Tag Archives: Leland Yee

“Asian American Hustle”? With California State Senator Leland Yee’s arrest, Asian American political empowerment in the Bay Area takes a huge hit

Here’s when I last saw Sen. Leland Yee. He’s not a particularly warm guy. But maybe I should have sensed, he was just going through the motions, and that at age 65, he was looking for an exit plan.

I was the emcee of a community event in the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco last October, and he was the featured speaker. The event honored the day the  U.S. landed on Leyte during WWII,  whereby General Douglas MacArthur and Filipinos retook the Philippines and changed the course of the war. Yee was there to present a Senate  resolution honoring the day.

I remember Yee to be all business that day, and not any different from normal. He was there for the community, as always.

And yet, after losing the SF’s mayoral race and gaining a new $70,000 debt, and with the pressure of being term limited and being forced to seek a new job (was Secretary of State, the overseer of elections, really all that appealing?), I should have sensed the musical chairs game of politics was beginning to get old.

If I had, then maybe Wednesday’s sordid tale of a bizarre and surreal FBI sting that includes drugs, convicted gang members nicknamed “Shrimp Boy,” and talk of illegal firearms from Muslim groups in the Philippines would not have been such big a surprise.

But with the key figure in all of that being Yee, I have to admit to being flabbergasted.

This is a case that rocks the Bay Area’s Asian American political scene hard…

Continue reading this piece at  http://www.aaldef.org/blog

 

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Ranked Choice to determine history in SF as Lee leads by 13 percent in first round of mayoral race

For whatever people may say about Ranked Choice Voting, it sure didn’t cut into the power of incumbency.

Even a short-time interim candidate has an enormous advantage as we witnessed with Ed Lee.

His vote pattern for the night was fairly predictable: A huge lead with nearly 40 percent of the early mail in vote,  and then a gradual settling to 31 percent (44,451 votes) by the time all the precincts were counted.

The showing of Supervisor John Avalos (26,447/18.7 percent), and City Attorney Dennis Herrera (15,967/1127 percent) were also somewhat predictable. In a Democratic town, both were one and two on the party slate card. A huge advantage and what some wondered was a racist tactic. Five key Asian American candidates, including the interim, and none get named to one of  the top two slots?

The real question mark was how the Asian American candidates would do on their own, and it seemed break  down by money raised. Boardof  Supervisor President David Chiu raised the most money in the least time compared to the other candidates overall. But without the party or incumbency behind him, he  managed only a  fourth place finish (12,655/8.93 percent).

State  Sen. Leland Yee was next with 10,595 votes, or  7.48 percent of the vote, perhaps showing how most of his ardent support in his two-county senate seat may be primarily in San Mateo County.

Public Defender Jeff Adachi was sixth with 9.075 votes or 6.41 percent.  Adachi filed his candidacy on the last day and was also tied to a bold but unpopular pension reform proposal  that also lost on Tuesday.

Just imagine if Ed Lee had kept his word to David Chiu and not run for Mayor.

Chiu just might be sitting were Lee is right now, leading—but not by a majority.

Instead,  the top 6 finishers have 65.5 percent of the vote.

That means that likely the bottom ten with 35 percent of the vote will determine if and when Ed Lee gets the majority he needs.

Lee sits at 31.38. If he’s on slightly more than 19 percent of the second choice ballots of the bottom 10 candidates, he wins. It may be over before we have to count  the No.2 choice of Yee at  5th place.

This is either the power of the folly of Ranked Choice Voting. The bottom folks have more power than you think. 

Wouldn’t it be better just to have a runoff? More costly, but perhaps more transparent and definitely easier to understand. 

RCV makes one wonder, “What the hell happened to my vote?”

The next tally is due by 4pm PST.

Let the games begin: 100 percent of the vote has been counted in SF, and Ed Lee needs 19 percent more of Ranked Choice ballots to win

Interim Mayor Ed Lee finished the count of first choice ballots with 44, 451 votes or 31.38 percent.

John Avalos was next with 26,447 votes, or 18.67 percent.

 Dennis Herrera was third with 15,967 or 11.27 percent.

David Chiu was fourth with  12,655 votes, 8.93 percent.

Only these three have an outside chance of catching Lee who needs 50 percent plus 1.

He better hope he was nice to supporters of the 5th through 10th finishers.

They are:

Leland Yee with 10,595 votes  or 7.48 percent.                                                                  

Jeff Adachi, 9,075 votes, or 6.41 percent.

Bevan Dufty, 6704 votes, or 4.73 percent.

Tony Hall, 5,164 votes, or 3.65 percent.

Michela Alioto Pier, 5,063 votes, or 3.57 percent

Joanna Rees, 2,280 votes, or 1.61 percent

These candidates  carry the bulk of the also-ran vote. As they get eliminated, their 2nd and 3rd choice ballots get distributed to whomever is designated.

If Ed Lee gets just  19 percent more of those votes he wins and makes history as the city’s first elected Asian American mayor.

This is where the last minute mudslinging might make a difference. Lee got his first place votes, but did all the news of voter fraud and campaign impropriety get him knocked off other candidates’ No.2 or No.3 ballots?

If it did, the trend of the shrinking Ed Lee lead could continue as Avalos, Herrera and possibly Chiu pick up 2nd choice votes.

If  no one has a majority, then the registrar starts counting the third choice votes.

Is this really worth not having another election between the top two candidates?

While the elections office listed an 11:30on  release of results, it looks as if the new results from the ranked choice balots will be at 4pm on Wednesday.

By then, Lee could have 50 percent plus 1, or not. If he didn’t get enough people to make him their No.2 choice, this could be a long and frustrating count lasting until Friday.

Update:With 59 percent of precincts counted in SF Mayoral race, Lee’s early lead wilts, Avalos comes on, other APA candidates trail

With 59 percent of the votes now counted,  Ed Lee’s early big lead has shrunk to just a 17 percentage point lead over his next challenger, Supervisor John Avalos.

Lee had 36,956 vote or 33.28 percent of the vote. Avalos had 18,496 votes or 16.66 percent.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera was third with 12,482 or 11.24 percent of the vote.

As expected, the race tightens with Avalos, the top name on SF Democratic voter pamphlets, picking up steam.

The other premier Asian American candidates, David Chiu, Leland Yee, and Jeff Adachi were still in single digits.

If no one has a majority, the winner will be the candidate who can rack up the most 2nd choice votes.

With the top ten candidates getting over 95 percent of the vote, if  Lee is in the No. 2 spot of candidates standing 6th through 10, currently Dufty, Hall, Alioto Pier, and Rees, it could be enough to give him the majority he needs for victory.

Next tally results set for 10:30 p.m.

Official results:

http://sfelections.org/results/20111108/

Update: San Francisco Interim takes big step toward history: Ed Lee has 39.85 percent of the vote by mail turnout

Interim Mayor Ed Lee took the big lead in the first release of vote-by-mail ballots in the SF Mayoral race.

Lee got a commanding  26,621 votes or 39.85 percent of the votes counted so far.

Supervisor John Avalos and City Attorney Dennis Herrera are next with 10.6 percent and 10.24 percent, respectively. Both candidates were endorsed by the San Francisco Democratic Party.

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu was in fourth with 8.36 percent.

State Senator Leland Yee was in fifth with 8.25 percent.

Public Defender Jeff Adachi  was in sixth with 6.33 percent.

This first tally includes just the vote by mail which represents about 14.59 percent of all voters. The next release of votes at 9:45 will include the first ballots from today’s polling.

Those votes could reflect a totally different voter sentiment in light of voter  fraud allegations made against some of Lee’s supporters.

But if the trend continues, Lee would be very close to the 50 percent and 1 vote he needs to secure victory.

The top ten candidates received 97.65 percent.

If no one receives a majority,  the Ranked Choice Voting will eliminate the lowest ranking candidate one by one and distribute their backers’ 2nd and 3rd choices until one candidate gets a majority of the vote.

More detailed results at :

http://sfelections.org/results/20111108/

The “New Mud”: Ranked Choice voting changes everything in SF Mayoral Election; How Lee’s voter fraud controversy puts everything in a new light with less than two weeks to go

 A big conference on Asian American activism is taking place in San Francisco this week.

Ed Lee used to be one of them, an unabashed non-profit good guy.  But now his life has changed as the lead dog in the San Francisco mayoral race. He just may not be in the lead for long.

Lee, the interim mayor attempting to make it for real, has been tripped up by some overzealous campaigners on his behalf who may have committed voter fraud.

The now infamous “Ed Heads,” blue shirted members of the San Francisco Neighbors Alliance for Ed Lee for Mayor 2011, had been out in Chinatown the last few weeks setting up tents and helping specifically Cantonese speaking voters.

Tents!  Or maybe they were voter cabanas?

How much help the voters got is he issue, and with translated ballots and handbooks, how much help is needed, unless the volunteers really were filling out ballots and telling people how to vote.

Beyond language, there’s the issue of taking a ballots in a plastic bag for delivery to the elections office. These are ballots not pizzas. No delivery allowed.

And then there’s the last big question. How direct is the  connection of the volunteers  to Lee? 

As close as Rose Pak?

The U.S. Department of Justice is looking into this after seven candidates faxed a letter of complaint Sunday to D.C.

I talked to one candidate today who said when he talked with Lee over the weekend, Lee wanted to be on the letter to show a united front.

Makes sense.  All major candidates want a fair and ethical election, right? In the spirit of Ranked Choice Voting, that would take the sting out of any appearance of mudslinging and show consensus. Take the politics out of it.

But apparently there was no strong feeling to provide Lee a fig leaf.

Besides, this is just what the other candidates were looking for: Acceptable campaign “mud.”

Ranked Choice Voting makes things a bit to collegial sometimes. Like a parish council. You’re looking for consensus? Boring.

So this was too good for the other candidates to pass up.

A little local October surprise to stop the front-runner in his tracks and help others make up ground.

Lee’s best response so far: Proclaiming it’s “Hammer time”?

With all the possible investigations emerging, Lee is going to have to do much more to regain any momentum.

Otherwise, the voter fraud scandal has done the real heavy lifting for the candidates. Its isolated Lee. And it’s changed the dynamic of race. The cloud of voter fraud may even be enough to keep Lee off voters’ RCV top-three.

If an “anyone but Ed” campaign emerges, then the seven who sent the DOJ letter (especially  Leland Yee, David Chiu, Jeff Adachi, Dennis Herrera and John Avalos)  have just made this race much tighter than expected.  

The No.2 vote will be very important. That means candidates will be on good behavior from here one. They know who they’re No.1 with. Now their goal is to be everyone’s No.2.

As candidates get eliminated, those No.2 ballots will eventually make someone a winner.

But who?   Chiu?  Yee?  Adachi?  

This historic race in Asian American history is coming up to an exciting finish.

And the winner will be the best No.2 person around.

Whoever gets the majority of Avalos’ or Herrera’s No.2 votes will be the first elected Asian American mayor.

More on the controversy at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog:

www.aaldef.org/blog

http://aaldef.org/blog/voting-rights-violations-in-san-francisco-mayoral-election-1.html

The San Francisco Mayor’s Race, Filipino Americans and Ranked Choice Voting: Some thoughts after moderating a Filipino American community forum

What a difference Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) makes in San Francisco.

I had the privilege to moderate a San Francisco Mayoral Forum for the Filipino American community of San Francisco on Friday.

Normally, politicians are quick to challenge.  Forums used to be like prize fights. All candidates had  to do was speak and their words would clash.

But RCV has turned everyone into pussycats.  No one flashes a fang nor claw, let alone a bucket of mud. Continue reading The San Francisco Mayor’s Race, Filipino Americans and Ranked Choice Voting: Some thoughts after moderating a Filipino American community forum