues/ affordable housing? Why did he oppose Mark Leno's 2003 bill that protected SRO residents under the Ellis act. Has he really changed?

Also, can we trust Yee on the environment/ land use issues? According to SFist, "Yee cast one of only three votes in the State Senate last week against SB 388. Supported by major environmental groups (including the Sierra Club) and Native American tribes, the legislation will block a large landfill in San Diego County that environmentalists have objected to for years. Bill opponents include the Waste Management Inc. company, whose PAC last year gave Yee a $2,500 contribution." (Note: This is not ancient history, but one of his more recent votes.)

And what do you make of a candidate who takes money from PG&E and the pharmaceutical/ health care insurance industry? During his 2010 reelection bid, Yee received $4,500 from Pfizer Inc.; $5,000 from the Clorox Co.; $6,300 from Time Warner Cable; $3,900 from PG&E; $2,500 from Waste Management and affiliates. Has this money influenced his votes in any way, as far as you can tell?

And what about the claim that he has changed his vote after the fact more than any other senator? Did he do that to deceive the electorate into believing that he's more progressive than he is?

I respect Greg and Eric Brooks for their political savvy and their insights, but I feel like I need more information before I make up my mind to support Yee. I'd truly appreciate an in-depth look at Yee's (actual) record if any of your reporters cares to tackle it. Thanks.

Posted by Lisa on Jun. 09, 2011 @ 5:40 pm