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Best and Worst of Shrimp Boy-Uncle Leland Coverage

Mar28

gavinandshrimpboyEverybody’s friend: Perhaps it was a mere dose of stupid pills that made Gavin Newsom decide to pose for a grip-and-grin with a strutting, flashy, habitual criminal who still boasts his Chinatown gang moniker.

Oh sure, there were a few traits of Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow that more uptight top California elected officials might tend to think of as red flags.

The ankle monitor the feds still require Chow to wear, for example, after he served *part of a 22 year prison sentence; or his autobiography, “Son of the Underworld,” which boasts of his record as a violent enforcer whose career began by stabbing someone when he was 9, plus his proficiency in running prostitutes, dealing drugs, smuggling guns and extorting small business owners; or the TV report – in Newsom’s hometown, the same week he posed and smiled with the guy – that quoted several police sources saying Chow was “still associating with known gang members” and “being followed closely.”

jerryandjimjonesBut clearly none of that stuff stacked up against Shrimp Boy’s own, public promises that he was “turning his life around.” At least not to Newsom, who upheld the tradition of California liberal Democrats getting cozy with sociopaths (see Jones, Jim).

It took the Sacramento Bee about 12 seconds to find the Newsom pic on Shrimp Boy’s Facebook page, and to post it on their site, on a day when Chow co-starred in the dramatic indictment of state Sen. Leland Yee and several dozen members of their posse. As a political matter, it is much to be expected that the scandal, including the Newsom-Chow photo, will have legs into November.

Alas, it doesn’t look like Shrimp Boy will be out in time to cast a ballot for his Facebook friend.

alan-wangThe envelope, please: Overall, Press Clips was duly impressed with the first-days coverage of the scandal by our MSM colleagues. Along with the must-have, just the facts breaking stories and required backgrounders, a couple of reports stood out for special awards:

– KGO-TV’s Alan Wang still shines, two years later, in a first-rate, hard nosed examination – the only by the trusting MSM?  — of Chow’s phony claims of being a changed man (which were swallowed whole by a batch of politicians besides Newsom: Dianne Feinstein, Ed Lee, Tom Ammiano and, of course, Yee, all prepared formal proclamations singing Shrimp Boy’s praises, also posted on FB).

Wang’s 4:55 prescient piece, which aired May 7, 2012, featured a sit-down with Chow in which the reporter repeatedly confronts him with quotes from law enforcement sources calling bushwah on the guy. Shrimp Boy gets his say, but Wang maintains a very skeptical attitude throughout:

Wang: The police still believe you’re involved with a lot of criminal activity.

Chow: What do you think?

Now that’s what you call your non-denial denial.

–Paolo Lucchesi in the Chronicle Food Section (still the best thing about the paper, along with Sports and Costco Carla), who quick-stepped a delightful feature headlined “A San Francisco Walking Tour of the Leland Yee Saga.”

tonysoprano460It begins with a predictable disclaimer that All Of This Is Really Serious Business, but quickly pivots to a rumination on the high-profile role that eating establishments play in the feds’ 137-page affidavit as perfect plotting and planning playgrounds for alleged felonies:

“…in most cases, the specific names of the restaurants were omitted. Was the business being conducted in a dingy diner, like the Greek did in the second season of The Wire? Did the meetings take place in an old school Italian red sauce joint like the famous Sollozzo/McClusky dinner in The Godfather?

Regardless, food and restaurants play a prominent role in the affidavit, from the revelation that “the placing of a black lion outside of the banquet restaurant [is] to send a message of intimidation to all other organizations that Chow’s organization was the oldest and strongest” (Page 31) to the time that two of Chow’s “people … hid their guns across the street in a restaurant bathroom” upon spotting police officers (Page 32). Also: Shrimp Boy.

– KQED’s Scott Detrow’s smart piece that annotated, page by page, the crucial FBI affidavit in support of the arrests of Yee and others. The document itself at times is tough going – the 12-page introduction of the dramatis personae is a real hump – but Detrow provides a good, useful running log of punchy explanations that highlight, explain and connect key passages.

shrimpboytatoosAnd the runners-up:

– Nice work by NBC-Bay Area, which broke the story early Wednesday morning of Yee’s arrest, complete with video of him handcuffed in a cop car and whisked away to the hoosegow, live tweeted by Diane Dwyer.

– Great hustle by the San Jose Mercury News team, which appeared to be the first news org to get independent confirmation of Yee’s arrest (the well-sourced Howard Mintz?) and pushed the story forward all day online. Runner up: The Bee’s Capitol Alert.

– Excellent lead-all print edition story by the Chron. Despite carrying three bylines and 45 words, the lede was crisp, with all essential facts, and the crucial top four grafs unfurled in a smooth, easy to follow rhythm that didn’t overwhelm the reader but carried momentum all the way to the kicker. (A wild guess: Trapper Byrne, world’s greatest desk editor, pulled all the threads together on deadline. was wrong; Trap still the best, though). The irony, of course, is that the paper’s High Sheriffs are working overtime to push the paper out of the, um, paper business.

Cliché of the day (Print Category):

The public corruption case against state Sen. Leland Yee reads like a bad crime novel with off-the-books firearms deals made in parking lots and confessions whispered in a booth at a karaoke bar. L.A. Times.

It reads like a crime novel, listing meetings after meetings throughout the city. S.F. Chronicle.

The federal affidavit, unsealed as Yee headed to federal court, reads like a gripping crime novel. KCRA.

yee 628x471Cliché of the day (Film)  

Steinberg called the charges “shocking and surreal,” adding that the gun-running allegation was “like a bad movie.” L.

With scenes resembling the recent movie blockbuster “American Hustle”… San Jose Mercury News.A. Times.

If this guy wasn’t a Democrat, every screenwriter in Hollywood would be banging out a film script right now . Human Events.

Understatement of the week  award:

Thursday’s decision may also signal that Yee’s political career is coming to an end.

Yah think?

*An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported that Chow had served his complete 22-year prison sentence.


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There are 6 comments for this post

  1. avatar Opatrny says:

    Yee should have taken Willie’s tutorial on how to stay a step and a half ahead of the fibbies.

    • avatar Donald from Pasadena says:

      LOL! My stepfather once offered to me a variation of this sage bit of wisdom, which he first learned from his former days as a battalion commander for a U.S. Army armored division: “Always strive to stay at least ten yards in front of your own dust cloud.”

  2. avatar Hank Plante says:

    Then there’s this terrific AP story, which the Washington Post ran without giving a byline credit. No wonder reporters feel abused and aggregated. (It’s by Garance Burke.) http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/ex-gang-leader-was-praised-as-role-model/2014/03/27/8a5f6358-b579-11e3-bab2-b9602293021d_story.html?tid=pm_pop

  3. avatar chuckmcfadden says:

    With Bob Egelko and company leading the way, The dear old Chron acted like a real newspaper in its terrific coverage of the Yee story. That’s right. The San Francisco Chronicle.

  4. avatar jasonkinney says:

    CALBUZZ REALITY CHECK: Despite your best efforts to create a connection where none exists, there was zero personal or political relationship between Gavin Newsom and the individual known as Shrimp Boy. In fact, a quick Google search reveals that the Newsom Administration went out of its way to distance the City from that individual’s affiliates (see: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Mayor-sinks-Shrimp-Boy-market-3229114.php). The fact he was able to post a picture of himself with Gavin Newsom on Facebook puts Shrimp Boy in roughly the same company as every FB user with a camera who’s ever stepped foot in San Francisco. As Mayor and Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom is highly accessible and approached by countless numbers of people each day for pictures — and he rarely asks for valid identification and a comprehensive background check before agreeing. If random selfies were evidence of some sort of relationship, I guess my wife should be a lot more concerned about my Paris Hilton pics.

    • avatar cawaterguy says:

      Thou doth protest too much…

      I hate to agree with spin doctors but the first six paragraphs aren’t relevant, insightful, or even funny. And I’m pretty low-brow!

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