The real Leland Yee

The one-time conservative supervisor is gaining broad progressive support. But who is Leland Yee, really?


It's early January 2011, and the Four Seas restaurant at Grant and Clay is packed. Everyone who is anyone in Chinatown is there — and for good reason. In a few days, the Board of Supervisors is expected to appoint the city's first Asian mayor.

The rally is billed as a statement of support for Ed Lee, the mild-mannered bureaucrat and reluctant mayoral hopeful. But that's not the entire — or even, perhaps, the central — agenda.

Rose Pak, who describes herself as a consultant to the Chinese Chamber of Commerce but who is more widely known as a Chinatown powerbroker, is the host of the event. She stands in front of the room, takes the microphone, and, in Cantonese, delivers a remarkable political speech.

According to people in the audience, she says, in essence, that the community has come out to celebrate and support Ed Lee — but that's just the start. She also urges them not just to promote their candidate — but to do everything possible to prevent Leland Yee from becoming mayor.

She continues on for several minutes, lambasting Yee, the state Senator who lived in Chinatown as a child, accusing him of about every possible political sin — and turning the Lee rally into an anti-Yee crusade. And nobody in the crowd seems terribly surprised.

Across Chinatown, from the liberal nonprofits to the conservative Chamber of Commerce, there's a palpable fear and distrust of the man who for years has been among San Francisco's most prominent Asian politicians — and who, had Lee not changed his mind and decided to run for a full term this fall, was the odds-on favorite to become the city's first elected Chinese mayor.

The reasons for that fear are complex and say a lot about the changing politics of Asian San Francisco, the power structure of a city where an old political machine is making a bold bid to recover its lucrative clout — and about the career of Yee himself.

Senator Leland Yee is a political puzzle. He's a Chinese immigrant who has built a political base almost entirely outside of the traditional Chinatown community. He's a politician who once represented a deeply conservative district, opposed tenant protections, voted against transgender health benefits and sided with Pacific Gas and Electric Co. on key environmental issues — and now has the support of some of the most progressive organizations in the city. He's taken large sums of campaign money from some of the worst polluters in California, but gets high marks from the Sierra Club.

His roots are as a fiscal conservative — yet he's been the only Democrat in Sacramento to reject budget compromises on the grounds that they required too many spending cuts.

He's grown, changed, and developed his positions over time. Or he's become an expert at political pandering, telling every group exactly what it wants to hear. He's the best chance progressives have of keeping the corrupt old political machine out of City Hall — or he's a chameleon who will be a nightmare for progressive San Francisco.

Or maybe he's a little bit of all of that.


Leland Yin Yee was born in Taishan, a city in China's Guangdong province on the South China Sea. The year was 1948; Mao Zedong's Communist Party of China had taken control of much of the countryside and was moving rapidly to take the major cities. The nationalist army of General Chiang Kai-Shek was falling apart, and Yee's father, who owned a store, decided it was time for the family to leave.

The Yees made it to Hong Kong, and since Mee G. Yee had previously lived in the United States and served in the U.S. Army during World War II, he was ultimately able to move the family to San Francisco. In 1951, the three-year-old Leland Yee arrived in Chinatown.


Thanks for the long article on Leland Yee, Tim.

Most of the article makes Yee look pretty bad, at least from the perspective of the left. Yet you reach this surprising conclusion:

"“for all his obvious flaws, at least Leland Yee isn't part of that particular operation [Ed Lee's connection to Willie Brown]. If there's a better reason to vote for him, I don't know what it is.”

This argument might have some merit if voters had only two choices - Ed Lee or Leland Yee. However, ranked-choice voting has undone the old dichotomous thinking. There are now many choices, and they can be ranked.

It's surprising to see you slip back into the old mode of thinking.

What happened?

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 30, 2011 @ 6:34 pm

funneled through Rose Pak, we wouldt be better off with Yee and his generous corporate donors.

Posted by Tami on Aug. 30, 2011 @ 6:46 pm

And with Yee goes our last, best chance at keeping Willie Brown and Rose Pak out of Room 200 for the next decade.


Posted by Jo on Aug. 30, 2011 @ 6:50 pm

So I love Tim Redmond, and I think he feels that this is a fair piece, but I would humbly suggest that this feels more like a hit piece than he thinks it is,and I would suggest that after speaking to him for more than an hour fairly positively about Leland, that my quote does not accurately reflect my position or thoughts on the issue of Leland's vote on health benefits or my thoughts on his candidacy. We all have filters, but this article is not a fair characterization of Leland and I'm pretty disappointed that much of what I said was either left out or distorted. Again, I have the greatest respect for Tim, but it has been my belief for some time that the Guardian does not fairly represent Leland Yee going back years.

Posted by Gabriel Haaland on Aug. 30, 2011 @ 7:42 pm

Costly mistake.

Posted by Jo on Aug. 30, 2011 @ 8:06 pm

Gabriel Haaland, you say:

“I love Tim Redmond, and I think he feels that this is a fair piece, but I would humbly suggest that this feels more like a hit piece than he thinks it is…”

Right you are. The obvious thrust of the piece is that Leland Yee is a not-too-principled moderate who sometimes deflects to the left in order to promote his own career.

The surprising conclusion of the piece is that progressives should vote for Yee to stop moderates.

This piece reminds me of the one that Tim Redmond wrote hoping to discredit David Chiu. It made Chiu look good and gave him needed name recognition.

Then again, SF progressives often shoot themselves in the foot. So is anyone surprised by all this?

You say:

“my quote does not accurately reflect my position or thoughts on the issue of Leland's vote on health benefits or my thoughts on his candidacy.”

I doubt that Yee will gain any advantage whatever by having his name linked with yours. Honestly, it probably would have been better for Yee if Tim Redmond had not mentioned you at all.

If you continue to make a public issue of your support for Yee, you will make him fall even lower in the polls. Don’t stone the messenger for delivering the message.

You say:

“this article is not a fair characterization of Leland and I'm pretty disappointed.”

When was the last time The Guardian wrote an article on any local politician that was fair and balanced?

Our local progressive sect is doing everything in its power to promote the election of Ed Lee, all the while claiming that its goal is the opposite.

We’ve all seen this pattern before. I call it the PLS – the Progressive Lemming Syndrome.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 30, 2011 @ 8:36 pm

Only one progressive candidate does.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 30, 2011 @ 8:56 pm

"PG&E must not only be held accountable for this disaster but also in ensuring such an incident never happens again. The burden to install quality pipes, perform adequate inspections, and implement new technology should be the responsibility of the shareholders and not ratepayers.”

Posted by Guest on Aug. 30, 2011 @ 8:57 pm


Tim didn't publish the mug shot of Leland from when he got busted for shop lifting in Hawaii. He didn't mention that Leland (while a member of the School Board) lied about his own kids' residency to get them placement in another school. He didn't mention when Leland was detained while cruising for crack prostitutes on Capp Street.

And, lots more.

A couple of months ago the State Senate voted 37 to 3 to keep a trash dump out of a San Diego suburb. Leland was one of the 3 senators who voted to put the dump in the people's back yards. I'm certain it wasn't related but Leland did admit to getting over $8.000 from the garbage company who wanted the dump in the year previous to the vote.

How about the over 100 votes Yee changed after-the-fact at the legislature to dress up his environmental record.

Is Willie Brown your cover next week?

Y'all never ever cease to amaze.

Go Giants!


Posted by h. brown on Aug. 30, 2011 @ 10:24 pm

Ed Lee has Rose Pak hanging around his neck.

Leland Yee has Tim Redmond.

Jeff Adachi has h brown.

Terry Baum has Eric Brooks.

Which millstone will weigh down its own candidate the most?

This has become the big issue of the mayoral race.

Place your bets now.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 30, 2011 @ 11:56 pm

“he also supported JROTC, angering queer leaders.”

- Tim Redmond

It’s homophobic for a straight male in a public venue with a large straight audience to refer to gay people as “queer.”

Would Tim Redmond use the N word to refer to African-American leaders?

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 12:11 am

SFUSD parents mostly support JROTC. Immigrant parents love the program.

Lee was merely voting his constituents' wishes.

Posted by Barton on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 10:19 am

And the reading public of San Francisco has Arthur himself. A self absorbed millstone of such gravity that his infantile navel examination threatens to fully implode him into a black hole.

Posted by vigilante on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 1:53 am

Yeah, you're reading along and everyone is making fairly reasonable points, and suddenly Arthur pops up again with his "progressive sex."

Posted by Mandaman on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 4:33 pm

I saw the word "Homophobia" (in hindsight I guess that was the bait) in the post above and made the mistake of reading that post before I checked who wrote it which was my mistake because I don't waste my time reading that dude's posts. It's a major waste of one's time.

Redmond wrote in this article: "....he also supported JROTC, angering queer leaders who didn't want a program in the public schools run by, and used as a recruiting tool for, the military, which at that point open discriminated against gay and lesbian people."

The dude up above didn't quote the entire part. That's typical of him. You have QUEER in there along with "gay and lesbian." The "gay and lesbian" part should satisfy the perpetual sour people. You could have added bisexual and transgender but I'm not criticizing you for leaving that out. I usually write GLBTQ which includes everyone. The sours don't like that either. (There's not much they do like actually. That's their problem.)

I don't think you're homophobic at all Tim and thanks for using the word QUEER and I like it when a progressive politician uses the word QUEER regardless of their audience. The dude up above doesn't speak for me or the GLBTQ community (even though he seems to think he speaks for all people...pompous !@#$!%), and he's expressing his opinion and only that. Some QUEERS probably agree with him; others agree with me.

I prefer the word QUEER. I think the word "gay" is so "last year," don't you? (Tongue in cheek). But considering the dude up above lives in the 1950s if not before, it's not surprising he would have a problem with the word QUEER. Why am I not surprised. This is 2011 and he's living in some other era.


P.S. Someone wrote on another forum: If the folks who created "Queer Eyes for the Straight Guy" and "Queer as Folk" could get away with it almost 10 years ago, then the word can't be that controversial." Right-on!

Posted by QUEER Jorge Orwell 1984 on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 2:05 am

Mr. Redmond, I guess you did not hear what you wanted to hear about then San Francisco Supervisor Leland Yee regarding the transgender healthcare to include Sexual Reassignment Surgery. As I explained to you when you called me for a phone interview, I was the one that recommended that he not vote for it. It was because neither one of us got the clearer picture as it was first written when we first read the proposal (i.e., financial costs, length of service before benefits would be applied, etc.). Also he did have his Asian majority constituents to answer to. He stood pat on his decision. No one at that time knew that then Supervisor Gavin Newsom also planned on voting against since he apparently received the same information that Yee received. I went to the rail and asked Gavin to change his mind and he did as I recommended. Yes Yee apologized to the transgender community and I also told my community that it was I that recommended his vote. No one could dispute me. Senator Yee has always recognized the plight of the transgender community; has always been appraised of things through me. Also you did not mention that he was co-sponsor of "marriage equality" or some of the other achievements he has done.

Posted by Tamara Ching on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 5:53 am

Please refer to Senator Leland Yee's statements on LGBT issues at:

Posted by Tamara Ching on Sep. 01, 2011 @ 4:53 am

Let them starve for attention and look elsewhere.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 7:05 am

It's always amazing to watch a political force disembowel itself in public, but that's what Tim Redmond has done with his piece on Leland Yee.

Although the article concludes by saying that Leland Yee would be a better choice than Ed Lee, most of the body of the article is a damning indictment of Leland Yee.

The conclusion clearly does not follow from the body. The implication of the body is that Lee is a political hack whom voters would do well to bypass.

In effect, Redmond's piece will promote the chances of Dennis Herrera. The latest poll shows Herrera in second place after Ed Lee. Thanks to Redmond, Herrera will start to look good in contrast to the third place candidate, Yee.

Many progressives hate Herrera with the same passion that they hate most everybody else. It will not be good news to them that Redmond has improved Herrera's chances.

Redmond's piece is further evidence, if any were needed, that our local progressive sect is in total disarray.

Ed Lee must be a happy man today. Although he's an uninspiring bureaucrat who plods along with institutional inertia, his opponents are doing everything they can to elect him mayor.

An amazing spectacle to watch.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 7:52 am

Once again, the so-called progressive Tim Redmond gets it wrong. He states that Yee has not authored any significant legislation in the State Legislature. I guess lifesaving syringe access bills are not progressive or significant enough. Also, it is really hard to take serious an article that calls any neighborhood in San Francisco "deeply" conservative.

I also find it interesting how Redmond picks and chooses how he wants to deal with candidates who have changed their politics over the years. For example, Alix Rosenthal voted against ranked choice voting when on the Ethics Commission but years later became part of the Guardian's "progressive" slate. Yet, Leland Yee gets raked over the coals in this hit piece over votes he took a decade ago.

BTW, I am not voting for Leland Yee, I just can't stomach the Guardian's hypocrisy.

Posted by Ryan Clary on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 8:34 am

So it's ok for Chris Daly to float a mortgage he couldn't afford until he voted to raise his salary for $37,000 to $115,000 but not for Yee to live in his family property. At least Leland freakin' lives in San Francisco.

Posted by Guestage on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 9:03 am

If you look at The Guardian's endorsements in the last election cycle, you'll see that the paper didn't do very well.

If you look at the progressive supes, you'll find that they couldn't come up with a credible mayoral candidate for this election cycle, even though they controlled the board of supes for ten years.

If you look at the progressive faithful, you'll find many examples of anti-feminism, anti-Semitism, age-ism, homophobia, anti-intellectualism, and racism.

If you look at the progressive intellectuals, well - you won't find any.

And now if you look at Tim Redmond, you'll see him shooting down the very candidate he hoped could save what's left of SF progressivism.

How much more deterioration has to happen, until they face up to the fact that they have a serious crisis on their hands? How long will they continue to demonize those who draw attention to the crisis?

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 9:46 am

Well said. Thank you.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 1:44 pm
Posted by Right on Sister Snapples on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 11:05 am

Without attention, trolls starve and begin look elsewhere for their sustenance.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 11:09 am

No one Rose Pak backs will ever get my vote -- end of story. We've seen what the "Progressive" agenda has done to this city. I've had more than I can stomach of dangerous, like Chris Daly doing their best to destroy this city on their watch. "Progressive" does not stand for "progress" for this city -- it stands for turning the city into a cesspool created by people who want to be able to block traffic on public streets (with the assistance of the police who taxpayers pay the salaries of), allowing bums and drug addicts to prevent hard-working independent business owners from making a living, giving CASH to drug addicts and alcoholics -- which, we were smart enough to vote to stop doing a few years ago when we realized that we were the ONLY place that is stupid enough to do that. Let's start supporting people in this city who WORK, who CONTRIBUTE instead of those who do nothing but take, take, take and then lie around and whine all day about how they're not getting enough.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

Leland Yee came so close to an endorsement with the DCCC that Ed Lee supporters voted 'no endorsement' probably in part to make the DCCC look anti-Asian.

No one is biting except the usual race baiters at the Chron and Beyond Chron.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 2:19 pm


In your post above, you say:

“… Ed Lee supporters voted 'no endorsement' probably in part to make the DCCC look anti-Asian.”

Another conspiracy!

You also say:

“No one is biting except the usual race baiters at the Chron and Beyond Chron.”

Is that all?!

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 2:44 pm

I'm looking but I only see the usual low education level blogs jumping all over the race issue, the Chronicle and Beyondchron.

Beyondchron claimed the Asian press was on fire over the issue but didn't cite specific sources.

The only Asian Press that I can find is describing infighting among five Asian candidates, which is exactly what it looks like to me.

And yeah it is totally according to pattern for the 'moderates' to engineer a racial issue for their less aware constituents.

You have to be particularly dumb to fall for the one dimensional racial politics of America over the last few decades.

I find the election analysis in the Asian press to be mature and accurate.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 3:05 pm
Posted by Guest on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

First. I'm coming out of the closet in support of State Senator Leeland Yee. I've lived in the Sunset for a long while but usually get recruited to work in the campaigns of other progressives in the eastern districts over the last decade. The last mayors race, an open seat, was brusing. Tom Ammiano was my candidate but I supported Matt Gonzalez against Newsom over his "Care not Cash". I've learned if you cross the machine it trys to destroy you, unless you keep getting up and moving forward. Ammiano lost badly but got up and is now in the State assembly. Yee keeps on coming despite the trashy libelous gossip that some, including ones on this page keep bringing up. It never works and people usually discredit the mud-slingers who merely cover themselves with the tauwdry mud they throw.
As a progressive, my only problem with progressives is that we tend to preach to the choir. Leland, despite living in a district that supported Prop 8 and has the only Mormon Ward in the district earned a 100% for most LGBT organizations for co-sponsoring Leno's bill on gay marriage. That would be hard for any candidate, yet Leland pulls it off.

The article is long on all of Leland's negatives but they highlight a public servant who has evolved. He is for sure an independent and like our current Governor, Jerry Brown, hard to pigeon whole. Campaigning for Leland has been a great experience because many people remember his days on the school board when he saved Balboa Teen clinc, the first school based clinic with a mental health staff.
I remember Yee's press conference denouncing the last Govenator (Arnold)Nunez and his costly health insurance deal that would have mandated private costly premiums on all Californians back in 2005 when CNA asked for his help. We were up against the health insurance lobby but Leland listened and came out swinging.
We won. Leland has carried the bulk of CNA's bills including safe staffing.

SEIU 1021 justly gave Avalos and Yee a dual endorsement because of Leland's work last year against Prop B. At the end of the summer, it was passing. Leland jumped in and helped. His support for us last year was turned the tide particularly in the conservative western districts who didn't fully understand the bill itself and with a lot of union organizing turned the tide.

Sitting in with my collegues (SEIU) during the mayor's endorsement process, the one candidate who electrified us was Leland. His message was sincere and heartfelt. No wonder so many unions put Leland First. He has earned it in my book.

And Tim, if you are waiting for the moment when an issue or a candidate will galvinize the progressivesm in this election, you'll be waiting a long time. Yes, Avalos is running a good grassroots campaign. I've been in a lot of them ButEd Lee's got the machine behind him and they are playing three dimensional chess. His got unlimited funds and isn't going with public financing with a cap. Adachi is the wild card and could pull Lee's numbers down. Lee's is a novice at campaignig and its showing. Yee's a tough campaigner and his staff is as hard working as he is.

With IRV anything could happen. I think that is why so many people a going negative on Yee. He actually win.

Posted by Gues on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 3:25 pm

If you are going to come 'out of the closet' to support Yee then name yourself.

Put your rep on the line. ;)

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 4:19 pm

"The article is long on all of Leland's negatives but they highlight a public servant who has evolved."

- Gues

The impression conveyed by Tim Redmond's article is that Leland Yee has many negatives and some positives. In effect, Tim Redmond says that Yee should be supported, despite all his flaws, because at least he is not Willie Brown.

This endorsement reminds me of when Tom Ammiano finally endorsed Matt Gonzalez in the mayoral runoff of 2003. Ammiano said he was endorsing Gonzalez "in the spirit of forgiveness." An endorsement like this is the kiss of death.

Tim Redmond's article is a setback for Yee. He will have to work hard to counteract its impact and to get into the position he was before the article appeared.

Yee may be able to do that. However, Dennis Herrera is moving ahead to fill the place that Yee has vacated.

Unless there is a big change a-coming, Ed Lee will be elected mayor, and Dennis Herrera will be runner-up.

Leland Yee will limp in third, thanks to Tim Redmond.

And all in the name of progressive politics.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 4:34 pm

Absolutely laughable Arthur.

You spend *years* telling the SF Guardian how irrelevant it is, and *now* you are suddenly claiming that the SF Guardian is *so* relevant that it has singlehandedly torpedoed Yee's campaign...

Posted by vigilante on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

My name is Nancy Lewis and I am a Leland Yee supporter. I am also a proud city worker and nurse with the California nurses association.

Posted by Guest lucretiamott on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 4:52 pm

I totally agree with Gabriel and Gues's comments above, but don't agree with Arthur Evans that this piece will prevent Leland for winning in November. A thoughtful read of the article reveals how tentative most of Tim Redmond's criticisms are. I wonder if Redmond himself believes all the carping about Leland's past record should be given any weight.

The bottom line for me is that Leland is a progressive who has the breadth of experience to actually win this election. It's a critical election and we should all be supporting him. One suggestion: Tim could make up for whatever damage this piece has done by actually endorsing Senator Yee. How about it, Mr. Redmond?

Posted by Thomas Brown on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 5:10 pm

"Tim could make up for whatever damage this piece has done by actually endorsing Senator Yee. How about it, Mr. Redmond?"

- Thomas Brown

Too late. Endorsements made by papers carry much less weight than news articles. That's true for all papers, regardless of their particular biases.

Whether The Guardian endorses Leland Yee or not won't make much of a difference in November. However, voters will remember the overall tone of The Guardian's news article, namely, that Yee is damaged goods, although not as damaged as Willie Brown.

The problem is amplified because others from other parts of the political spectrum (e.g., Rose Pak) have also claimed that Yee is damaged goods.

From here on out, Yee's task will be to convince voters that he's not as flawed as some have made him out to be. That's not an enviable place for any candidate to be in.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 10:05 pm

I agree with Thomas Brown. I think Tim went out of his way to give us a balanced portrayal of Yee's life and his record as a politician. I respect Gabriel Haaland, but I'd just like to point out that it's not easy to profile such a complex man who has evolved over the years (or not).
Keep in mind that Tim interviewed a number of people with different perspectives of Yee. It's kind of like looking at someone throught a kaleidoscope of conflicting views, then trying to pull all this info together to create an accurate picture. This is no easy task. So, he may have gotten a few things wrong. But overall, it seems pretty fair and accurate to me. If you reread this piece with thought and care, you'll find that Tim doesn't draw any hard and fast conclusions about Yee. He just lays out the record, both the good and the bad, and leaves it for the reader to draw his/her conclusions.

One more thing~ I am rather annoyed by those of you who criticize this paper for covering the candidates. That's what journalism is all about -- getting this information out to public so that we can make informed choices about the candidates.

For my part, I say, bravo, excellent work! I still don't know whether to support Yee or not, but this was a fascinating glimpse at his life and career. I am really looking forward to your profile of Terry Baum. ;)

Posted by Lisa on Sep. 01, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

The difference between Leland Yee and most other mayoral candidates is he's been around. That's what I get from this article. If you spend any amount of time in politics, you are going to take contradictory positions, which is why this article has such a hard time finding "the real Yee." Lee is a complex figure, that's all.

I remember Yee for his support of the School of the Arts High School when he was on the school board. He was instrumental in starting an arts high school in SF. He did a great job there.

I hope before election day Redmond will take up the issue of Ross Mirkarimi, the pot legalization activist who wants to be sheriff, the founder of the Green Party who suddenly morphed into a Democrat, the candidate who received exactly 4 endorsement votes from members of the Sheriff's Association (would you want to work in an office where 4 out 400 people don't want you there?) Who's the "real" Ross Mirkarimi -- that's a good question.

when he was a

quipping that the city should have better things to do than "spend taxpayer money on sex-change operations."

Posted by John on Sep. 02, 2011 @ 4:37 pm

To your point on the rank and file sheriff's deputies supporting one of their brothers instead of Mirkarimi...

So what. The rank and file was the same with Hennessey and Hennessey became one of the most effective and popular elected officials in San Francisco history. And was, regardless, -also- well respected by the rank and file sheriff's deputies.

In fact, for a sheriff to be truly effective, as Hennessey was, especially on issues like the Sanctuary City policy, he or she needs to have strong independence from the existing system, and heavy duty political savvy and gravitas in order to do effective battle with the Mayor's office and the feds.

Clearly, the man for that job is Mirkarimi.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 02, 2011 @ 7:34 pm

Just to clarify. When I say the sheriff deputies rank and file was the same with Hennessey, I mean that they would have preferred an insider as well. They showed Hennessey no particular favor when he first came on board either.

But he gained their respect.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 02, 2011 @ 10:24 pm

See an article about Hennessey and the opposition he has had to face from the rank and file deputy sheriffs at

Posted by guest on Sep. 03, 2011 @ 11:31 pm

"for a sheriff to be truly effective... he or she needs to have strong independence from the existing system ... Clearly, the man for that job is Mirkarimi."

- Eric Brooks

Is this the same Mirkarimi who changed his party registration from Green to Democrat in order to become part of the existing system?

Posted by Arthur Evans on Sep. 03, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

Arthur Evans addicted to harassing others while feigning debate

Posted by vigilante on Sep. 03, 2011 @ 9:22 pm

Amazingly Redmond doesn't mention Supervisor John Avalos, the most progressive of the mayoral candidates who have any chance of winning. I'm voting for Avalos for 1st choice and Herrera for 2nd choice. Voting Herrera for 1st choice and Avalos for 2nd choice would be fine too, as I see them as the only two real progressive serious candidates in the race.
I won't vote for Leland Yee, he's completely undependable and untrustworthy.
The Guardian betrayed progressive readers and voters when it endorsed wingnut Angela Alioto for Mayor, resulting in Tom Ammiano being knocked out of the race. Redmond's judgement in my view as a progressive voter is deeply flawed.

Posted by Guest Jerry on Sep. 03, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

Amazingly Redmond doesn't mention Supervisor John Avalos, the most progressive of the mayoral candidates who have any chance of winning. I'm voting for Avalos for 1st choice and Herrera for 2nd choice. Voting Herrera for 1st choice and Avalos for 2nd choice would be fine too, as I see them as the only two real progressive serious candidates in the race.
I won't vote for Leland Yee, he's completely undependable and untrustworthy.
The Guardian betrayed progressive readers and voters when it endorsed wingnut Angela Alioto for Mayor, resulting in Tom Ammiano being knocked out of the race. Redmond's judgement in my view as a progressive voter is deeply flawed.

Posted by Guest Jerry on Sep. 03, 2011 @ 9:17 pm

Jerry, please learn more about Dennis Herrera before voting for him.

Herrera used his influence as City Attorney in an attempt to force a polluting power plant down throat of the Bayview Hunters Point so that he could close the polluting plant in his -own- neighborhood, and thereby make way for cynical real estate developer interests in the Pier 70 development area.

Most importantly he completely screwed the Bayview out of taking Lennar corporation's toxic gentrification in District 10 to the ballot for neighborhood approval or rejection. The ballot measure was blocked, and now Lennar is drastically poisoning the Bayview Hunters Point by stirring up deadly toxins and asbestos there.

To read a report on the Lennar scandal, go to and turn to page 3 for the article titled:

Bayview Betrayed: City Attorney Herrera Denies The Will Of Over 33,000 San Francisco Voters

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 03, 2011 @ 11:24 pm

Wish Tim Redmond would do an analysis of all of the candidates including John Avalos , Jeff Adachi or Terri Baum as hard hitting as his piece on Leland. i wonder if they would stand up to such scrutiny. But the article was long on all of Dr. Yee's faults and didn't explain why CNA, SEIU 1021, AFSME, the building trades, SF Tomorrow or the Sierra Club gave Leland their number one or in the case of SEIU a duel endorsement. It wasn't just because he isn't Rose Pak nor former Mayor Brown's favorite, nor the local DCC. I can say, having been at the endorsement meeting of SEIU and a member of CNA it is because Leland has been a supporter and champion of many causes, including safe staffing, single payer health care, saving Balboa Teen Clinic back when he was on the Board of Education as its president, increased funding for the mentally ill (California Psychiatric Association gave Yee legislator of the year), is sponsoring a more humane way of penalizing children who commit adult crimes, and last year, jumped in allowing city workers to use his phone banks and walked precincts in our western districts to defeat Prop B. None of that was printed.
This was hardly a balanced approach and feeds the notion that Leland isn't "really" progressive. Nonsense.
He has evolved over the years and moved on from his days when he was the number three vote on the Board behind Sue Bierman and Tom. But, his most important support/vote was for sunshine and rainy day funds as a supervisor. These measures alone have helped prevent the cut and gut approach that most mayors, including Brown, have wanted with respect to balancing their budgets on the backs of city workers.
I think the article insulted the organizations who took the time and energy to analyze the candidates records and laboriously interview them for hours on end. The article damages the credibility of the Bay Guardian and no wonder those, except for Miss Pak, who were actually interviewed, have written disappointed emails decrying how much was left to the cutting room floor in support of Leland.

He was given a 100% rating by equality California and Lambda Legal for his support for Gay marriage and co- sponsoring Leno's bill legalizing same sex marriage over the years. Given that most of his SF district has the only Mormon ward and multiple active churches who supported Prop 8, that is astounding to me. Being gay and living with my spouse for 21 years in the Sunset, Leland has been part of that shift in public attitude toward the LGBT community. He legislates as a progressive and that's recent history not just the usual idle gossip, smear or looking back at his record 12 years ago. Unlike the other candidates, Leland has been in public life for 25 years and underestimating his ability to grow, develop and fight for the things ordinary people need in this city is tragic.
Perhaps, these issues don't matter to people who don't know how much of an advocate Leland has become for working people, for the LGBT community and for youth. They see Leland through a narrow lense and can't seem to shake their past perception choosing only to see his faults. They never evolve and are stuck in the past. Leland has evolved over the years, others haven't.

He seems to have a vision for how to run SF, independent of the downtown special interests that I find lacking in other candidates who want either to continue the same old down town politics that got the city into a mess or put out impractical solutions to our problems like living in abandoned buildings/six story buildings with no elevators.

Posted by Guest lucretiamott on Sep. 04, 2011 @ 5:01 am

I am pleased that quite a few of these comments acknowledge Leland's accomplishments and give him credit for the progressive stands he has taken over the years. Even posters who are not supporting Leland or haven't made up their minds yet seem to feel that the article failed to give him the credit he deserves.

If you want to compare the candidates' positions on specific issues, please check out their responses to SF for Democracy's endorsement questionnaires here:

San Francisco for Democracy will be making it's endorsements this week.

Posted by Thomas Brown on Sep. 04, 2011 @ 12:06 pm