BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN – A leading candidate for mayor of San Francisco has ties to Hawaii.
Leland Yee, a state Senator in California, is a graduate of the University of Hawaii-Manoa, awarded a PhD in Psychology in 1975.
A Freedom for Information Act request to Hawaii County confirms that Yee has an arrest record for a misdemeanor crime that occurred in Kona.
He was in a KTA store in Keaauhou in 1992 when he apparently stuffed a bottle of Tropical Blend Tan Magnifier Oil into his pocket and then under his shirt and walked out of the store.
After being stopped by a security guard, he said he was trying to show the bottle of suntan lotion to his wife who was waiting outside. Local police arrested him.
When it came time for Yee’s court hearing, records show he skipped his court appearance.
His $25 bail was forfeited and the case dismissed.
That was 1992. Yee had another brush with law enforcement in 1999, the San Francisco Weekly reports:
“Although cops stopped him twice in the Mission District’s hooker-row area near Capp Street in 1999, Yee denied soliciting prostitutes. He told the media: ‘They presume that people are driving around there looking for prostitutes, but there are people who use that street to go home. They said there was somebody they thought looked like me who may have been soliciting. And I said, ‘No, I was coming from work.'”
Yee did not respond to two emails from Hawaii Reporter seeking comment on why he skipped his court appearance all those years ago.
But yesterday, Yee’s campaign released a statement highlighting his endorsements from local unions and touting his plans for transparency.
He will oversee the police force if elected mayor of San Francisco.
Yee did have influence on local county officials in recent months. He was in news last January for attacking conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh over his comments “mocking” a Chinese dictator.
Yee said: “Rush Limbaugh reached a new low as he mocked the Chinese language and culture. His classless act is an insult to over 3,000 years of cultural history and is a slap in the face to the millions of Chinese Americans who have struggled in this country and to a people who constitute one-quarter of the world’s population,” Yee said in a written statement. “His comments belittle the contributions of the Chinese community and are sadly indicative of the bigotry that has often plagued his commentary and lined his pockets. Mr. Limbaugh owes the Chinese community an apology for this pointless and ugly offense.”
Honolulu Council Members Stanley Chang and Romy Cachola followed Yee’s lead and issued their own statements against Limbaugh. They even authored resolutions calling on advertisers to ban Limbaugh’s radio show. Eight of nine council members voted for their resolution.