News


Brown urges Yee to resign State Senator post

San Francisco Democrat already suspended, but with pay

Gov. Jerry Brown has called on state Sen. Leland Yee, who faces federal corruption and gun trafficking charges, and two other senators to resign after the state Senate passed a resolution suspending all three.

"Given the extraordinary circumstances of these cases-and last Friday's unprecedented suspensions-the best way to restore public confidence is for

these senators to resign," Brown said.

The state Senate passed a resolution March 28 to suspend Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) after a federal criminal complaint unsealed two days earlier revealed that he allegedly offered political favors in return for campaign donations and schemed to bring illegal guns into the country. Yee was arrested and arraigned that day and released on $500,000 bail.

Two Southern California state senators, Rod Wright (D-Baldwin Hills) and Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) were also suspended by the 28-1 vote. Wright was convicted earlier this year on perjury and voter fraud charges, and Calderon has been charged with bribery and corruption.

Both Wright and Calderon have been on paid leaves of absence since earlier this year. However, senators can return from paid leaves of absence

whenever they choose, while a suspension can only be lifted by another vote of the senate.

On the senate floor, state Senate President Darrell Steinberg said he wished the disgraced senators would resign and spare the legislature "the stigma associated with their alleged actions."

"Leave please," he said. "We've made that request and apparently they will not."

Yee has withdrawn his candidacy for California Secretary of State but has not commented on calls for his resignation.

In a statement released after the suspension vote, Yee's defense attorney Paul DeMeester said, "Suspension is the right step for now, and is

appropriate in a system that presumes the innocence of the accused."

Steinberg said under the resolution Yee and the others "cannot serve another day in this senate going forward unless they are exonerated."

Steinberg said Yee's arrest had changed his mind about allowing Calderon and Wright to take leaves of absence.

"After Wednesday's events I recognize that is no longer sufficient," he said.

However, he argued that expulsion, a more extreme option, would "run afoul of the basic American principles of due process and the presumption that people are considered innocent until proven guilty."

Steinberg said the actions of the three senators bring forth questions on "senate culture" and he called for an ethics review to be held in each office Monday, April 7.

"We must do more here in the Senate," and he called for each office to "take stock."

The senate leader said despite required ethics training, "there are some things you just can't teach...I know of no ethics class that teaches about the dangers of gun running and other such sordid activities."

Senate Republic Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) issued a statement supporting the suspensions, saying they were necessary to restore the public

trust in the senate.

"I have been asked if this behavior is systemic to the institution, that it goes with the territory, but I don't believe it does," Huff said. "While it is very troublesome that we have three separate senators in one year convicted or charged with various felonies, most of us are honest, hard-working citizens truly honored to represent our districts."

As part of the resolution, Yee is suspended from his office until his criminal case has been resolved.

Yee is charged with one count of weapons trafficking and scheming to defraud citizens of his honest services by allegedly soliciting and

accepting campaign contributions in a federal criminal complaint.

He is one of 26 defendants named in the complaint, which also includes notorious San Francisco gang leader Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow and former San Francisco school board president Keith Jackson, who is implicated in a planned murder-for-hire scheme.

— Bay City News Service

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by William Tell
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2014 at 6:44 am

I thought being a criminal was a prerequisite to be in California's one-party Democrat legislature. If everyone who was a criminal (and just didn't get caught yet) had to step down, the Senate and Assembly would only be 20-30% full.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by local
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2014 at 8:47 am

The Senate leader Steinberg should resign.

He made the statement that legislators never received ethics training about "gun running or other such sordid activities."

I guess the legislature was not aware that gun running was not ethical (as well as illegal) and they need training on that.

Next thing they will say is that they did not receive ethics training that says that shoplifting is not ethical.

It is obvious that the crooks are leading the state and they are all watching out for each other, until somebody is caught.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 31, 2014 at 9:49 am

I think that it's waaaaaaaaay cool that Leland Yee got BUSTED! I wouldn't want to have lunch with him....BUSTED...HOORAY! tee hee...

i rest my case...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Martin W.
a resident of Foothill Place
on Mar 31, 2014 at 1:55 pm

Ahhhh California politics, at least we keep all the late night talk show hosts with plenty of material. We still can't hold a candle to the level of corruption you'll find in my home state of Illinois but you can't blame us for trying!

Keep up the great work Democrats!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mari
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 1, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Poor guy needed the money for Sec. of State campaign. Shouldn't gone into politics.


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