Labor War: Building Trades to Picket Tonight's Labor Council Soiree

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Boom! And the labor war is under way...
A long-simmering San Francisco labor conflict figures to erupt into open hostilities tonight when members of the Building and Construction Trades Council boycott and picket the Labor Council's annual fund-raising banquet.

For the staunch labor supporters and union members attending this yearly San Francisco ritual, a paradox may ensue: What do you do when a labor group is picketing a labor gathering? 

The notion of having to cross a picket line in order to gain access to one of San Francisco's most pivotal pro-labor fund-raising events is enough to cause this city's collective mind to implode. This messy outcome may be averted, however, via a semantic safety valve: In the letter to be handed out to banquet attendees -- which SF Weekly has obtained ahead of time -- tonight's action is described as "leafleting." 

Yet it'll take more than word games to assuage what is now a very public, very open rift within the labor community. After all, money and politics are involved. And, like virtually every dispute in San Francisco, it all comes down to land use.  

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Willie Brown's Grotesque Defense of Leland Yee

Categories: Media, Politics
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"None of Yee's decisions affected the public..."
It's hard to wring positives out of Willie Brown's bizarre Chronicle column urging us to all give Leland Yee "a break" because of the supposedly piddling nature of his alleged crimes, but there is this: This is the column the Chronicle deserved in return for its decision to give Willie Brown a column. 

When you hand the town's biggest fixer a megaphone, it's hard to feel sorry for you when he uses it to announce that Yee's real crime was not thinking big enough. 

Perhaps in-between flogging his personal and political interests, Brown actually writes what he thinks. That could explain his indignation with readers for having the temerity to question the Transbay Terminal's $300 million overrun ("get off it"). 

And it could also account for his sudden advocacy for poor Yee. 


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Prop. 13: No Easy Tweaks, No Matter How Well They Poll

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Second thoughts?
It's remarkable how giddy this state's more left-leaning voters -- and that'd be most of us -- get whenever even the most tepid announcement is made about rejiggering Proposition 13. 

The 1975 ballot initiative, which froze property tax rates at that year's level and only reassesses them upon sale or transfer of a structure, is a prime example of the law of unintended consequences. The state's school system was eviscerated and our roads have been left to fend for themselves. Students can't read well enough to decipher signs warning of crater-sized potholes. It's not a good look here in the Golden State. 

But, in yet another Waiting for Godot moment, those hoping to do away with the iniquitous law were pleased by a recent poll showing major support for tweaking Prop. 13. The vast majority of respondents would favor reassessing business properties upon sale or transfer akin to residential properties. 

There's a problem here, however. It's damn near impossible to keep track of this if the business involved doesn't want you to. And, oftentimes, they don't. 

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Michael Petrelis, Blogger Arrested Trying to Photograph Supe. Wiener's Wiener, Is Running for Supervisor

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Bill Wilson Photos
Gay activist/blogger and City Hall gadfly Michael Petrelis kicked off his campaign for District 8 Supervisor on Saturday, determined to unseat his nemesis Supervisor Scott Wiener.

If you recall, the duo made headlines a few years ago after Wiener got a restraining order against Petrelis who had shot and posted to his personal blog a photo of Wiener in the bathroom at City Hall. Apparently, Petrelis had been attempting to photograph the supervisor as he was using the urinal, but the shot ended up showing nothing more than Wiener grabbing his toothbrush and leaving the bathroom in a huff.

On Saturday, the always over-the-top Petrelis riffed off that controversy and decided to use the public toilet at Castro and Market streets as the backdrop for his campaign announcement.

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Leland Yee: Grand Jury Indicts Suspended Senator and 28 Other Defendants

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Yee surrounded by a scrum of reporters.
The U.S. government is ratcheting up its case against Senator Leland Yee, whose bribery and corruption charges left San Francisco voters dumb-struck last Wednesday.

Yee was apprehended along with 28 other defendants including famed Chinatown gangster Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow, political consultant Keith Jackson, and sports agent Marlon Sullivan.

The suspects had allegedly formed a vast crime web that took years for federal agents to unravel, and ultimately produced a 137-page criminal complaint. It describes a litany of charges that could send the defendants to jail for decades, including money laundering, conspiracy to sell drugs, and murder-for-hire; Yee was popped for public corruption and attempting to broker illegal firearms deals. Fellow senators voted to suspend him with pay two days later.

And now a federal grand jury returned the indictment to solidify those charges, giving the feds a more airtight case.

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Did SF Archdiocese Put Nancy Pelosi on Probation From Communion in the Catholic Church?

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SF Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, seen here in a lovely pink top, doesn't think gays should marry.

This week, Right Wing News reported that San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone indicated Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi shouldn't receive Holy Communion anymore, because of her positions deviate from the teachings of the church.

As you recall, the Archbishop drew the ire of the LGBT community when he assumed office in part because he was a strong supporter of Prop 8, the now-defeated gay marriage ban.

So now is the Archbishop really looking to "excommunicate" Pelosi?

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Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords Talks About Gun Control to a Packed Audience in Oakland

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Gabrielle Giffords
A packed house of enthusiastic admirers filled the Paramount Theater in downtown Oakland last night to greet former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly.

Giffords became a national symbol for gun control when she was shot in the head on Jan. 8, 2011 outside a Safeway store in her Tuscon area district. It was to be the first of her "Congress on Your Corner" gatherings of the year. Shooter Jared Lee Loughner killed six that day, and injured 19, including the Congresswoman. Daniel Hernandez Jr, one of Giffords' interns, applied immediate first aid on the Congresswoman and is credited with saving her life.

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Leland Yee: Politician Not Busted for Type of Corruption Charges Everyone Anticipated He'd Be Busted For

Categories: Politics
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Jim Herd
Don't look behind you, Leland. Something might be gaining on you. 
As the impact of L'affaire Leland Yee continues to wash over San Francisco and its denizens, a number of popular themes have solidified. 

A State Senator hoodwinked into brokering an arms deal for Filipino jihadis; a gangster named "Shrimp Boy" with a predilection for gangsterism and having himself photographed with anybody and everybody; a political consultant, his son, and the son's sports agent buddy providing firearms for marijuana-tending thugs and stumbling into a murder-for-hire conspiracy: This is movie shit. 

Decades from now, audiences will laugh at the vintage 2014 costumes and hairstyles -- and Yee's windbreaker -- as the 2044 equivalent of Bradley Cooper portrays a dashing undercover FBI agent. 

Get the popcorn started. But the more salient theme for those of us who've lived here a while and hope to continue doing so pertains to Yee's political ascent. In short, these aren't the sort of corruption charges anyone expected him to get busted for. But Yee getting busted for corruption is a rabbit-out-of-a-rabbit-hutch moment.  

Yee has a well-earned reputation as a "human jukebox." You put the money in and it sings the song you want. Granted, it'd be a shock if you put money in the jukebox and guns and jihadis came out. But, if the voluminous criminal complaint underpinning the charges against Yee and 25 others is correct, he's simply transcended the legal, transactional role of a slick politician into a more lucrative and illegal version of the same game. 

He was, then, behaving like Leland Yee -- only more so. 



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Sen. Leland Yee's Alleged Medical Marijuana Bribe Didn't Pay Off

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A friend in weed, allegedly

Taking cash from a mob-connected pot dealer in exchange for favors is crooked. Taking cash from an undercover FBI agent posing as the mob in exchange for favors -- and then not following through with those favors -- is something else entirely.

Something only Sen. Leland Yee would do.

That appears to be what the disgraced lawmaker and allegedly corrupt official did on medical marijuana, according to the criminal complaint filed in federal court this week.


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Legislature to Vote on Suspending Sen. Leland Yee Today (Update)

Categories: Politics

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Leland Yee and a throng of reporters
Update 12:20 p.m.: The Senate voted 28-1 this morning to suspend Sen. Leland Yee upon his bribery and corruption charges. The dissenting vote came from Republican Joel Anderson (R-San Diego) who preferred expulsion to suspension. The Chron reports that the Senate also suspended Sen. Ron Calderon of Montebello, who has been charged with bribery and corruption, and Sen. Rod Wright of Baldwin Park, who was convicted earlier this year of eight counts perjury and voter fraud.

Immediately after the vote, Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) issued a disappointed statement, calling the suspensions nothing more than a taxpayer-paid vacation.

Original Story: Sen. Leland Yee has yet to answer calls to resign from his position in the Legislature so lawmakers this morning are planning to vote on booting him out.

According to NBC News, senators are meeting in the Senate Chambers in Sacramento at 9 a.m., where they'll ask Yee one final time if he'll resign amid his bribery and corruption charges.

And if he says no, he will be suspended Senate pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg's Office told the news station.

See Also: Here Are Our Favorite Tweets About Leland Yee's Arrest

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