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Leland Yee Says He Gets Death Threats! Ed Lee Gets All The Publicity; Is That Fair?

State Senator Leland Yee, who is running for mayor of San Francisco, has let it be known, via leaks and an unprecedented official “death threat”  press release,  that he has been the target of death threats and vile racial slurs.   Thus far, Leland’s cries for attention  have been met with what can only be described as a big yawn from the media. Meanwhile, Ed Lee, who is the Mayor, has been sunning himself in the warmth of an extended honeymoon of positive press comment, with no prodding from him. One can only imagine Leland’s frustration.

Leland’s cry for attention began  in the wake of the Tucson shootings, when Yee’s San Mateo office leaked to the San Mateo Times the news that Tucson Sheriff”s investigators had called them inquiring if there was any link to threats Yee received from Sara Palin fans when he was hot to trot about the secretive nature of Saran Palin’s speaking fee for an address last summer at California State University, Stanislaus. Lee got some really good ink out of that beef, particularly in the Chronicle, after University authorities went into stupid mode and there was talk of faxes being shredded and that sort of thing.

The San Mateo paper dutifully published a lengthy January 14 exclusive: “Death Threats to Bay Area Senator catch eye of Giffords investigators.”  The rest of the Bay Area media didn’t pick up the story – KGO-TV did give it a mention – possibly because the San Mateo paper,  having done its best to stir the death-threat pot, concluded , after talking to the CHP which investigates threats against state officials: “Despite some rough similiarities, a CHP spokesperson noted that detectives think Loughner acted alone. And he has no known connections with Yee or the Bay Area.”

Not to be deterred, Yee then picked a public fight with right wing totem Rush Limbaugh singling out “offensive comments” (as if everything Limbaugh said wasn’t offensive) he made and calling for a boycott of advertisers on his syndicated radio show. This, predictably, generated yet another racist death threat — as Yee’s office pointed out in a January 26 press release: “After condemning offensive comments by Rush Limbaugh, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) today was sent a racist death threat via fax to his San Francisco and Capitol offices…” – and reproduced the offending communication replete with noose and references Yee as a “Fishhead” and “Rectum Sniffing Moron.”

Yee Death Threat?

Just about every elected official gets death threats and there is an unwritten political etiquette between politicians and press such deranged threats are not to be publicized – and certainly never bragged upon by a politician – because of commonsense monkey-see, monkey-do concerns.

The death threat press release was apparently too much for the Chronicle’s usually mild-mannered Matier & Ross, who in their Sunday column gave Yee a bow shot to stop this, noting that prior to Yee’s unprecedented and slightly loopy press release and apparent attempts to suggest that he might have been on the Tucson shooter’s hate list, Yee “had previously advertised death threats over his call to regulate violent video games.” (Note the verb “advertised.”)

“Yee, who is running for San Francisco mayor, isn’t the first lawmaker to get death threats. But he’s the first we’ve known to announce them with a press release – then go on every TV news show that will have him to talk about it,” Matier and Ross wrote.

The ever-obliging web site Fog City Journal printed Yee’s press release verbatim including posting the ugly racist death-threat fax Yee’s office had sent out to the media. The Fog City Journal added: “Spread the word! Bookmark on Delicious, Digg this post, Recommend on Facebook, share via Reddit, Share with Stumblers, Tweet about it…” Wonderful. Generate more death threats.

Matier and Ross quoted the head of the Senator’s San Mateo office, Adam Keigwin, who appears to have played a central role in the bragging of Leland death-threats, as explaining that the blameless Yee “can’t control the interest the media has in this.”

Odd. The only real interest the media has shown to date is to tell Yee to shut up already spreading this self-promoting, dangerous claptrap.

Posted: 2.1.11

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Paramilitary Dude With Glock at AMC Van Ness

By John Calder, Argonaut360 Correspondent

While attending the 9:45pm showing on Friday January 28th of the of the excellent film, “True Grit” at the AMC 1000 on Van Ness, I found myself in a very uncomfortable position. Standing at the 7th Floor concession area was a paramilitary geared male, fully decked out with a Glock handgun, pepper spray and other miscellaneous military and security gear. He leaned over a counter – texting into his phone. I assume he is the Security service.

He had no visible name, company affiliation, military insignia, just a paramilitary blue/gray jumpsuit and hobnail boots.

As an Air Force veteran, who worked on nuclear equipped Strategic Air Command bases in the 70’s, I’m well aware of military training, the security police and the necessity to post the sign below  when weapon equipped security is protecting a secured area.

It means, “We have been given permission to shoot to kill in this area“.

I saw no such sign at the AMC 1000 Theater on Van Ness street. Not on my ticket, not at the box office, no where I could find. [Read more →]

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Feinstein, Pelosi, Spear, Leno, Harris

In Unusual Public Rebuke  of DCCC Chair Peskin;
His Actions Were “Wrong” (Feinstein) , Set “Bad Example” (Harris);

The Hot Issue: Spending Democratic Party Funds
Against Other Democrats in Supervisor Races

By Warren Hinckle

Aaron Peskin played offense Wednesday night against  charges that he had  misused Democratic party funds attempting to defeat Democrats he didn’t like in Supervisor races last fall. He blamed wealthy Republicans  “interfering” in local elections for his actions – for which he was promptly and publicly rebuked by representatives of Senator Dianne Feinstein, Congresswomen Nancy Pelosi and Jackie Spear, State Senator Mark Leno and the new California Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Speaking serially and almost in chorus, the proxies for the top Democratic officials took turns giving Peskin verbal spankings before the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee,  and concluded he was in need of some sort of adult supervision.

Peskin had argued in his defense that the Central Committee had no written rules or procedures about negative campaigning against Democrats.  Feinstein representative George Broder asked why such “rules” should be necessary – when it was “simply wrong” for party resources to be used “against one Democrat in favor of another Democrat.”

Broder said Peskin had violated “long held  Democratic Party practices, precedents and protocols” and wondered aloud, with an air of parental weariness, if party elders would now have to “review every e-mail and communication” from Peskin to see if it passed the smell test.

Peskin, who on his own authority sent out official Democratic party e-mails and a direct mail piece against Scott Weiner in D. 8 and Mark Farrell in D. 2,  had acted in an   “unprecedented, unsanctioned and reprehensible”  manner – which he did  without the knowledge or consent of others members of the Central Committee, Broder said. Broder, a communications consultant who was the most outspoken of the ex-officio members representing the party’s top dogs, knows his political p’s and q’s – he was a City Hall aide to Mayor Feinstein and  his father, George Broder of the Washington Post, is the dean of D.C. pundits.

Veteran DCCC members Tom Hsieh and Arlo Hale Smith Jr, who between them have clocked more than 30 years on the panel, said they had never seen anything like the get-thee-to-the-woodshed  harshly worded critiques of Peskin by party leaders.

“Usually the ex-officio members don’t say anything and just observe,” Hsieh said. “When a vote is taken they usually abstain.”

Peskin had clearly hoped to send the matter – a complaint by the Alice B.Toklas LBGT Democratic Club about DCCC “Negative campaigning against Democrats” filed after last November’s election – to committee and be done with it. But the party elders were not about to let him off easy and piled on the embsattled Chair as if he were a political moss pit. [Read more →]

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Petard Time at The DCCC Corral; Peskin Hoist, Attempt at Elegant Defenestration Foiled by Chiu; Alice Demands Inquisition

By Warren Hinckle

Aaron Peskin awaits an uncertain – but  certainly uncomfortable – fate at the delayed-since-Thanksgiving meeting of the San Francisco Democratic County Central C0mmittee tonight.  He faces both unrest and displeasure of the traditional kind – the retributive  justice often dealt to the party leader who loses the ranch – and the less traditional: a formal demand from the moderate Alice B. Toklas club for an investigation into how Peskin as chair spent Democratic Party money in an attempt to defeat Democrats who ran against his losing candidates in last November’s Supervisorial elections.

Peskin with his chief enforcer and ideological pit bull Chris Daly began to take control of the county Democratic Party machinery in 2006 and steered it onto a reef of their own making – forcing termed-out former Board of Supervisors President Peskin in as party chair in 2008 over the moderate former chair Scott Weiner and tilting the historically politically centrist Central Committee towards Daly’s brand of windmill-tilting “progressive’ politics – anti-growth, anti-business, pro-tenant and anti-property owner.

The use of the word force in the election of Peskin is an understatement – Daly screamed, cajoled and threatened D-triple C members with excommunication from the Democratic body politic and electoral extinction unless they supported Peskin over Weiner.  (Daly in an e-mail to longtime moderate DCCC member Arlo Hale Smith Jr. threatened that if Smith voted for Weiner he “would never receive the endorsement of the Guardian, Tenants Union, Sierra Club and Milk Club” in the future.)

Former Supervisors’ president Peskin sought, for a time successfully, to turn the DCCC leadership post into a vehicle to pack the committee with his and Daly’s ideological supporters and thereby control the official party endorsements for district Supervisors – a double whammy thereby which meant he would continue to control the Board in absentia. The DCCC endorsement was tantamount to election in most cases, with only two candidates until  the 2010 Peskin machine collapse elected to the Board over since 2000 without the coveted party endorsement. Those two are Ross Mirkarimi and Ed Jew!

(I still have the official Supervisor Ed Jew 2007 four-color calendar, slightly bent in the right corner but otherwise in mint condition which would bring at least the price of a fusion cocktail on E-Bay.)

The term “progressives” for the Peskin-ite Supervisors is a misnomer, perpetuated by the media curiously describing anti-growth, anti-business Supervisors as “progressives.”  Hale Smith Jr, an historian of the DCCC, patiently pointed out in an essay in the November Argonaut while the Peskin machine operated in the power-first tradition of Abe Ruef, the Republican/Union Labor Party boss who owned Frisco politics in fee simple at the time of the 1906 earthquake.

(Francis Coppola now operates out of Reuf’s lovely triangle building at the corner Kearney and Pacific, but Reuf was not Italian so Mafia wisecracks are off target.)

The Ruef machine collapsed in part because his spanking new City Hall which collapsed  in the Earthquake revealed itself held up by sand instead of cement, but more directly from the reform campaigns by the first San Francisco “Progressives” including newspaperman Fremont Older and California Progressive  Governor and future U.S. Senator Hiram Johnson.  These Progressives fought the railroad and other trusts controlling the state and battled self-perputating local machine politics of the Reuf/Peskin pattern, and by any standard of comparison.

The wheels began to come off the Peskin-Daly wagon in 2010 when the Argonaut published a front page article – “Hijacking The Democratic Party – The Stealth Plan to Create a New Political Machine in San Francisco” – which traced the Daly-Peskin plotting to control both the party apparatus and the future Boards of Supervisors beginning with a little-noticed  2006 change in the DCCC bylaws making the party endorsements for Supervisor and other citywide offices and ballot measures 50 percent plus one vote – a far breezier standard for endorsement that the former 60 percent requirement ( the endorsement standard of the state Democratic Party.)  The DCCC was itself becoming an electoral stepping stone to higher office, with no fund raising limits for a campaign for election to the DCCC, vs. a strict $500 individual donor limit on campaigns for the Board of Supervisors; elected Supervisors such as stone ideologues Campos and Avalos and the dunce-cap left candidate Mar saw the advantage of also running for a DCCC post  with limitless fundraising which would loosen up money for like-minded candidates in step with the Daly-Peskin ‘progressives’. [Read more →]

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Yerba Buena Trees to Be Felled Today – Does Anyone Care?

Blogger H. Rapp Brown has been on a one-blogger crusade to get someone – politicians, the media, tree-chaining greenies – to pay attention to the fact that today the great trees of Yerba Buena Island will begin to be chopped down.

It’s all extremely frustrating, Brown said. Attention must be paid, but it isn’t. Even the evergreen Guardian doesn’t seem to care. He said he told some of the lads from the newbie Bay Citizen and others about the approaching slaughter over drinks at Drinks at Chris Daly’s bar – the presumed center of political activism in the city – but so far only the silence of trees falling unseen in the forest.

It used to be religion in San Francisco that chopping down a tree was an act of sacrilege and the occasion of political outrage. Why doesn’t the media care enough to send a lousy helicopter over the island for film at eleven so viewers can at least watch in horror? Maybe somebody will – the chopping begins this morning and continues daily.

Here is Brown’s last plaintive blog sent out Monday – and a link to a You-Tube video he and a buddy made of the tree-killing preps:  Video:

From: “h. brown” <>

Date: January 18, 2011 4:18:14 PM PST


Subject: Unprotected Treasure Island trees to fall tomorrow

boys and girls,

Tomorrow (Wednesday, January 19th 2011) the

John Stewart Company contractors will begin major

logging of the forest on Yerba Buena Island.  Here

is the notice given residents.

They claim they need no permits because the

trees (many are magnificent 100 plus year old

Monterey pine)are not native.   In fact, they

are clearing views for the development planned

atop the hill which is presently sealed off from

prying cameras such as Tony De Renzo and I took

up there last week.

Some of you (such as Will Kane and the Chronicle)

could stop this if you wanted.   Just one TV crew

led by Dan Noyes would halt the destruction.

Will you act?

I’ve done all that I can.   Stewart says they need

no City permission because technically, since the

developer (Lennar – surprised?) hasn’t yet made a

payment to the Navy to change official ownership

and the Navy doesn’t give a shit what happens to

the trees.

You may need a helicopter to film this because the

security around the site is heavy now.

What a fucking travesty.


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Peskin, After Shellacking, Cancels DCCC Meeting to Duck a Whackin'

Reigning Democratic political boss Aaron Peskin cancelled the post-election meeting of the San Francisco Democratic Party’s Central Committee by e-mail Monday on the grounds that the long-scheduled Nov. 24 meeting might conflict with Thanksgiving. Peskin had precious little to be thankful for this election. The abrupt cancellation allowed Peskin to duck discomforting questions and a possible move to replace him as chair.

“Aaron wants to sit up there as chair only when he gets to gloat. This meeting would have been about recriminations,” said longtime Committee member Arlo Hale Smith Jr.

Peskin was facing intra-party fire for his high-handed tactics against his archenemy Scott Wiener in the Supervisorial Race in D. 8 in which e-mails in the Party’s name and other hit pieces went out to D. 8 residents pushing Peskin candidate Rafael Mandleman against Wiener. Wiener won.

John Shanley, Mayor Gavin Newsom’s representative on the DCCC, said he wanted to openly question Peskin about “backroom deals” he made in the name of the Party in the Supervisor races. Several other members said there were discussions about moves to replace Peskin as chair.

Another growing controversy Peskin ducked by canceling the meeting was post-election discontent over the ugly campaign run by Peskin-favorite Deborah Walker in D. 6 against victorious Jane Kim in which Walker hit pieces are being criticized by Kim supporters are bordering on racist. While many DCCC members wanted to give Kim at least a Second Choice endorsement Peskin insisted that the loser Walker be the Democratic Party’s only official choice for Supervisor.

Peskin said he would “not be in town” for Thanksgiving.

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District-By-District Analysis










Bay Guardian In Denial

As Its Slate Card Flops


Peskin Also Loses Ballot

Propositions, Judicial Race


By Warren Hinckle

In an historic and politically histrionic defeat for the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee controlled by Aaron Peskin, moderates have been elected to the Board of Supervisors –all of Peskin’s ‘progressive’ candidates lost – and the majority of his ballot propositions were also rejected by the voters in the November 2 election.

Many media have been hesitant to call the contested Supervisorial races, but  The Argonaut’s election analysts declared early that Marina native son Mark Farrell would defeat Janet Reilly in District 2 and Melia Cohen has prevailed in a wide field of candidates in Bayview District 10.

The Argonaut first called the District 2 race for Farrell on Sunday night. Reilly after an expensive and flashy campaign overseen by her political guru husband Clint was in first place by some 400 votes in early returns, but her lead diminished after 2nd choice vote transfers under the city’s Ranked Choice Voting system. Votes from the other two D. 2 candidates, assistant US Attorney Abraham Simmons and Clinton family friend Kat Anderson – both ran to the relative right of Reilly in the conservative Marina/Pacific Heights district – transferred heavily to Farrell as the preferred 2nd choice when it became clear the other candidates could not win first place. Attorney and longtime DCCC member Arlo Hale Smith Jr.,  a ranked choice voting expert, estimated that when transfers are completed Farrell would win by approximately 200 votes.

A similarly pronounced vote transfer occurred in District 10 where Peskin’s candidate Tony Kelly lead in early voting returns but political newcomer Malia Cohen began the move  toward first place after vote transfers from the multiplicity of candidates running. (A complete district-by-district analysis by ranked choice voting expert Smith is posted on this site.)

The election results show a remarkable resurgence in moderate San Francisco politics, belying the city’s Berkeley-esque national image. Peskin also failed in an attempt to extend his political reach to the Bench when he ran a gay Latino attorney against sitting Superior Court judge Richard Ulmer. The entire San Francisco Bench including its gay and lesbian judges backed Ulmer against Peskin’s candidate, who lost.

When it isn’t busy trying to scratch up lunch money by repossessing the delivery trucks of the rival SF Weekly, The Bay Guardian prides itself on the political clout of its election Endorsements which fill the entire front page  — and seemed weirdly in denial after all its first choice candidates for Supervisor lost. [Read more →]

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By Arlo Hale Smith Jr.

Member, San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee, Former Bart Board member.

Now that the dust has somewhat settled, one thing is clear . . .  Aaron Peskin’s Political Machine took a major beating in the November 2nd election.

Peskin/SFDCCC supported candidates Janet Reilly, Debra Walker and Rafael Mandelman  lost in D 2, D 6. and D 8.   In D 10, the “real” choice of Peskin and the Bay Guardian – Tony Kelly – not only lost, but was blocked from receiving the SFDCCC endorsement.

Ballot measures dear to the Machine also lost:   Props D and E – which could have encouraged voter fraud by allowing illegals to vote and election day voter registration were defeated, as were attempts to raise the hotel tax to finance the orgies of spending desired by Peskin’s allies on the Board of Supes.

How this happened involves an analysis of the impact of RCV (Ranked Choice Voting)

District 2: Informed Voters Use RCV to Overpower Wealthy Peskin Ally Janet Reilly

The D 2 races shatters conventional political thinking (on the Left) that RCV tends to help “progressive” candidates. Ammiano and company pushed RCV on the theory that eliminating the expense of traditional two candidate “run offs” would allow less well-financed candidates a better chance to win.  The problem with this logic:  Peskin and his allies actually took power in 2000 because MODERATE candidates LOST conventional runoffs! [Remember, McGoldrick and Maxwell were distant second-place candidates whose run off wins were sort of a surprise!]

In the D 2 race, Ms. Reilly had ample campaign funds and managed to get every endorsement on the Left – including the Labor Council and SFDCCC – almost by default.  She ran a campaign in which she actually agreed with the moderate positions of Supervisor elect Mark Farrell on most issues.  She even ended up promising NOT to vote for Peskin for Mayor!  However, the voters didn’t trust her protestations of “independence” from Peskin’s Machine.

This is where RCV comes in:  Supporters of the 3rd, 4th and 5th place candidates voted in favor of Farrell over Reilly in the RCV choices by about a 14% margin.This was adequate to overcome Reilly’s 1.5% lead in “first choice” preferences. [Specifically Reilly lead by about 200 votes among “first choices”, but Farrell picked up 450 more votes from RCV than Reilly did, allowing him to win by about 200 votes.]

Also adverse to Reilly was the fact that most voters understood RCV and did NOT exhaust their ballots.   A voter who does not indicate a second or third choice preference may have his/her ballot exhausted and not counted in subsequent RCV totals (beyond first choice tallies).  Only about 1300 voters in D 2 “exhausted” their ballots. This compares favorably to the 4000 and 8000 voters whose ballots were exhausted in D 6 and D 10, respectively.

Analysis:  The moderate, better educated voters of D 2 understood RCV and used it effectively.

D6:  Chiu and Kim Successfully Circumvent Peskin “fix” of the SFDCCC to Win

Supervisor David Chiu actively campaigned for School Board President Jane Kim despite the fact that Debra Walker had been Peskin’s anointed candidate for over a year. This was the first truly major public break between Peskin and his hand-picked successor, Chiu.

While Kim and Walker did not dramatically differ on the issues, Kim made a point of reaching out to moderate voters, while Walker did not.   [Read more →]

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The Argonaut’s election analysis has declared Mark Farrell’s victory in District 2, although there are ballots to be counted, his dramatic surge in rank choice voting counts on Friday gives him, in the opinion of political experts, an insurmountable lead over Reilly even if her ever-energetic campaign manger, Clint, spends more money on lawyers for a recount. Reilly ran a modern, sophisticated campaign, deluging the district with sharp mailers, but Farrell ran a door-to-door born-and-raised here-went-to-Catholic-schools one-of-your-own and one of the more traditional family-orientated districts in the city. The Catholic vote was very important there and he carried it. If any race was an example that there is still a moderate vote along traditional value lines in the wacky San Francisco presented in the national media, Farrell’s victory contradicts that.

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New Argonaut on the Streets!

Click to read the PDF Version.

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