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Board of Equalization member Betty Yee, a candidate for state controller, said she was shocked at the news of last week's arrest of state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, on corruption and weapons charges.

And she quickly realized that she had to make clear that, "I'm a different Yee."

"There were some tweets that day about, `Gee, another statewide official with Yee as the last name,'" Betty Yee said in a meeting with The Bee's Editorial Board. "That's awful. We're just keeping a focus on what we have to do."

Betty Yee, who has worked in the Legislature and for the Davis administration, added, "The Leland Yee that I think we all kind of knew as the public person was certainly not the person that we thought."

Betty Yee said she has reached out to California's Chinese-American community for support in the controller's race. Its members have been stunned by Leland Yee's arrest, she said, adding there have been "rumblings" about the San Francisco Democrat's style of campaigning.

"It was, you know, a little bit of a shakedown," Betty Yee said. "It wasn't about establishing relationships or anything meaningful. It was about one transaction."

Leland Yee's lawyer has said he expects his client to plead not guilty.

PHOTO: Betty Yee, a member of the Board of Equalization. Photo courtesy of BOE.


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