The problem with the Lee investigations

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Six major mayoral candidates, including John Avalos, Dennis Herrera and Leland Yee, have once again called on the Fair Political Practices Commission to investigate the Ed Lee voter-fraud charges. That's what needs to happen, of course. And the district attorney should do a thorough investigation and file criminal charges if warranted.

But there's a basic problem here, and it goes to the heart of what's wrong with the Lee campaign and with his whole approach to running for office. See, even if the FPPC finds a problem, what's going to happen? The campaign will have to pay a fine (which, given all of the rich supporters of Lee, will be easy to pay).  If the D.A. finds that laws have been broken, some low-level folks or people who solicited contributions improperly will face prosecution -- and most likely cut a deal and pay a fine and get probation.

By then, of course, if all goes as predicted, Lee will have won the election. So as far as he and his key allies are concerned, none of this really matters.

Once he's elected mayor, he figures (probably correctly) that this will all blow over. The FPPC investigation won't be concluded for months. The D.A. clearly isn't going to file charges against anyone before Election Day. Besides, according to the Department of Elections, 44,000 people had already voted by the time the latest stories broke Nov. 2. Many of them are Lee votes.

No matter how flawed the election, how much sleazy, inappropriate or criminal activity was involved, there's no way the results will be thrown out. There's no way the election of Ed Lee will be voided. If all of the tactics of Lee supporters work and he comes out on top, there will be no consequences for him. When it comes to San Francisco elections, cheating works -- Willie Brown learned that long ago.

That's why Ed Lee scares me: He's allowing his supporters to use a corrupt playbook that assumes that the rules don't matter, that winning at all costs is the only issue, that ethics and clean government can be dismissed as side issues. Once you start down that road, there's no going back. Once you set that tone at City Hall, every half-assed crook and con artist will be convinced it's open season. And I just don't see Lee as strong enough to stop it.

UPDATE: Avalos just called and told me he wasn't aware that the other candidates were calling on the FPPC to investigate and wasn't at the press conference where that announcement was made. Sorry 'bout that, a miscommunication.

 

Comments

Start preparing Mr Ed Recall now. What would we have to lose, except for time, and as we all should know, despite who 'wins', that is growing desperately short if our society and planet is going to survive.
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GO NINERS.

Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Nov. 03, 2011 @ 11:09 am

Now that the race is close, Bay Citizen's funders are showing what they are really all about (keeping the power structure entrenched) and that they can't keep their fingers off of their editorial staff.

Their front page today is a joke, that is completely plastered with puff pieces designed to increase Ed Lee's name recognition and paint him as a 'regular guy'.

Same shit different publishers.

But what else do we expect from a paper under the umbrella of the 'weapons-of mass-destruction' pedaling New York Times...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

No way the front-collected ballots should be counted. Perhaps the whole election should be a do-over, but there's no reason the IRV can't be run without Lee's name, if necessary.
"Too many of Ed Lee's supporters act as though they're above the law -- on money laundering, on ballot tampering, and more -- and Ed Lee isn't strong enough to stop it. If this is how they behave before an election, just imagine how they'll behave after the election, if Ed Lee wins."-Herrera

Whatever you can get away with = the MO, the playbook. Pay a fine, a fee, as long as you've bought the results, it's just the cost of 'doing business' with the Family. This brazen crowd is "The City Family" on steroids.

We need a direct appeal, not through Gascon's Office, to get a massive audit underway, as these ballots/counts arrive, noting from where.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 03, 2011 @ 11:13 am

Not a single allegation has been proven yet. There aren't even any cases filed. So there is no pretext to interfere with the election.

If it eventually turns out there was a problem, we can deal with it then.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 03, 2011 @ 11:45 am

...have any of those 44,000 voters come forward and said that they wanted to change their votes?

Yes, it would be great if Tim Redmond could declare that legally cast votes are now invalid. Don't think the system works like that.

And what of the 44,000 who voted for Avalos, saw his proposal to officially support the OWS encampments and then witnessed the unfortunate unexpected consequences of the Oakland encampment.

Let me guess, we don't throw those votes out because they are Progressive.

Posted by District 3 Vet on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 10:10 am

His real motive is to disenfranchise ChinaTown votes which, he knows, are a solid block of Lee votes that quite possibly are sufficient to carry him through in such a split field.

Poor journalism.

Posted by Anonymous on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 11:37 am

The accusers are his opponents, who would gain if Lee were forced to stand down. So clearly they're merely being opportunistic here.

And if the DA is going to do a serious investigation, then that's going to take time and most likely won't be complete until after the election.

The guilty, if there are any, will be found out and exposed. And if the evidence shows that is Lee, he'll face a criminal prosecution, which would lead to his resignation.

While if there isn't enough evidence against Lee then, despite your bad wishes, he'll be vindicated and it will turn out that you were wrong.

So the system is working the way it should. And you are merely showing a natural frustration that you can't win this election on issues and policies, which is why you have hardly covered them this election season. And instead focus on dirt and personalities. What should that tell us?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 03, 2011 @ 11:42 am

"in every democracy, the people get the government they deserve" - Alexis de Tocqueville

Posted by Guest on Nov. 03, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

What do people deserve in a plutocracy?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 03, 2011 @ 12:58 pm

Is that people shouldn't vote for Ed Lee.

Posted by tim on Nov. 03, 2011 @ 1:10 pm

If Avalos had been doing this, we wouldn't have heard a word out of you.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 03, 2011 @ 1:31 pm
Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Nov. 03, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

Bottom line, if San Francisco voters are STUPID enough to vote for Ed Lee, then they deserve whatever he does for the next 8 years. Public Schools will continue to fail, housing will remain un-affordable, Muni will continue to be the laughing stock of the transit community across America, the homeless will still be camping in front of my local grocery store, and those with needs like seniors or needing mental health will continue to suffer.

Make your decision San Francisco... Ed Lee get's it done for the Top 1% (Wells Fargo, PG&E, and his new billionaire yacht owning buddies)

#AnyoneButEdLee

And please consider John Avalos and Leland Yee (the ONLY independent progressives who have a chance to win)

Posted by Guest on Nov. 03, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

I'm sure there is one somewhere that you missed.

Fact is that if you care about San Francisco, then you realize that we need to attract business, investment and jobs to San Francisco, and we have to attack the deficit. Lee is strongest on those issues, which voters say are the top concerns, which is why Lee is way ahread in all the polls.

Quasi-socialist bitching about the rich won't pay the bills for services here. Whining about Goldman won't bring a cent to the City. All this posturing and whining won't pay the bills.

Lee is my only pick - I won't choose a #2 and #3.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 03, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

LOL 'Quasi-socialist': do Chinese insider deals count? There is no free market with a corrupt government.
"Lee is strongest" on deficit: hilarious, through payola to uniforms etc?
No pick for 2 or 3? No one else to represent the Chinese government? What a shame.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 03, 2011 @ 3:15 pm

then I'd say Hall and Aliota-Pier. I think the business economy would be OK in their hands, but they can't win.

This is between Lee, Adachi and Herrera, as the polls have shown.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 03, 2011 @ 3:27 pm

Jeff's the best,

Root out cop corruption? Videos like this help and the cops sure as hell aren't going to show them to you.

Thanks to Lauren Smiley and Weekly (where, alas, like Daly's bar, I'm banned - be honest, is it my breath?) ...

http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2011/11/public_defender_alleges_poli...

Y'all loving the change of weather?

Here's a one minute trip down memory lane for you grouches ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zl5r76hVYF0

Go Niners!

h.

Posted by h. brown on Nov. 03, 2011 @ 7:36 pm

Sometimes it seems like Adachi is the only one cares - to the rest it is La Familia De Ciudad...

Watch the video!

Posted by Guest on Nov. 03, 2011 @ 8:20 pm

We need a new law that punishes those that abuse power with severe penalties.

Posted by Fucking Pigs on Nov. 03, 2011 @ 11:53 pm

Bill Moyers: Our Politicians Are Money Launderers Not Too Different from Tony Soprano

http://www.alternet.org/occupywallst/152949/bill_moyers:_our_politicians...

"…you pick up a disproportionate share of America’s tax bill. You pay higher prices for a broad range of products from peanuts to prescriptions. You pay taxes that others in a similar situation have been excused from paying. You’re compelled to abide by laws while others are granted immunity from them. You must pay debts that you incur while others do not. You’re barred from writing off on your tax returns some of the money spent on necessities while others deduct the cost of their entertainment. You must run your business by one set of rules, while the government creates another set for your competitors… In contrast the fortunate few who contribute to the right politicians and hire the right lobbyists enjoy all the benefits of their special status. Make a bad business deal; the government bails them out. If they want to hire workers at below market wages, the government provides the means to do so. If they want more time to pay their debts, the government gives them an extension. If they want immunity from certain laws, the government gives it. If they want to ignore rules their competition must comply with, the government gives it approval. If they want to kill legislation that is intended for the public, it gets killed.

I didn’t crib that litany from Public Citizen’s muckraking investigations over the years, although I could have. Nor did I lift it from Das Kapital by Karl Marx or Mao Tse-tung’s Little Red Book. No, I was literally quoting Time Magazine, long a tribune of America’s establishment media. From the bosom of mainstream media comes the bald, spare, and damning conclusion: We now have “government for the few at the expense of the many.”

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 8:08 am

Lee NEVER had any grassroots support. NEVER. The hoopla of Run Ed Run was produced, just like any miniseries on cable.

Ed Lee is an artificial candidate. They might as well have drafted Rose Pak or put together a robot.

If San Franciscans are stupid enough to vote for this homunculus, they deserve him. It's sad the people who see the obvious fraud will have to endure 8 years of "Willie Brown".

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 11:11 am

it's not surprising that he doesn't have a powerbase to draw from. What he has done is to take into account the needs of everyone in the city, and not just the left (like Avalos).

Posted by Anonymous on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 11:43 am

Also he has given tax dollars away to enormously successful companies (sorry small businesses - Ed Lee still wants YOUR meager profits) and he gave raises to two powerful unions in the midst of a world wide economic meltdown.

Also he and his campaign have committed voter fraud in no less than three documented instances.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

small businesses are totally behind Lee. Your points don't add up.

Posted by Anonymous on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

Just as they hated Newsom.

Corrupt liars like Newsom and Lee Give tax breaks and taxpayer dollars to companies like Twitter and billionaires like Larry Ellison.

Ed Lee cares nothing for small businesses, the real job creators.

Posted by matlock on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 3:07 pm

on record as saying Lee is anti-business?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 4:39 pm

We don't have to! We are SFBG Progressives. If we say it, it is true. We are above facts.

Posted by District 3 Vet on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 8:31 pm

because he is giving away tax breaks to mega corporations and giving away property to billionaires but no tax breaks or free property/rent/incentives for the small business owners.

Ed Lee is a mustache clown put in place to serve the rich, and the people who control him (Willie Brown and Rose Pak) don't give a single thought to small business.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 9:18 pm
Posted by Guest on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 9:31 am

Ed Lee is giving away tax breaks to mega corporations and giving away property to billionaires like Larry Ellison, but no tax breaks or free property/rent/incentives for the small business owners.

These are the real job creators, and it is disappointing to see the conservatives here oppose these small business people in favor of Larry Ellison and Twitter.

Ed Lee will serve the rich, and the people who control him (Willie Brown and Rose Pak) and has shown he will not give a single thought to small business owners.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 12:32 pm

Secretly? Our noble unions? The City Family? I'm Shocked!

Posted by Guestwhat on Nov. 06, 2011 @ 3:04 pm

Election day is coming in a few days. Are you informed enough to make decisions on the ballot. San Franciscans can find more comprehensive and nonpartisan information on contest in the ballots at the League of Women Voters of San Francisco's Smart Voter. See the link here: http://smartvoter.org/2011/11/08/ca/sf/ballot.html

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

Too bad SFBG doesn't moderate this forum.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 2:42 pm

When the first candidate reaches 50% + 1 on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday? (Could it go this long), the final order will be:

1) Ed Lee

2) Jeff Adachi

3) Dennis Herrera

4) John Avalos

5) David Chiu

6) Leland Yee

7) Bevan Dufty

8) Joanna Rees

9) Michela Alioto-Pier

10) Tony Hall

11) Phil Ting

12) Terry Baum

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 2:42 pm

8 to 12 may re-arrange some, but I think your sequence is correct.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 2:55 pm

Adachi will be down there with MAP at #9 or #10. He's turned off a lot of progressives and conservatives don't trust him. Where's his base of support? You think conservatives or Chinese-Americans are going to turn out for him? You're dreaming.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 3:25 pm
Posted by Greg on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 12:48 am

If Adachi doesn't believe in public financing, then he's off my list. Thanks for the video.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 11:00 pm

...or are you too dense to understand that.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 11:59 pm

Come on man. Gonzalez is the narrator of the ad. To believe that Adachi and Gonzalez did not carefully plan out that video is absurd.

And Adachi has indeed attacked public financing in his own statements prior to this; saying that he normally supports it but not in bad economic times, which is also absurd. Either you are for public financing or you are not. Bad economic times are the -most- important times to empower the best (and least corporate influenced) candidates to run.

The difference with this new ad is that Adachi took it to a final, even more vile level in which he attacks a progressive champion like Avalos and demonizes him in the ad as stealing that money from school kids.

This was not only an unacceptably cheap underhanded move on Adachi's part, but also a stupid one, because it just lost him more support than he will ever gain from the ad itself.

Adachi is finished. And his desperate maneuver with this cheap George Bush style ad, proves it.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 1:12 am

"To believe that Adachi and Gonzalez did not carefully plan out that video is absurd."

Lie.

If Adachi had actually collaborated on the video, he would have criticized Avalos for supporting Prop C (not public financing) which unfairly punishes the City's lowest paid workers in favor of the richest- and yes, your hero Avalos is spineless.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 5:01 am

Look at this video! Look how awesome Adachi is! Adachi's The Man!

What? You don't like it? Well Adachi had nothing to do with it! How can you not see that? Are you dense or something?

Posted by Greg on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 7:46 am

News Flash: You can like the video (particularly the narration) and understand that Adachi did not make it nor did he assist. Adachi never would have spent one-quarter of it on Recology - that is a bugaboo of others, I believe Herrera...

Why is that so difficult to understand?

But yes, you are correct- Adachi is the man!

Posted by Guest on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 4:04 pm

Adachi's billionaire ass-kissing neo-Republican stink is all over that video.

(He's also a film maker...)

Posted by Aragorn on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 4:20 pm

then we'd have a fair fight...He needs a few more.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 5:02 pm

are spending plenty; and they are doing so nationwide, not just in San Francisco.

Anyone who tells you the unions have the financial leverage in this fight, is lying.

Posted by Aragorn on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 8:28 pm

@Aragorn ..and Ed Lee, Elsbernd, Farrell, Wiener, Chu-Chiu, Cohen, smell like what....Roses !!! Whose ring are you kissing.

Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 7:20 pm

Gosh if we followed this advice the Ed Lee campaign would grind to a halt.

"But Abramoff dismisses the reforms as toothless. He says there are more effective ways to get powerbrokers to do a client's bidding, particularly political contributions that he says should be banned from lobbyists or anyone receiving federal contracts or otherwise benefiting from public funds.

"As a lobbyist, I thought it only natural and right that my clients should reward those members who saved them such substantial sums with generous contributions. This quid pro quo became one of the hallmarks of our lobbying efforts," Abramoff writes."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/05/jack-abramoff-autobiography_n_1...

Posted by Guest on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 8:58 am

Hey, Jeff's far and away my #2,

But, I'm not required to vote for the 'lesser of two evils' anymore because I have 3 votes now. As long as I know that the ranked choice tabulation is most likely to go beyond 1st round then I can vote for my really favorite candidates.

Terry Jean Baum?

For God's sake man! Worked with Bella Abzug 40 years ago before you were even friggin' born. Fabulous playwright. Marvelous actor. Her campaign slogan is pretty much as straight-forward as you'll get ... 'Tax the Rich ... Well, DUH!'.

And, she's a Green and although, like most places, the leadership councils hate and reject me, I'm a Green and she represents me. I've voted for every single Green candidate on the ballot for years except when Matt ran with Nader and that was just too good a chance to fuck around with Redmond's head.

You think Baum would shake up City government a little? Wowww!

Adachi

I never have a single fucking clue as to what this guy is thinking when I talk to him and that is a very tough nut to crack for someone like me who counts on insights of political characters gained through direct interaction (it's why I've run for public office a half dozen or so time) ... I guess it's cause he's looked across the table at 10's of thousands of defendants and accusers for the last couple of decades ...

This guy is far and away the unquestioned independent in the race. I love Baum, but she's a classic Lefty like myself and would certainly tilt that way in her decisions (forgive and tell me if I'm wrong, Terry).

Adachi will approach every decision from who his new 103 department heads will be to who will run the new, Public Power Friendly SFPUC ... will approach them the same. Stare at you and listen. I mean, this guy listens hard enough to you to make you uncomfortable.

Then, he'll listen to the other side or sides and in the case of the couple of hundred thousand decisions he's made over the last 20 years, he'll make a personal call.

The only other politician I've seen like this in my long interest in the local scene is, of course, Gonzalez and whatever happens, the Public Defender's Office is in great great hands.

Adachi for Mayor!

go Niners!

h.

Posted by h. brown on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 9:48 am