Thursday, October 10, 2019

Animal Rights Hall of Shame: Leland Yee

Criminals, Sex Predators and Drug Addicts. Welcome to the World of Animal Rights.

Meet ex-California state Senator Leland Yee. 

Leland Lee (D-San Francisco/Sam Mateo) is a long-time political operative and animal rights activist in California. He’s also a convicted felon. 

Lee spent a large part of his political career in the pocket of vegan animal rights lawyers like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) pushing their anti-animal legislation on gullible California residents. When he wasn’t a guest speaker at animal rights activism seminars held by HSUS California State Director Jennifer Fearing, he was advocating for gun control and even more hysterically, “campaign finance” reform.

I do not think those words mean what you and I think they mean. For more discerning locals, they didn’t mean what Yee wanted them to mean either.

Rose Pak, a “Chinatown powerbroker,” told the Guardian that Yee had “no moral character.” She rattled off a list of her (unconfirmed) suspicions — “How did the guy manage to buy a million-dollar house on a $30,000 City Hall salary?” — but the gist was clear: Pak didn’t trust him.

That great campaign finance ‘reform’ that Yee was always advocating for meant that his office was for sale to the highest bidder. He regularly exchanged votes and agendas for cash as your typical play to play politician. From his first seat on a local school board, to a position on the city’s Board of Supervisors to state Senator, Yee was a master at talking out of both sides of his mouth. If you didn’t pay, he didn’t vote for your pet legislation.

"It also demonstrates the sense of entitlement that many of our elected officials feel they have to hold power," he said. Yee "wanted at all costs to hold onto power, and I think voters are tired of it."

When he wasn’t being paid for votes, he was shilling for the ‘cute puppy’ vote by promoting an animal rights animal-less vegan world while being a member of the California legislature’s Animal Protection Caucus. As part of his animal rights advocacy , in 2008, Yee sponsored a HSUS bill called S.B. 685. This legislation protects the rights of the wealthy elite to leave vast sums of money in ‘trust’ for their pets when they die. In reality, the money just goes into the pockets of the people in charge of the trust who use the trust to avoid paying taxes.

Leland Yee co-authored S.B. 1221 along with several other legislators to try and outlaw hunting Bobcats and bears with dogs. Joining him in sponsoring this legislation was now ex-State Senator Ronald Calderon (D-Montebello). In 2012, the California Senate voted to pass the legislation which now goes to the legislature to be considered and bobcat attacks on humans is now rising. 

In 2013, Yee was promoted on the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF)’s Humane Scorecard for being a co-sponsor of one of HSUS’s typical anti-animal bills, the anti-hunting bill A.B. 789 and a supporter of the rest of their legislation that year. Over 150 hunters showed up to testify in opposition to 789 but in urban liberal California it passed anyway.

While Yee maintained a clean-cut image on the surface, those who followed his career closely — and opposed him politically — have viewed him as a contradictory figure from the start.

He was never someone who could be trusted, they say. The signs of corruption have been there all along, and whispers about his beguiling character were part of why he came fifth in the 2011 mayoral election.

Yee’s long reign of corruption was finally stopped in 2014. Not because his fake concern for animals was uncovered. No, Yee was exposed when it was revealed that this dirty politician had been taking bribes for years and had a side business in illegally trafficking in guns.

Yee ended up sitting across from an undercover federal agent in a coffee shop in early March, brokering what he was told was a $2 million arms deal that would include the purchase of shoulder-fired missiles from Islamic rebels in the Philippines.

"Do I think we can make some money? I think we can make some money," Yee told the agent in a conversation recounted in a 137-page arrest affidavit. "Do I think we can get the goods? I think we can get the goods."

Yee was ultimately sentenced to five years in prison on racketeering charges for accepting bribes and offering to smuggle weapons from the Philippines for a New Jersey mob.

Busted the same year as Yee for similar bribery charges was another long time HSUS politician former California state Senator Ronald Calderon.

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