Just How $leazy is Willie L. Brown? Pt. 1

February, 2016

Yes, Willie L.Brown actually went on stage dressed like this. (More Content Magazine modified the background)

“News that the Transbay Terminal is something like $300 million over budget should not come as a shock to anyone. We always knew the initial estimate was way under the real cost....If people knew the real cost from the start, nothing would ever be approved. The idea is to get going. Start digging a hole and make it so big, there’s no alternative to coming up with the money to fill it in.” Willie L. Brown July 27, 2013 in his SF Chronicle weekly column

Links are provided for all of the quotes used in this article. More Content Magazine does not have the resources to verify the accuracy of the information presented in the quotes below. Readers are encouraged to verify all factual claims. The Text in [brackets] was added by More Content Magazine.

“We pay to play here… [Current SF Mayor Ed Lee] was pretty much trained and developed by Willie Brown, the same as myself...” Zula Jones, Human Rights Commission staff....

“…there is nothing specific in the FBI documents attached to the [Shrimp Boy court case] filing to prove that Lee did anything wrong….…but the whole filing paints a sad, sordid picture of San Francisco politics and suggests once again that the legacy of Willie Brown and Ed Lee is one where underlings are taught to do what’s necessary to bring in the money for campaigns and to build political power – and the public interest isn’t really a factor…..” Ed Lee and the FBI Corruption Charges, 48Hills.org

"At post time, the Chron had yet to acknowledge the juicy WSJ story, which quotes documents from a legal file involving a domestic violence case against one Gurbaksh Chahal, a rich, self-important Silicon Valley scumbag who apparently enjoys beating up women. It seems that Chahal, aka “G,” implored venture capitalist Steve Westly — former state Controller and current wannabe’ governor — to help him out of a legal jam, after he was charged with 45 felony counts for allegedly hitting and kicking his girlfriend 117 times in half-an-hour. Westly, Journal sleuth Jeff Elder reported, was motivated to help in order to protect a $100 million planned IPO in which both stood to make a killing.

No fool he, Westly naturally sent his rich and repulsive pal Willie’s way, suggesting Mr. Fixit was well-positioned to help: ….Six days later, in an email with the subject line “Willie Brown,” Mr. Chahal wrote to Mr. Westly: “Just met him. Wants $1 million if he can make this go away. Just gave him a $250K retainer. If you meet him tomorrow. Apply some pressure on him to make this go away in 2013.”

...Let’s review: San Francisco’s leading power broker, a lawyer who doesn’t disclose his clients to readers or editors but commands $1 million fees from millionaires to make ugly criminal charges “go away,” a lobbyist so brazen he used his Chronicle column picture to register with the city — gets the news pages handed over to him to laugh off his well-earned reputation for shameless, scheming and guileful behavior while shouting from the rooftops that he’s got the Chronicle in his pocket.

Former Hearst Chron editor Ward Bushee, who originally brought Brown in to write the column, set down the company line several years ago, when he said that “Willie is…not bound by the (Chronicle’s) ethics policy.” Or anyone else’s either, for that matter….” Willies World Takes Turn for the Worse, Calbuzz.com

"A week ago, Willie Brown, the former California Assembly Speaker and ex-mayor of San Francisco, suggested that former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa should sit out the race in deference to Brown’s favored candidate, state Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris. This could be passed off as Willie Brown just being his old, flamboyant self, or it could be an indication that Bay Area Democratic leaders -- a group not so affectionately described by Southern Californians as “the San Francisco Mafia” -- want to hand the job to Harris right now.

That so-called Mafia dominates the state Democratic Party. Feinstein was mayor of the City by the Bay before she ascended to the Senate. Boxer was a member of Congress from Marin County. The minority leader of the House of Representatives is a San Franciscan, Nancy Pelosi......

Why mess with a sure thing? That’s what the San Francisco Democrats seem to be asking…The answer is that in a state already dominated by one party, if that one party offers only one choice then voters really have no choice at all." Willie Brown warns Villaraigosa: 'Don't crowd Kamala!' David Horsey, LA Times

“The proposal to rename the western span of the Bay Bridge after former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown is generating more controversy as it hurtles through the approval process in Sacramento…Formal Assembly criteria states that clear community consensus must be in place when a major piece of public infrastructure is renamed. Yet in the case of the Willie L. Brown Jr. Bridge, no such consensus exists.

On Aug. 29, former Board of Supervisors presidents Matt Gonzalez, Aaron Peskin and Quentin Kopp fired off an open letter to Senate pro Tem Darrell Steinberg in an attempt to halt the proposal from going any further…. “The state Senate has always been a club, and all those elected officials hope that someday things will be named after them,” Peskin told the Guardian. "I think they should name the old eastern span, that they're demolishing, after him," he added with a chuckle. "You know why? Because it's old and crooked and a danger to society." Proposal to rename Bay Bridge draws controversy, SF Bay Guardian 09-11-2013

“The California Senate gave its blessing to the rename the western span of the Bay Bridge after former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown on Sept. 12, blatantly disregarding mounting local opposition to the proposal…

The same day, Attorneys G. Whitney Leigh and Lee Hepner filed a complaint seeking injunctive relief to overturn the resolution ….The suit, directed at the California Senate and the Assembly and all the lawmakers responsible for pushing it through, alleges "arbitrary suspension and/or violation of legislative rules and policies" to fast track the legislation.” Senate OKs Bay Bridge name change, lawsuit seeks to overturn it, Rebecca Bowe, SF Bay Guardian 09.12.13

“Last week, both houses of the California legislature voted to request that Caltrans, the state’s transportation department, name the western span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge after Willie Brown. …

Critics howled in protest. “Even the newspaper for which Brown writes a column, the San Francisco Chronicle, opposes the idea,” editorialized the San Jose Mercury News. The outraged is justified, but not because of naming the bridge after a living politician…

Rather, it’s because Brown epitomizes everything wrong with large transportation projects in the Bay Area…It was Brown’s selfish actions that prompted a two-year delay in the construction of the eastern span and cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in supplemental studies and inflationary costs. What started out as a roughly $1 billion plan to replace the span, damaged during the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, ballooned over seven delayed years into a $6.4 billion project….

Of course, Brown also has a personal stake in the Transbay Terminal redevelopment, a real estate deal grafted on top of a new Caltrain and California High-Speed Rail terminal: He’ll earn $750,000 for lobbying on behalf of the project’s developers.

And while revolving-door deals are nothing new, former Mayor Brown has made an art of it. He has also been on the payroll of AECOM, a contractor with its fingers in both the Transbay Terminal as well as the Central Subway — a “dog” of a project, as former San Francisco Supervisor Quentin Kopp has called it, that’s beloved by Chinatown power broker Rose Pak but which has found many critics among Bay Area transit advocates.

And just last week, we learned about another revolving door Brown has stepped through: He will go to bat for AnsaldoBreda, manufacturer of Muni’s problem-ridden light rail vehicles….” A Bay Bridge Fit for Willie Brown, Stephen J. Smith, nextcity.org, September 30, 2013

“The internal report on SF Housing Authority management berates ousted director Henry Alvarez as a jerk and a bully, somone who made racist and homophobic comments and intimidated staff. But the report also shows exactly how the corrupt politics of San Francisco contracting works You can't read the whole Chronicle story because of the paywall, but I'll excerpt the part that matters:…

‘…[former Housing Authority staff attorney] Larsen said Alvarez had him resolicit bids three times for a contract to provide security at public housing projects. Alvarez later called Larsen into his office and said he had just returned from lunch with Chronicle columnist and former Mayor Willie Brown where he met Stan Teets, who runs the private security firm Personal Protective Services, which was not poised to win the contract, the report said.

"Larsen said that Alvarez told him, 'You need to figure this out; you need to figure out a way to get PPS the work,' " according to the report. "Larsen said that his belief is that Alvarez saw Brown as an influential person, and that he (Alvarez) therefore needed to get Teets a contract or risk losing his job."’

…we know this is fucking sleazy shit, and it's exactly how the city worked every day when Brown was mayor -- and apparently, it's how things are working again, now that Brown's pal Ed Lee is mayor.” How SF politics (and journalism) really works Tim Redmond,SF Bay Guardian 05.08.13

When Willie L. Brown (Right) speaks, SF Mayor Ed Lee listens

“On Sunday afternoon, former Mayor Willie L. Brown Jr. made an urgent call to Rose Pak, , his longtime political ally and the powerful head of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce. …Word had trickled out that San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors had narrowed the list of interim candidates to replace Mayor Gavin Newsom, the lieutenant governor-elect.

But the contenders — Sheriff Michael Hennessey, former Mayor Art Agnos and Aaron Peskin, the chairman of the city’s Democratic Party — were deemed too liberal by Ms. Pak, Mr. Brown and Mr. Newsom, who are more moderate….Ms. Pak and Mr. Brown decided to pool their efforts on behalf of another Asian-American official: Edwin M. Lee.

Over the next 48 hours, Ms. Pak, Mr. Brown and the Newsom administration engaged in an extraordinary political power play…

“This was something incredibly orchestrated, and we got played,” Supervisor John Avalos, a progressive, said in an interview. “I’m still trying to figure out what happened.

The behind-the-scenes drama was a stark reminder of the enduring power of Ms. Pak and Mr. Brown and their ability to influence city politics at the highest levels, even seven years after Mr. Brown left office… For months, a number of supervisors had asked Mr. Lee if he was interested in being interim mayor, but he had always said no.

The critical stumbling block for Mr. Lee, several people said, was his concern about a rule in the city charter that prohibited elected officials from taking appointed positions within a year of leaving office…He told officials he did not want to risk forfeiting the remainder of his five-year contract as city administrator, worth $1.25 million. … Mr. Newsom’s staffers asked the office of…the city attorney, to begin quietly drafting a charter amendment to allow Mr. Lee to return to the administrator’s post after he served as mayor….

On Tuesday, just hours before the board was to consider nominations and vote for an interim mayor, Mr. Newsom and his allies knew they needed a single vote more to push through Mr. Lee.

Mr. Newsom turned to Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who had initially favored Mr. Lee but had signaled…that he would back Mr. Hennessey…The mayor summoned Mr. Dufty and another supervisor … to his office shortly before the board meeting.

When Mr. Dufty went to the board chamber that evening for what turned into an eight-hour session, he told Mr. Campos that he “felt good about Hennessey,” Mr. Dufty said. That led progressives to nominate their favored candidate, Mr. Hennessey, in an effort to lock up his appointment…But their plan was thrown into chaos when Mr. Dufty refused to vote for Mr. Hennessey, leaving the sheriff one vote shy of the six he needed to secure the nomination.

Mr. Dufty then called for a recess and met with Supervisor Sophie Maxwell and Steve Kawa, Mr. Newsom’s chief of staff, in Mr. Kawa’s office, with Mr. Newsom on speakerphone… Shortly before 10 p.m., Mr. Dufty emerged from Mr. Newsom’s suite to declare that he was ready to vote for Mr. Lee…

[Rose Pak]…was in a boastful mood the next day, several hours before she planned to have celebratory drinks with Mr. [Willie L.] Brown at the Chinatown Hilton.” Behind-the-Scenes Power Politics: The Making of a Mayor, GERRY SHIH, NY Times JAN. 6, 2011

[Comment from More Content Magazine: Mayor Ed Lee gave Dufty the job of Director of Housing Opportunity, Partnerships and Engagement several months later. We could not find salary information for this specific position. Perhaps the position was considered a Department Head I, which appears to be the Department Head classification with the lowest salary. The current salary range for that position is $114,582 to $146,224 annually. (San Francisco DHR Classification And Compensation Database 0961 Dept Head I)]

"PG&E has disclosed a $200,000 payment to Willie Brown for 'consulting services' for 2007 in its annual report to the California Public Utilities Commission. There is also a juicy history with then Mayor Willie Brown and Hearst. Willie as mayor helped secretly orchestrate for Hearst the deal that allowed Hearst in 2000 to buy the Chronicle, give away the Examiner to the Fang family, and dissolve the Ex/Chron joint-operating agreement with the approval of the Justice Department. Remember all those horse-trading charges in which then Examiner publisher testified under oath that he had used the Examiner editorial pages as a bargaining chip with Willie. Ethics? PG&E, Willie Brown, and Hearst, Bruce Brugman, SF Bay Guardian

“Hearst's troubles at the trial began on Day 1, when Examiner publisher Timothy White admitted to "horse trading" with Mayor Brown over Hearst's Chronicle purchase, offering favorable editorial treatment by the Examiner if the mayor agreed to support Hearst's acquisition. It was the testimony heard 'round the world, as media everywhere broadcast the news of a publisher violating what Hearst CEO Frank Bennack called "Journalism 101" -- exchanging editorial support for business favors. Chronicle and Examiner staff howled at the breach of ethics, and Hearst immediately suspended White, who would later say he was "tired and confused" on the witness stand (though he'd made the same admission in a deposition five months earlier).” They trade horses, don’t they? Joan Walsh, Salon.com 06-02-2000

Stay tuned, More Content Magazine already has another nine pages compiled with more Brown Slime on it.

If you want to know more without waiting for our next installment check out Willie Brown Inc./ How S.F.'s mayor built a city based on 'juice' politics Lance Williams and Chuck Finnie, SF Chronicle. This excellent series of articles from 2001 is the mother lode for details on Willie Brown’s activities as San Francisco Mayor and is highly recommended.

Many thanks and kudos to Tim Redmond (former editor of the defunct San Francisco Bay Guardian) who continues to uncover political corruption and incompetence at www.48hills.org.

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