|Yee at an immigrant rights protest, 2006|
Yee seems to have said an awful lot of incriminating things to undercover agents who were recording them.
Yee has always felt like an odd duck. Like any city pol, he's had to show himself at thousands of neighborhood political events over the years. I've photographed him at a few. He would perform his part, but he always looked a little uncomfortable, like an actor who wasn't quite sure what the character he was playing was supposed to feel.
Journalist Tim Redmond, then with Bay Guardian, wrote an insightful profile of Yee in 2011 when he was gearing up to run for mayor (he lost badly). The Guardian had another candidate in 2011, so something of a hit was to be expected, but the article was thoughtful. Besides pointing out that Yee seemed to have more money than his ostensible income could account for, Redmond's picture was of a pol who had been forced by his location in a very liberal city to mask narrowly conservative instincts. I'd call the piece sympathetic -- and devastating.
Yee seems to evoke that sort of response. He seems misplaced in a city whose signature features he doesn't much love. He seems to be someone with no true friends, but an enormous circle of political acquaintances, always a bit of a foreigner. I'm not, by that assertion, saying Yee is Chinese-American -- this city is full of Chinese-origin political players who seem far more "at home."
Redmond's current response to Yee's arrest carries the same mix of empathy and condemnation:
I wonder what Yee has to bargain with. This could be when having been a loner really hurts him. Or we may be in for a season of "pass the popcorn" in city politics.
|Yee with "a wolf in sheep's clothing" on campaign with his labor buddies in 2010.|