Cynics, get out your notebooks: Willie Brown weighs in on Leland Yee's downfall
Those who like dollops of cynicism with their political commentary should love Willie Brown's take on Leland Yee's being suspended from the state Senate in the aftermath of the San Francisco Democrat's world crashing down on him last week.
Among other things, Yee is accused of plotting to run guns and rocket launchers for a presumed international criminal syndicate. His Senate colleagues (shocked that there's gambling in their establishment) on Friday essentially gave him a vacation with pay, suspending as opposed to expelling him. While at it, they meted out the same punishment they'd decided against earlier for two other senators, Ron Calderon (D-Montebello), who faces federal bribery and corruption charges, and Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood), already convicted of voter fraud felonies.
For his part, Chronicle columnist, ex-San Francisco mayor and longtime former Assembly Speaker Brown--himself the subject of a long FBI investigation that didn't result in charges while he was in Sacramento--explains why the powers-that-be had to act quickly to "get rid of the stench" from the Senate after the hammer came down on Yee. But, alas, his rationale has more to do with protecting the status quo of a body that poll after poll shows Californians hold in low esteem than with any ethical considerations:
Hearings for Yee and Calderon would have opened up a Pandora's box of questions about what constitutes a bribe versus a political contribution--not a subject politicians want to discuss openly or in detail.
That is why when a member of any political body gets in trouble, he should have the good judgment and courage to walk away, and not require the body to do anything.
Thats' right. Can't have the pesky public focusing too much on Sacramento corruption.