Application for Russell Mark Yee

Initial Application

Below is the initial application for the Citizens Redistricting Commission. In this section of the application you will be asked to provide personal information that will assist the Applicant Review Panel in processing your application.

You do not have to complete the entire application at one time. At any point, you can save your application using the "Save Application" button. After the application has been saved, you can return to this site to complete the application using your email and password if you choose to set one. Be sure to submit your initial application on or before August 19, 2019.

All fields with * are required to submit the application.

Identification Information
Russell
Mark
Yee
Physical Address
OAKLAND
CA
94602
Alameda
Mailing Address (If different than Physical Address)
OAKLAND
CA
94602
United States

Gender

Gender*

Racial or Ethnic Background

Select the circle that best describes your race/ethnicity*
Latino Group
Pacific Islander Group
Asian Group
Other Groups

The Voters FIRST Act is designed to produce a Citizens Redistricting Commission that is reasonably representative of the state's diversity. This information is required to help the Applicant Review Panel identify a diverse pool of the most qualified applicants. Although your specific date of birth will remain confidential, your age may be calculated from your date of birth and made public.

Economic Status

What was your total household income during the past 12 months?*

Eligibility Information

If you are uncertain about your prior voting registration, voting record, or party affiliation, we suggest that you contact the county clerk or voter registrar in the county in which you resided during the period of time in question. The contact information and address for California's county elections offices can be found at https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov/.

1. Have you been continuously registered to vote in the State of California since July 1, 2015?*

2. With what party are you registered?*

3. Has your political party affiliation remained the same since July 1, 2015?

4. Indicate in which of the last three statewide general elections you voted, (check all that apply)*:

Conflicts of Interest

The Voters FIRST Act (Act) is designed to produce a Citizens Redistricting Commission that is independent from legislative influence and, therefore, disqualifies from service any person having a conflict of interest as defined by the Act. The information below is required to help the State Auditor and the Applicant Review Panel identify any conflicts of interest you may have.

5. Have you done any of the following within 10 years of the date you submit this application:

5a. Have you within 10 years of the date you submit this application been appointed to, elected to, or a candidate for a California congressional or state office (Appointed means appointed by the Governor, a member of the Legislature, or a member of the State Board of Equalization; or served at the pleasure of the Governor, a member of the Legislature, or a member of the State Board of Equalization)?*

5b. Have you within 10 years of the date you submit this application served as an officer, employee, or paid consultant of a California political party or of the campaign committee of a candidate for a California congressional or elective state office?*

5c. Have you within 10 years of the date you submit this application served as an elected or appointed member of a political party central committee in California?*

5d. Have you within 10 years of the date you submit this application been a lobbyist registered with the State of California or a California local government?*

5e. Have you within 10 years of the date you submit this application been a registered federal lobbyist?*

5f. Have you within 10 years of the date you submit this application served as a paid California congressional, legislative, or State Board of Equalization staff?*

5g. Have you within 10 years of the date you submit this application contributed $2,500 or more to any California congressional, state, or local candidate for elective public office within any single calendar year?(This amount has been adjusted using the California Consumer Price Index.)*

6. Are you currently serving as staff, or as a consultant to the Governor of California, a member of the California Legislature, a California member of Congress, or a member of the State Board of Equalization?*

7. Are you currently under contract with the Governor of California, a member of the California Legislature, a California member of Congress, or a member of the State Board of Equalization?*

When answering questions 8 and 9, immediate family means your parents, step-parents, spouse, registered domestic partner, children, step-children, siblings, step-siblings, parents-in-law, siblings-in-law, and sons- and daughters-in-law with whom you have done the following:

8. Do you have an immediate family relationship with the Governor of California, a member of the California Legislature, a California member of Congress, or a member of the State Board of Equalization?*

9. Has a member of your immediate family done any of the following within 10 years of the date you submit this application:

9a. Has a member of your immediate family within 10 years of the date you submit this application been appointed to, elected to, or a candidate for a California congressional or state office? (Appointed means appointed by the Governor, a member of the Legislature, or a member of the State Board of Equalization, or served at the pleasure of the Governor, a member of the Legislature, or a member of the State Board of Equalization)?*

9b. Has a member of your immediate family within 10 years of the date you submit this application served as an officer, employee, or paid consultant of a California political party or of the campaign committee of a candidate for a California congressional or elective state office?*

9c. Has a member of your immediate family within 10 years of the date you submit this application served as an elected or appointed member of a political party central committee in California?*

9d. Has a member of your immediate family within 10 years of the date you submit this application been a lobbyist registered with the State of California or a California local government?*

9e. Has a member of your immediate family within 10 years of the date you submit this application been a registered federal lobbyist?*

9f. Has a member of your immediate family within 10 years of the date you submit this application served as a paid California congressional, legislative, or State Board of Equalization staff?*

9g. Has a member of your immediate family within 10 years of the date you submit this application contributed $2,500 or more to any California congressional, state, or local candidate for elective public office within any single calendar year?(This amount has been adjusted using the California Consumer Price Index.)*

PRIVACY NOTIFICATION AND WAIVER

LEGAL AUTHORITY AND REASON FOR COLLECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION

The Voters FIRST Act (Act) and the regulations implementing the Act require that the selection of commissioners for the Citizens Redistricting Commission (Commission) be open to public scrutiny and the press (California Constitution, Article XXI, section 2, subdivision (c); Government Code sections 8252, 11120, 11121, and 11125.1; California Code of Regulations, title 2, sections 60835, 60836, 60842, and 60846). The Act also requires the California State Auditor's Office (State Auditor's Office) to select 60 of the most qualified applicants based upon their voter affiliation; eligibility to serve pursuant to Article XXI of the California Constitution; the absence of any conflicts of interest; relevant analytical skills; ability to be impartial; appreciation for California's diverse demographics and geography; and racial, ethnic, geographic, gender, and economic diversity. To determine each applicant's identity and qualifications to serve on the Commission and to track the demographic information of the applicant pool, this application seeks personal information about applicants that will be provided to the Applicant Review Panel, State Auditor's Office staff, and the public, including members of the press, the Legislature, and the Commission.

CONSEQUENCE OF NOT PROVIDING ALL REQUESTED INFORMATION

Failure to provide all of the requested information will result in your disqualification and the removal of your name from the applicant pool. Thus, if you wish to serve on the Commission, it is mandatory that you submit a response for each item of information requested.

PERMISSION TO USE AND RELEASE PERSONAL INFORMATION

By submitting this application, you acknowledge that the application, all documents submitted in support of your application, including a Statement of Economic Interests (FPPC Form 700) if you are asked to submit one, letters of recommendation, materials generated as a result of any State Auditor's Office or Applicant Review Panel investigation of you, and all public comments and responses to public comments about your application are public records. You agree that the State Auditor's Office shall provide copies of these materials to members of the public and the press, members and staff of the Applicant Review Panel, State Auditor's Office staff, the Legislature, the Commission, and as otherwise compelled by law. You understand that members of the Applicant Review Panel and the public may make public statements about you. You authorize the State Auditor's Office to use the information submitted by and about you as the State Auditor's Office deems necessary to select commissioners, replacement commissioners, or otherwise comply with its legal duties. You also authorize the State Auditor's Office to post all materials related to your application to serve on the Commission on its website and any website authorized by the State Auditor's Office.

VOLUNTARY WAIVER OF PRIVACY RIGHTS AND STATE AUDITOR'S OFFICE LIABILITY

By applying to be a commissioner, you are waiving your privacy and other rights under various state and federal laws including, but not limited to, the Information Practices Act (Cal. Civil Code section 1798 et seq.), and any defamation, invasion of privacy, and negligence claim you may have against the State Auditor's Office and those acting on its behalf. Accordingly, by waiving your privacy rights, you are agreeing to permit the State Auditor's Office to release any and all information submitted by or about you, EXCEPT that the State Auditor's Office will not post on the Internet your date of birth; physical, mailing, and email addresses (excluding the city and county); telephone numbers; the addresses and telephone numbers of your immediate family members; or any materials that the State Auditor's Office deems offensive. At this point in the process, the State Auditor's Office will not collect, and you should not voluntarily submit to the State Auditor's Office, your social security number, driver's license number, financial account numbers, or health information. By submitting your application, you acknowledge and consent to the release of the information you and others are providing related to you and, except as specifically provided above, you are waiving your right to privacy regarding all information relating to you and your application to serve as a commissioner. This waiver authorizes the State Auditor's Office to make public information submitted by or about you for a period of 12 years from the date of your application, even if you are not selected as a commissioner. You are providing this waiver voluntarily, understanding that the State Auditor's Office shall not be legally liable as a result of the release of information submitted by or about you or as the result of comments made about you by others, and that the State Auditor's Office will post on its website or otherwise release publicly. This includes claims of defamation, invasion of privacy, negligence, and any other statutory or common law claims.

WHOM TO CONTACT

You have a right to review personal information the State Auditor's Office maintains about you and to verify its accuracy. Please contact the State Auditor's Office's Information Privacy Officer at (916) 445-0255; 621 Capitol Mall, Suite 1200, Sacramento, California, 95814; if you would like to view or obtain information about the location of your records and the categories of persons who use the information in your records.

Affirmation

I affirm, by entering my initials in the box, that the statements contained in this application are true and correct to the best of my knowledge, and that I have read and understand the Privacy Notification and Waiver.

ry

07/25/2019 3:04:27PM

Supplemental Application

Congratulations on moving forward to the supplemental application for the Citizens Redistricting Commission (Commission). You must provide an answer to all questions that apply to you. If you miss a question, you will be prompted to answer missing responses before you can submit the application.

You do not have to complete the entire application at one time. At any point, you can save your application using the "Save Application" button. After the application has been saved, you can use your email address and password to return to this site to complete the application. Be sure to submit your supplemental application on or before October 20, 2019.

All fields with * are required to submit the application.

Part 1: Essay Questions:

The response to each of the following essay questions is limited to no more than 3200 characters including spaces (approximately 500 words). The response fields below will allow you to cut and paste text from any word processing program such as Microsoft Word.

I believe in the American experiment in nationhood based on ideals and not ancestry. First among these ideals is equality. And one essential manifestation of that equality is equitable voting districts.

I've voted in every election since I came of age, with a sense that this American experiment always hangs in the balance. That balance is now tipping badly! Bipartisanship seems dead. Party loyalty has become absolute. An era of winner-take-all politics has turned open-mindedness and comity into intolerable weaknesses. Truth and facts have become debased currency. Voter turnout remains dismal. Faith in our system is wearing thin.

But I have faith in our system! I want to be part of this effort to renew and promote faith and function in our democracy, and so make my small contribution towards a more perfect union.

I want to help my state lead the nation in advancing political equality through non-partisan redistricting.

I enthusiastically voted for the Propositions behind this Commission. Non-partisan redistricting is both a fundamentally worthy idea and a salutary corrective in our hyperpartisan times. Recently, I was deeply chagrined by the U.S. Supreme Court's Rucho decision but heartened by Wake County's Lewis decision. But favorable court decisions aren't enough without successful non-partisan redistricting efforts. I want to help California as it leads with a second round of the nation's largest such effort.

I believe equitable voting districts help promote:

- FAIR REPRESENTATION. While voting districts always involve many compromises, their fundamental goal should be for all votes to count as equally. Minority (racial or otherwise) votes shouldn't be artificially concentrated ("packing") or dispersed ("cracking"). Gerrymandering is deeply and dangerously unjust.

- FAITH IN DEMOCRACY. Fairness matters even more than winning. If I cast a losing vote, I need to know I lost fairly, or else I will lose my faith in democracy.

- A HEALTHY POLITICAL PARTY SYSTEM. We need a healthy two/multi-party system with genuinely contested elections. While regional political differences and communities of interest should be respected, minority parties should have conceivable pathways to greater representation. Likewise, the majority party should never feel entirely "safe" and should always need to re-earn its place.

- COMMITMENT TO THE COMMON GOOD. We need leaders who are practiced in compromise and consider all their constituents regardless of party affiliation, who widely seek the common good even while honorably supporting their party positions.

- POSITIVE TRENDS IN VOTER TURNOUT. More people vote when they think it matters, when contests are truly contested.

This Commission is the first political opportunity I've encountered that motivates me 100% fully and unreservedly to get involved. This Commission is simply a great idea and I want to be part of it!

Practically speaking this is also an excellent time in my life for such a commitment. My kids are grown and my present work is flexible. I'll be able to give this important work the focused time and full attention it needs and deserves.

At my former church, where I was the pastor, we spent a whole year on a big decision about which Christian denomination to join. It was a tough process with many very strong thoughts and feelings shared. In the end we all agreed on a choice that I had not initially preferred but came to fully support.

Some years ago I was a juror in a nine-week(!) murder trial. We deliberated the several charges at great length. As we debated the final count, I found myself a "holdout" on one point. After further consideration I eventually conceded, deciding I could live with the majority view. When we did finally reach unanimous verdicts it felt like justice had truly been served. That experience gave me great faith in the jury system.

I served as the first board secretary of the East Bay chapter of Habitat for Humanity. There were many strong personalities on that board and many decisions meeting after meeting. I remember prevailing in my advocacy for one particular family to be chosen for a house. I also remember conceding to the majority over one particular fund-raising effort. It was all a very positive experience doing important and challenging work together.

I've also sat in innumerable leadership meetings for other non-profits. I've had endless opportunities to practice listening to different sides, speaking my own convictions, and coming to decisions even with imperfect and incomplete data. I've led many meetings where deep disagreements were aired. While I don't enjoy leading in contentious moments, I'm fully motivated to serve well, and have been told I lead effectively.

At my church I'm probably in the political minority. I chose to be in a place where I can learn from those who see things differently from me. While I'm a lifelong Republican I regularly vote for candidates of various parties. I have close friends and family of different parties, some apolitical and some strong partisan activists. I've learned a lot from different sides and have changed my own opinions on various issues over the years (e.g., after the Great Recession, I'm pro-financial regulation).

Being impartial is a way of acknowledging that none of us has the whole take on truth and all of us need to genuinely consider those we disagree with. Also, by culture, upbringing, and personality, I'm given to put shared needs above my personal desires.

I'm a married man with two daughters, so I compromise and "give in" all the time! In all seriousness, marriage and family life is a long exercise in putting the common good before personal wants. Earlier this year I had to mediate my family's decision about where to go for a vacation. There were deep disagreements. In the end I had to not only compromise on my own preferences but also had to motivate my wife and daughters to each make her own compromises so that we could all finally agree. And in the end we had a great trip!

I was raised in a family that treated voting as a duty and privilege, and left us each to vote our own conscience. Now with my own family, we discuss candidates and measures together but respect our differing opinions and votes. In my family of four we have three different party affiliations.

I'm a longtime docent in the History Gallery of the Oakland Museum of California. Along with the California Museum in Sacramento, we tell the story of our Golden State. I love leading groups of schoolchildren, especially multiracial groups, and best of all with kids from recently-arrived immigrant families. I revel in impressing on these children the diversity of California. I start them with our map of California's 100+ indigenous tribes and tell them firmly that "California has ALWAYS been vastly multicultural!" I lead them through our state's history of immigration, displacement, settlement, migration, conflict, and integration. I take care to include Native American perspectives on history and on current efforts towards indigenous rights and cultural revival.

I teach a college class about Oakland, my home town. I delight in replacing simplistic ideas about Oakland with a wide appreciation for Oakland's vast diversity. I show how Oakland has changed dramatically several times in its history. We look at historical U.S. Census figures for Oakland and I trace the changing racial categories (e.g., up through 1970 one could only be "White," "Non-White," "Negro," or "Other"). We discuss how and why the Census treats "Hispanic" as an ethnicity separate from race. I take pains to emphasize the complexity and importance of these matters.

In my seminary teaching I emphasize matters of culture and faith. I challenge assumptions some students have about the normativity of the majority culture and/or the uniformity of any given minority culture. I have them reflect on their own senses of ancestry and self-identity, and listen to each other's stories and (very) different perspectives.

I've been the director of several grant-funded projects exploring matters of culture in Christian worship. I'm especially proud of one conference that brought together Asian American and African American church leaders for a beautiful day of presentations, music, workshops, and meals exploring their two cultures.

I'm proud to be a California native and to locate my story among the vast landscape of peoples here. Ever since I was a boy I've had strong, distinct sense of place--of my city, state, and nation as mine. As a schoolboy I would ride around on our (then-new) BART trains just to ride around on it! I loved the sense of discovery and belonging, of taking full advantage of this diverse place where I get to live.

While I've only lived in the Bay Area I've also spent considerable time in Southern California. While I'm not bilingual I'm quite familiar with the wide landscape of Asian American communities. I interact regularly with recent and long-ago immigrants and am very familiar with bicultural dynamics.

While I believe diversity is good, it's not an unlimited good. To be a body politic, to be a nation and a state together we do need some shared values, beliefs, and senses of our common identity. I believe in our American values of equality and freedom. I believe in our particular California qualities such as wide diversity, ongoing self-invention, a deep sense of our dramatically varied natural environment, and our willingness to lead into the future.

My education includes both science and humanities degrees. I'm comfortable with numbers, statistics, charts, and figures. I use Excel regularly. I've taken a college-level statistics class and manage our family finances. But I'm even more at home in the world of narratives, descriptions, and reports. I savor excellent writing and am strongly motivated to craft effective and clear written work. Effective presentations warm my heart and I work very hard at my own PowerPoint talks.

And I love maps! Browsing Google Maps is one of life's great pleasures! On airplanes I crave window seats and can spend whole flights gazing at the landscape below, with all its endlessly fascinating natural and humanly-created features. When I happen to fly at night, or over clouds, or don't get a window seat, I'm greatly disappointed! As a marathon runner I'm constantly using GPS data and maps, and I love running in new places.

I also enjoy geography trivia. I can spend hours reading Wikipedia articles on boundary histories, disputes, and oddities. When I learned my younger daughter's boyfriend is from Delaware, I soon learned about its Twelve Mile Circle and its Wedge (features of its northern border). I like knowing why Alameda and Contra Costa Counties share an odd border bend. One of my favorite displays at the Oakland Museum of California depicts how California's eastern border was set after heavy debate at our 1849 constitutional convention in Monterey. Our state came close to looking drastically different!

I'm also educating myself about redistricting by listening to podcasts (especially FiveThirtyEight's "The Gerrymandering Project"), watching documentaries (I just got Jeff Reichert's "Gerrymandering" from the library), and reading books (currently Bullock's "Redistricting: the Most Political Activity in America").

Large analytical projects I've completed include my PhD dissertation (which was a sociolinguistic analysis of liturgical vs. free worship in Christian churches), my one published book (Worship on the Way: Exploring Asian North American Christian Experience, which remains the only book-length treatment of the subject), and my 2018 Boston Qualifying marathon race (which involved not only years of physical training but also years of reading, research, and quantitative analysis of my training progress). I've also had numerous essays published on local history topics, e.g., a detailed history of the "I AM AN AMERICAN" sign in the famous Dorthea Lange WWII photograph of a Japanese American storefront in Oakland.

The 2010 Commission's maps, tables, meeting agendas, and reports motivate and excite me. So very much of my life, background, and interests inspire me to want to serve on the 2020 Commission. I would love to give myself to the technical work, training, hearings process, travel, issues and debates, and final map production of this Commission. I would love to document and reflect on this Commission's work and then help inspire and inform others about the benefits and challenges of non-partisan redistricting. I would love to pour myself into something so very important for our state and our nation! Thank you for your consideration.

Part 2: General Information

Secondary Education
Did you graduate from high school?*
If not, do you possess a GED or equivalent?

University or College, Business, Correspondence, Trade, or Service School(s) Attended

Post-Secondary Education
University of California, Berkeley
Nutrition & Food Science
BS, with highest honors
4
1982
Post-Secondary Education
Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, TX
Old Testament
ThM, with highest honors
4
1990
Post-Secondary Education
Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley, CA
Anglican Studies
Certificate of Anglican Studies
1
1991
Post-Secondary Education
Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA
Worship, Proclamation, and the Arts
PhD
6
1997

Employment History

Employment History
09/01/1999
09/06/19
Fuller Theological Seminary
Affiliate Associate Professor of Worship
12 of the past 20 years in adjunct and affiliate appointments

Teaching masters-level seminary courses

Employment History
01/01/2013
(present)
St. Mary's College of California
Adjunct Associate Professor
1 month annually for the past 7 years

Teaching undergraduate college classes

Employment History
2007
2010
New Hope Covenant Church
Associate Pastor of Worship
3 years

Working with pastoral staff and volunteers to plan and lead weekly Sunday worship services

Employment History
1991
2001
New Life Christian Fellowship
Pastor
10 years

Developing organizational and staff leadership, planning and leading Sunday worship, providing Christian education and pastoral care

Activities

2018 - present
Running for a Better Oakland
Mentor and general volunteer for youth running program

2013 - present
Oakland Museum of California
History Docent, Newsletter Reporter

2003 - present
New Hope Covenant Church, Oakland
Council chairperson (which has included staff hiring duties) 2015 - 19
Active volunteer in many roles (committees, work teams, teaching, etc.)

2006 - 2016
ISAAC (Institute for the Study of Asian American Christianity)
Co-founder and board member
Editor SANACS (Society of Asian North American Christian Studies) Journal

(See my "Financial Contributions" for many other organizations I've supported.)

Former Names, Nicknames or Aliases

Have you used or been known by any other names, nicknames, or aliases since you became an adult?*

Criminal History

Have you ever been convicted of a felony by any court?*

Voting Information

When you voted in any of the last three statewide general elections (i.e. the elections in November 2014, November 2016, and November 2018), did you vote using a different name or address than those you used on the initial application?*

Former Residences

List all of the places you have lived for 30 days or more at one time during the last 10 years (do not include information for where you lived prior to your 18th birthday). This does not include your current residence. If you lived in temporary housing while permanently residing somewhere else, note that with an * in the street address line:

Financial Contributions

List all of the monetary and non-monetary contributions valued at a total of $250 or more that you have made in any single calendar year during the past two years to any professional, social, political, volunteer, and/or community organization or cause. Begin with your most recent contribution:

Financial Contribution
(monthly)
New Hope Covenant Church
Oakland, CA
2018 - $15,000; 2019 YTD - $11,700
Financial Contribution
Feb. 2018, Aug. 2019
World Vision (child sponsorship & disaster relief)
Tacoma, Washinton
$1,290
Financial Contribution
(quarterly)
SEED (literacy & Bible translation)
Arlington, TX
2018 - $4,800; 2019 - 3,900 YTD
Financial Contribution
(quarterly)
Association of Baptists for World Evangelization (seminary education in Hong Kong)
Harrisburg, PA
2018 - $4,800; 2019 - $5,200
Financial Contribution
Oct. 2018, June 2019
Harbor House (community non-profit)
Oakland, CA
$630
Financial Contribution
Oct, 2018, July 2019
Running for a Better Oakland (youth athletics program)
Oakland CA
$425
Financial Contribution
July 2019
Leadership Resources (training and relief work in Nepal)
Palos Heights, IL
$3,000
Financial Contribution
Sept. 22, 2019
Vinewood Church
Berkeley, CA
$1,000
Financial Contribution
Dec. 2018; Jan., Sept. 2019
Save the Redwoods League
San Francisco, CA
$350
Financial Contribution
Jun., Dec. 2018
The Navigators (pastoral training and health work in Cambodia)
Colorado Springs, CO
$700
Financial Contribution
July 2018
Agape Your Neighbor (relief work in Nepal)
Elk Grove, CA
$500
Financial Contribution
Spring 2018
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
Madison, WI
$500
Financial Contribution
Oct. 2019 (sorry I know this should have gone on top)
Friends of Sausal Creek (local environmental education & restoration)
Oakland, CA
$250

Part 3: Family Information

You must provide information about each living family member described in this paragraph. Information about each of your family members is necessary to determine whether you have a conflict of interest that would prohibit you from serving on the Citizens Redistricting Commission. In this part of the application, you must provide information about your living parents, spouse, registered domestic partner (RDP), children, siblings, parents-in-law, siblings-in-law, sons-and daughters-in-law. Step-parents, step-children, and step-siblings count as parents, children, and siblings.

Do you have any immediate family members as described?*
Family Member
Parent
James Yee
For this family member, you must state whether within the past 10 years this person has engaged in any of the activities that could cause you to have a conflict of interest under the Voters FIRST Act. The following is a list of those activities:
  • Been appointed to, elected to, or a candidate for a California congressional or state office. ("Appointed" means appointed by the Governor, a member of the Legislature, or a member of the State Board of Equalization, or served at the pleasure of the Governor, a member of the Legislature, or a member of the State Board of Equalization.)
  • Served as an officer, employee, or paid consultant of a California political party or the campaign committee of a candidate for a California congressional or elective state office.
  • Served as an elected or appointed member of a political party central committee operating in California.
  • Been a lobbyist registered with the State of California or a California local government.
  • Been a registered federal lobbyist.
  • Served as paid California congressional, legislative, or State Board of Equalization staff.
  • Contributed $2,500 or more during a calendar year to any California congressional, state, or local candidate for elective public office.
Within the past 10 years, has the family member engaged in any of these activities that could cause you to have a conflict of interest?*

For each family member you must indicate whether you have a special (bona fide) relationship with that person. You have a special (bona fide) relationship with a family member if during the past 12 months you have (Guidance for determining Conflicts of Interest):

  1. Cohabitated with that person for a period or periods totaling 30 days or more.
  2. Shared with that person ownership of any real or personal property having a total value of $1,000 or more.
  3. Provided to or received from that person a financial benefit totaling $1,000 or more.
Do you have a special relationship with this person based on any of the three factors described?*
Family Member
Parent
Janice Yee
For this family member, you must state whether within the past 10 years this person has engaged in any of the activities that could cause you to have a conflict of interest under the Voters FIRST Act. The following is a list of those activities:
  • Been appointed to, elected to, or a candidate for a California congressional or state office. ("Appointed" means appointed by the Governor, a member of the Legislature, or a member of the State Board of Equalization, or served at the pleasure of the Governor, a member of the Legislature, or a member of the State Board of Equalization.)
  • Served as an officer, employee, or paid consultant of a California political party or the campaign committee of a candidate for a California congressional or elective state office.
  • Served as an elected or appointed member of a political party central committee operating in California.
  • Been a lobbyist registered with the State of California or a California local government.
  • Been a registered federal lobbyist.
  • Served as paid California congressional, legislative, or State Board of Equalization staff.
  • Contributed $2,500 or more during a calendar year to any California congressional, state, or local candidate for elective public office.
Within the past 10 years, has the family member engaged in any of these activities that could cause you to have a conflict of interest?*

For each family member you must indicate whether you have a special (bona fide) relationship with that person. You have a special (bona fide) relationship with a family member if during the past 12 months you have (Guidance for determining Conflicts of Interest):

  1. Cohabitated with that person for a period or periods totaling 30 days or more.
  2. Shared with that person ownership of any real or personal property having a total value of $1,000 or more.
  3. Provided to or received from that person a financial benefit totaling $1,000 or more.
Do you have a special relationship with this person based on any of the three factors described?*
Family Member
Spouse/Registed Domestic Partner (RDP)
Lisa Yee
For this family member, you must state whether within the past 10 years this person has engaged in any of the activities that could cause you to have a conflict of interest under the Voters FIRST Act. The following is a list of those activities:
  • Been appointed to, elected to, or a candidate for a California congressional or state office. ("Appointed" means appointed by the Governor, a member of the Legislature, or a member of the State Board of Equalization, or served at the pleasure of the Governor, a member of the Legislature, or a member of the State Board of Equalization.)
  • Served as an officer, employee, or paid consultant of a California political party or the campaign committee of a candidate for a California congressional or elective state office.
  • Served as an elected or appointed member of a political party central committee operating in California.
  • Been a lobbyist registered with the State of California or a California local government.
  • Been a registered federal lobbyist.
  • Served as paid California congressional, legislative, or State Board of Equalization staff.
  • Contributed $2,500 or more during a calendar year to any California congressional, state, or local candidate for elective public office.
Within the past 10 years, has the family member engaged in any of these activities that could cause you to have a conflict of interest?*

For each family member you must indicate whether you have a special (bona fide) relationship with that person. You have a special (bona fide) relationship with a family member if during the past 12 months you have (Guidance for determining Conflicts of Interest):

  1. Cohabitated with that person for a period or periods totaling 30 days or more.
  2. Shared with that person ownership of any real or personal property having a total value of $1,000 or more.
  3. Provided to or received from that person a financial benefit totaling $1,000 or more.
Do you have a special relationship with this person based on any of the three factors described?*
Family Member
Child
Julia Yee
For this family member, you must state whether within the past 10 years this person has engaged in any of the activities that could cause you to have a conflict of interest under the Voters FIRST Act. The following is a list of those activities:
  • Been appointed to, elected to, or a candidate for a California congressional or state office. ("Appointed" means appointed by the Governor, a member of the Legislature, or a member of the State Board of Equalization, or served at the pleasure of the Governor, a member of the Legislature, or a member of the State Board of Equalization.)
  • Served as an officer, employee, or paid consultant of a California political party or the campaign committee of a candidate for a California congressional or elective state office.
  • Served as an elected or appointed member of a political party central committee operating in California.
  • Been a lobbyist registered with the State of California or a California local government.
  • Been a registered federal lobbyist.
  • Served as paid California congressional, legislative, or State Board of Equalization staff.
  • Contributed $2,500 or more during a calendar year to any California congressional, state, or local candidate for elective public office.
Within the past 10 years, has the family member engaged in any of these activities that could cause you to have a conflict of interest?*

For each family member you must indicate whether you have a special (bona fide) relationship with that person. You have a special (bona fide) relationship with a family member if during the past 12 months you have (Guidance for determining Conflicts of Interest):

  1. Cohabitated with that person for a period or periods totaling 30 days or more.
  2. Shared with that person ownership of any real or personal property having a total value of $1,000 or more.
  3. Provided to or received from that person a financial benefit totaling $1,000 or more.
Do you have a special relationship with this person based on any of the three factors described?*
Family Member
Child
Erica Yee
For this family member, you must state whether within the past 10 years this person has engaged in any of the activities that could cause you to have a conflict of interest under the Voters FIRST Act. The following is a list of those activities:
  • Been appointed to, elected to, or a candidate for a California congressional or state office. ("Appointed" means appointed by the Governor, a member of the Legislature, or a member of the State Board of Equalization, or served at the pleasure of the Governor, a member of the Legislature, or a member of the State Board of Equalization.)
  • Served as an officer, employee, or paid consultant of a California political party or the campaign committee of a candidate for a California congressional or elective state office.
  • Served as an elected or appointed member of a political party central committee operating in California.
  • Been a lobbyist registered with the State of California or a California local government.
  • Been a registered federal lobbyist.
  • Served as paid California congressional, legislative, or State Board of Equalization staff.
  • Contributed $2,500 or more during a calendar year to any California congressional, state, or local candidate for elective public office.
Within the past 10 years, has the family member engaged in any of these activities that could cause you to have a conflict of interest?*

For each family member you must indicate whether you have a special (bona fide) relationship with that person. You have a special (bona fide) relationship with a family member if during the past 12 months you have (Guidance for determining Conflicts of Interest):

  1. Cohabitated with that person for a period or periods totaling 30 days or more.
  2. Shared with that person ownership of any real or personal property having a total value of $1,000 or more.
  3. Provided to or received from that person a financial benefit totaling $1,000 or more.
Do you have a special relationship with this person based on any of the three factors described?*
Family Member
Sibling
Michael Yee
For this family member, you must state whether within the past 10 years this person has engaged in any of the activities that could cause you to have a conflict of interest under the Voters FIRST Act. The following is a list of those activities:
  • Been appointed to, elected to, or a candidate for a California congressional or state office. ("Appointed" means appointed by the Governor, a member of the Legislature, or a member of the State Board of Equalization, or served at the pleasure of the Governor, a member of the Legislature, or a member of the State Board of Equalization.)
  • Served as an officer, employee, or paid consultant of a California political party or the campaign committee of a candidate for a California congressional or elective state office.
  • Served as an elected or appointed member of a political party central committee operating in California.
  • Been a lobbyist registered with the State of California or a California local government.
  • Been a registered federal lobbyist.
  • Served as paid California congressional, legislative, or State Board of Equalization staff.
  • Contributed $2,500 or more during a calendar year to any California congressional, state, or local candidate for elective public office.
Within the past 10 years, has the family member engaged in any of these activities that could cause you to have a conflict of interest?*

For each family member you must indicate whether you have a special (bona fide) relationship with that person. You have a special (bona fide) relationship with a family member if during the past 12 months you have (Guidance for determining Conflicts of Interest):

  1. Cohabitated with that person for a period or periods totaling 30 days or more.
  2. Shared with that person ownership of any real or personal property having a total value of $1,000 or more.
  3. Provided to or received from that person a financial benefit totaling $1,000 or more.
Do you have a special relationship with this person based on any of the three factors described?*
Family Member
Brother or Sister in-law: Spouse/RDP of Sibling
Angela Yee
For this family member, you must state whether within the past 10 years this person has engaged in any of the activities that could cause you to have a conflict of interest under the Voters FIRST Act. The following is a list of those activities:
  • Been appointed to, elected to, or a candidate for a California congressional or state office. ("Appointed" means appointed by the Governor, a member of the Legislature, or a member of the State Board of Equalization, or served at the pleasure of the Governor, a member of the Legislature, or a member of the State Board of Equalization.)
  • Served as an officer, employee, or paid consultant of a California political party or the campaign committee of a candidate for a California congressional or elective state office.
  • Served as an elected or appointed member of a political party central committee operating in California.
  • Been a lobbyist registered with the State of California or a California local government.
  • Been a registered federal lobbyist.
  • Served as paid California congressional, legislative, or State Board of Equalization staff.
  • Contributed $2,500 or more during a calendar year to any California congressional, state, or local candidate for elective public office.
Within the past 10 years, has the family member engaged in any of these activities that could cause you to have a conflict of interest?*

For each family member you must indicate whether you have a special (bona fide) relationship with that person. You have a special (bona fide) relationship with a family member if during the past 12 months you have (Guidance for determining Conflicts of Interest):

  1. Cohabitated with that person for a period or periods totaling 30 days or more.
  2. Shared with that person ownership of any real or personal property having a total value of $1,000 or more.
  3. Provided to or received from that person a financial benefit totaling $1,000 or more.
Do you have a special relationship with this person based on any of the three factors described?*
Family Member
Sibling
Greg Yee
For this family member, you must state whether within the past 10 years this person has engaged in any of the activities that could cause you to have a conflict of interest under the Voters FIRST Act. The following is a list of those activities:
  • Been appointed to, elected to, or a candidate for a California congressional or state office. ("Appointed" means appointed by the Governor, a member of the Legislature, or a member of the State Board of Equalization, or served at the pleasure of the Governor, a member of the Legislature, or a member of the State Board of Equalization.)
  • Served as an officer, employee, or paid consultant of a California political party or the campaign committee of a candidate for a California congressional or elective state office.
  • Served as an elected or appointed member of a political party central committee operating in California.
  • Been a lobbyist registered with the State of California or a California local government.
  • Been a registered federal lobbyist.
  • Served as paid California congressional, legislative, or State Board of Equalization staff.
  • Contributed $2,500 or more during a calendar year to any California congressional, state, or local candidate for elective public office.
Within the past 10 years, has the family member engaged in any of these activities that could cause you to have a conflict of interest?*

For each family member you must indicate whether you have a special (bona fide) relationship with that person. You have a special (bona fide) relationship with a family member if during the past 12 months you have (Guidance for determining Conflicts of Interest):

  1. Cohabitated with that person for a period or periods totaling 30 days or more.
  2. Shared with that person ownership of any real or personal property having a total value of $1,000 or more.
  3. Provided to or received from that person a financial benefit totaling $1,000 or more.
Do you have a special relationship with this person based on any of the three factors described?*
Family Member
Brother or Sister in-law: Spouse/RDP of Sibling
Mary Chu Yee
For this family member, you must state whether within the past 10 years this person has engaged in any of the activities that could cause you to have a conflict of interest under the Voters FIRST Act. The following is a list of those activities:
  • Been appointed to, elected to, or a candidate for a California congressional or state office. ("Appointed" means appointed by the Governor, a member of the Legislature, or a member of the State Board of Equalization, or served at the pleasure of the Governor, a member of the Legislature, or a member of the State Board of Equalization.)
  • Served as an officer, employee, or paid consultant of a California political party or the campaign committee of a candidate for a California congressional or elective state office.
  • Served as an elected or appointed member of a political party central committee operating in California.
  • Been a lobbyist registered with the State of California or a California local government.
  • Been a registered federal lobbyist.
  • Served as paid California congressional, legislative, or State Board of Equalization staff.
  • Contributed $2,500 or more during a calendar year to any California congressional, state, or local candidate for elective public office.
Within the past 10 years, has the family member engaged in any of these activities that could cause you to have a conflict of interest?*

For each family member you must indicate whether you have a special (bona fide) relationship with that person. You have a special (bona fide) relationship with a family member if during the past 12 months you have (Guidance for determining Conflicts of Interest):

  1. Cohabitated with that person for a period or periods totaling 30 days or more.
  2. Shared with that person ownership of any real or personal property having a total value of $1,000 or more.
  3. Provided to or received from that person a financial benefit totaling $1,000 or more.
Do you have a special relationship with this person based on any of the three factors described?*

Other Relevant Material

I realize my employment history is uneven--I'm one of those part-time faculty who pieces together work by teaching at various institutions, speaking at conferences, and writing. On the positive side, this means I'm quite used to navigating dramatic variations in workload and income, and so have no hesitations or impediments about the time commitment and financial implications of Commission service.

Thank you for the very thorough and helpful application materials, website, webinars, videos, reminders, and documents. I've learned so much and have had a worthwhile experience already even just in this application process! And thank you for all your hard work in this selection effort. I've been on selection committees myself and I know it takes a tremendous amount of concentration and discernment.

Part 4: Letters of Recommendation

An applicant must submit, or arrange for the submission of, three letters of recommendation from individuals or organizations. A letter of recommendation may be no longer than three pages. Guidance for letters of recommendation. (Note: Any additional recommendations may be submitted as a public comment and public comments are considered by the Applicant Review Panel. However, a public comment submitted about you will not count as a letter of recommendation.)

An applicant's letters of recommendation must be submitted to the California State Auditor's Office (State Auditor's Office) on or before October 20, 2019. All three letters of recommendation must include your applicant identification number, which is 11312. This identification number is unique to your application and ensures that all of your letters of recommendation are correctly attached to your application file before they are reviewed by the Applicant Review Panel.

Online Submission of Letters of Recommendation

We have provided three links for you to provide to the individuals who will be submitting letters of recommendation on your behalf. Each link may be used for only one letter and will expire upon that letter's submission. Remember to communicate to the individuals writing your letters of recommendation that their letters must include your applicant identification number, as provided above.

Submission of Letters of Recommendation via E-mail, Facsimile, Mail, or Common Carrier

Online submission of letters of recommendation is preferred. You may also submit letters of recommendation via email to shapecaliforniasfuture@auditor.ca.gov, by facsimile to (888) 694-5288, or by U.S. Mail or other common carrier mailed to the address provided below. All letters of recommendation submitted via email, facsimile, U.S. Mail, or other common carrier must include both your application identification number (11312) and the letter of recommendation number (1, 2, or 3). Letters of recommendation sent to the State Auditor's Office that are not received or postmarked by October 20, 2019, will not be considered, and the applicant will not continue on in the application process.

The letters of recommendation must be addressed to the Applicant Review Panel and can be mailed to:

Applicant Review Panel
c/o California State Auditor's Office
621 Capitol Mall, Suite 1200
Sacramento, California, 95814

Part 5: Financial Disclosure Form

If likely to be selected for an interview, you will be required to submit FPPC Form 700, Statement of Economic Interests. The Fair Political Practices Commission's website has more information about the FPPC Form 700. You do not need to submit that form now. You will receive an email at a later date if you will be required to submit this form.

Part 6: PRIVACY NOTIFICATION AND WAIVER

LEGAL AUTHORITY AND REASON FOR COLLECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION

The Voters FIRST Act (Act) and the regulations implementing the Act require that the selection of commissioners for the Citizens Redistricting Commission (Commission) be open to public scrutiny and the press (California Constitution, Article XXI, section 2, subdivision (c); Government Code sections 8252, 11120, 11121, and 11125.1; California Code of Regulations, title 2, sections 60835, 60836, 60842, and 60846). The Act also requires the California State Auditor's Office (State Auditor's Office) to select 60 of the most qualified applicants based upon their voter affiliation; eligibility to serve pursuant to Article XXI of the California Constitution; the absence of any conflicts of interest; relevant analytical skills; ability to be impartial; appreciation for California's diverse demographics and geography; and racial, ethnic, geographic, gender, and economic diversity. To determine each applicant's identity and qualifications to serve on the Commission and to track the demographic information of the applicant pool, this application seeks personal information about applicants that will be provided to the Applicant Review Panel, State Auditor's Office staff, and the public, including members of the press, the Legislature, and the Commission.

CONSEQUENCE OF NOT PROVIDING ALL REQUESTED INFORMATION

Failure to provide all of the requested information will result in your disqualification and the removal of your name from the applicant pool. Thus, if you wish to serve on the Commission, it is mandatory that you submit a response for each item of information requested.

PERMISSION TO USE AND RELEASE PERSONAL INFORMATION

By submitting this application, you acknowledge that the application, all documents submitted in support of your application, including a Statement of Economic Interests (FPPC Form 700) if you are asked to submit one, letters of recommendation, materials generated as a result of any State Auditor's Office or Applicant Review Panel investigation of you, and all public comments and responses to public comments about your application are public records. You agree that the State Auditor's Office shall provide copies of these materials to members of the public and the press, members and staff of the Applicant Review Panel, State Auditor's Office staff, the Legislature, the Commission, and as otherwise compelled by law. You understand that members of the Applicant Review Panel and the public may make public statements about you. You authorize the State Auditor's Office to use the information submitted by and about you as the State Auditor's Office deems necessary to select commissioners, replacement commissioners, or otherwise comply with its legal duties. You also authorize the State Auditor's Office to post all materials related to your application to serve on the Commission on its website and any website authorized by the State Auditor's Office.

VOLUNTARY WAIVER OF PRIVACY RIGHTS AND STATE AUDITOR'S OFFICE LIABILITY

By applying to be a commissioner, you are waiving your privacy and other rights under various state and federal laws including, but not limited to, the Information Practices Act (Cal. Civil Code section 1798 et seq.), and any defamation, invasion of privacy, and negligence claim you may have against the State Auditor's Office and those acting on its behalf. Accordingly, by waiving your privacy rights, you are agreeing to permit the State Auditor's Office to release any and all information submitted by or about you, EXCEPT that the State Auditor's Office will not post on the Internet your date of birth; physical, mailing, and email addresses (excluding the city and county); telephone numbers; the addresses and telephone numbers of your immediate family members; or any materials that the State Auditor's Office deems offensive. At this point in the process, the State Auditor's Office will not collect, and you should not voluntarily submit to the State Auditor's Office, your social security number, driver's license number, financial account numbers, or health information. By submitting your application, you acknowledge and consent to the release of the information you and others are providing related to you and, except as specifically provided above, you are waiving your right to privacy regarding all information relating to you and your application to serve as a commissioner. This waiver authorizes the State Auditor's Office to make public information submitted by or about you for a period of 12 years from the date of your application, even if you are not selected as a commissioner. You are providing this waiver voluntarily, understanding that the State Auditor's Office shall not be legally liable as a result of the release of information submitted by or about you or as the result of comments made about you by others, and that the State Auditor's Office will post on its website or otherwise release publicly. This includes claims of defamation, invasion of privacy, negligence, and any other statutory or common law claims.

WHOM TO CONTACT

You have a right to review personal information the State Auditor's Office maintains about you and to verify its accuracy. Please contact the State Auditor's Office's Information Privacy Officer at (916) 445-0255; 621 Capitol Mall, Suite 1200, Sacramento, California, 95814; if you would like to view or obtain information about the location of your records and the categories of persons who use the information in your records.

Affirmation

I affirm, by entering my initials in the box, that the statements contained in this application are true and correct to the best of my knowledge, and that I have read and understand the Privacy Notification and Waiver.

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10/06/2019 1:06:40AM

Amendments

Amendment 995

Submitted On: 02/15/2020

Reason:

Additional Financial Contributions - We recently received an inheritance and were able to make the following additional contributions at the end of 2019.

Change:

$5,120 - Int'l Rescue Comm. (refugee aid)
$5,000 - SF Chronicle Season of Sharing (homelessness services)
$5,000 - World Vision (international relief)
$5,000 - Navigators (literacy, nutrition, church work)
$2,975 - Gold Standard (carbon offsets)

Amendment 996

Submitted On: 02/15/2020

Reason:

(more Additional Financial Contributions, end of 2019)

Change:

$2,500 - Roots Clinic (local homelessness aid)
$2,500 - Natural Resources Defense Counc. (environmental advocacy)
$2,500 - Climate Action Reserve (carbon registry)
$2,500 - Holt (int'l adoption)
$2,500 - First Nations Version (Bible translation project)

Amendment 997

Submitted On: 02/15/2020

Reason:

(more Additional Financial Contributions, end of 2019)

Change:

$2,000 - Leadership Resources (Nepal seminary training)
$1,639 - Freely in Hope (sex trafficking survivor aid)
$1,000 - Lake Merritt Institute (local environmental work)
$1,000 - Harbor House (local family support ministry)

Amendment 998

Submitted On: 02/15/2020

Reason:

(more Additional Financial Contributions, end of 2019)

Change:

$1,000 - Intertribal Friendship House (local Native American organization)
$360 - Kiva (microlending)
$250 - Dimond Improvement Association (local neighborhood group)

Amendment 1015

Submitted On: 02/20/2020

Reason:

Requested name change.

Change:

Name change request submitted and approved.

Previous name was Russell Mark Yee OAKLAND.

Letters of Recommendation

Letter of Recommendation #1, submitted by Russell Jeung

How Submitter Knows Applicant: 40 years

Letter of Recommendation:

August 27, 2019

To: 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission
From: Russell Jeung, PhD
Chair, Asian American Studies

Re: Letter of Recommendation for Dr. Russell Yee

I am writing my enthusiastic recommendation for Dr. Russell Yee for the 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission. Having known Dr. Yee for over forty years as a friend and colleague, I have been blessed by his wise counsel, sharp and analytical insights, and his fair-minded ways. He'd be a perfect representative for this commission who will advocate for sane, impartial districts.

As a scholar-activist teaching Asian American Studies, I'm well aware of the critical importance of redistricting, especially for communities of color. As early as 1990 I was a member of Asian Pacific Americans for Fair Reapportionment. Likewise, Dr. Yee is a strong proponent for equity and the empowerment of underserved communities. He has extensively written about minority and urban communities who are often undercounted in the census and who need greater representation in our legislature. His knowledge of the Asian American community is evidence by his book on Asian American worship, which includes his working, firsthand knowledge of both older, East Asian groups and of Southeast Asian groups and recent refugees.

At the same time, Dr. Yee is able to take a 360 perspective on issues and understand different points of view. I have served with him on our church council, as well as other committees, and he has the remarkable capacity to listen empathetically, consider thoughtfully, and bridge differences in contentious meetings. He will bring that same judiciousness to the Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Perhaps the most striking quality of Dr. Yee is his pride in being a Native Oaklander and his commitment to the civic life of California. He has published about this passion in a variety of essays and creative works. Similarly, he has taught a course on Oakland for St. Mary's College for the past seven years, and he volunteers as a docent for the Oakland Museum of California, sharing his love for the history of his hometown. Even while training for marathons, he stops to pull out weeds or paint over graffiti to maintain the beauty of Oakland.

To sum, Dr. Yee's desire to represent minority communities, his fairness and wisdom, and his love for California each motivate his desire to serve on this commission. He has the time and patience to learn through its many hearings, and his brilliant analyses will no doubt cut through the chase in committee meetings. I have the highest confidence in Dr. Yee's impartiality and commitment for this appointment.

Letter of Recommendation #2, submitted by Ellen P Polito

How Submitter Knows Applicant: Docent Colleague at the Oakland Museum

Letter of Recommendation:

Dear members of the Redistricting Commission's selection committee:

It is my pleasure to provide this letter of recommendation for Russell Yee, applicant # 11312 to the 20120 California Citizens Redistricting Commission.

I have known Russell for seven years, as a docent colleague at the Oakland Museum of California. Before I became a docent, I was the Public Art and Historic Preservation Planner for the City of Davis for upwards of 20 years. My position required me to staff two citizen commissions, facilitate frequent community meetings, and interface regularly with the community at City Council meetings. In that professional role, and later as a History Docent and History Docent Chair at the Oakland Museum, I have worked alongside and supervised a great many volunteers.

Russell is outstanding among that group of volunteers. He not only brings to his position a commitment to hard work, a high level of professional integrity, and a natural ability to synthesize complex information; he also harnesses his first-rate teaching skills to help guide others towards reaching optimal conclusions.

I first met Russell in 2012. He was a member of the museum's new history docent training class, and I was his assigned mentor. I observed and coached him frequently during his one-year training period. Once he was a full-fledged docent, I became one of his supervisors during his regularly scheduled gallery tours. Russell's work with diverse groups of students who visit the museum has been phenomenal - and I do not say that lightly. All our docents give well structured, visitor centered tours. Russell goes well beyond those expectations. He embraces an appreciation of California's diversity, utilizes his in-depth knowledge of California history, and demonstrates unswerving probity in his discussions with the children. If there is an easy way to do a tour, Russell doesn't take it. He successfully incorporates important but difficult subjects into his tours.

Here's one example: We have a "cigar store" wooden Indian on display in our "Instant San Francisco" section. Members of the museum's Native American Advisory Council are generally unhappy with this display. Most of the touring docents simply avoid focusing on it. Russell, on the other hand, uses the carving as the starting point of his tour. After the students inspect the wooden statue, he gently probes, asking them to consider how history can be distorted and what we can do to correct misinterpretations. He is truly an impartial facilitator, guiding the children to their own conclusions. Russell is an exemplary docent.

He is also an excellent colleague. On the docent team, Russell is an active contributor and a valued member. Most of us are retired, and can take on extra tasks outside our tour schedules, such as docent governance roles and history training. Russell still works, however, and yet has committed to several additional activities. He attends monthly Advanced Training lectures, where the history docents have come to rely on his thoughtful, analytical questions to help focus post-lecture discussions. He also serves as a reporter for the Museum's quarterly docent newsletter, to which he frequently contributes engaging and scholarly articles.

I enthusiastically support Russell's application to the Redistricting Commission. I have no doubt that his integrity, analytical skills, sense of fairness and enduring commitment to the tasks he takes on will all contribute to his becoming an outstanding commission member.

Sincerely,

Esther Polito

Letter of Recommendation #3, submitted by Daniel J Schmitz

How Submitter Knows Applicant: I have known Russ as a friend, a co-worker, and as the chair of our organization.

Letter of Recommendation:

To Whom It May Concern,
I would like to recommend Russ Yee for California's 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission. He has the personal qualities and experience that make him an ideal candidate for the work of the redistricting commission. The redistricting commission was set up to create fair non-partisan voting districts that support our representative democracy. The qualities that I think are needed for that work are a commitment to civic engagement, commitment to minority voices (and all voices), fair mindedness, integrity and an ability to track complex tasks. All qualities that Russ possesses.
Commitment to Civic Engagement:
Russ is a person of the highest integrity, and is passionate about civic engagement. A couple of examples bear this out: Russ lives in the City of Oakland, as I do as well, but having been raised here he harbors an almost incomprehensible love for the city. This love is demonstrated through his ongoing desire to learn about the city as a whole, including its neighborhoods and its demographic make up. He has become one of the most fluent people I know in discussing every aspect of Oakland's civic, demographic and geographic make-up. Because he was so passionate about it, he decided to become a docent at the Oakland Museum of California, a place where he can both continue to learn and to share his knowledge with others. He has continued as a faithful docent there for years.
One of the things that particularly offends Russ' sense of being a good community member is profaning of public spaces by painting graffiti on them. While Russ would support and encourage individuals making artistic contributions to the community, much of the graffiti is not artistic and requires costly removal by the city. To combat this, he has chosen to become a one-man-force for graffiti removal, taking thinners, rags and scrapers with him as he goes on his distance training runs throughout Oakland. While this may be considered a little extreme by some, I think it demonstrates his value for the common good and his willingness to take steps to protect it.
Committed To Minority Voices and Fair Mindedness:
At an earlier point in his life, Russ chose to be a pastor, based on his compassion for people, and his deep desire to do the right thing. While Russ is no longer a pastor by profession, he continues to show his personal care for other people, most of whom live on the margins of society. In the past few years, Russ has chosen to befriend men coming out of incarceration at the Volunteers of America transitional facility near our church. Though Russ has not personally had any negative interactions with the law, that has not stopped him from coming alongside people who have been incarcerated for serious crimes, including murder. He befriends them, assists with their participation in Alcoholics Anonymous, and helps them to navigate issues of reentry as he is able. Additionally, Russ volunteers with our church's meal program for homeless neighbors. As a volunteer, Russ helps to cook, to make sure the food is delivered, and also calls on the church to be good neighbors to those less fortunate than us. Russ has also given significant time to refugees coming to this country, making sure that they are cared for. Though it may seem that these are just examples of a dedicated church member serving his church, I find a deeper meaning. Russ is very aware of and tied to his own immigrant past. He is aware of the ways that legitimate citizens can be pushed out of the political process, and it is his deeply rooted sense that each person should have his or her own voice heard and their personhood upheld that motivates him. This concern for individuals is what moves him to want to serve on this commission.
Ability To Track Complex Tasks:
One of the primary ways that I have gotten to know Russ and see him work is through his role on our organization's board. He has served terms both as a regular board member, and in the positions of Secretary and Chair of the board. One of the traits that consistently stood out in how he approached being the Chair, was his concern for balance and fairness. In our board deliberations, he would work to ensure that we consider as many viewpoints as practical for the task at hand. At times that would involve hard data, as when developing a business plan for our preschool and making sure that we looked at the potential market, competitive tuition levels, salary levels, city, county and state codes, all to assist with our decision making. Russ has an easy facility when dealing with financial and statistical issues on a practical level. I think this facility would serve him well as he sought to wade into the complications of redistricting, with the importance of considering multiple needs, and at times conflicting ones, with fairness and clear eyed practicality.
On a final note, though I have not had the pleasure of taking one of the many classes Russ teaches, I have seen the time and careful preparation that he puts into those courses. His mastery of a breadth of materials, and his desire to help others see and understand what he has developed through digging into complicated issues, is apparent. It is easy to imagine him pouring over tons of data and finding it motivating in the cause of seeking fair voting for the citizens of our state. In my experience Russ is a rare find in terms of his attention to details coupled with an equally strong concern about the people that the statistical data represents.
For all the reasons listed above, I think that Russ is a strong candidate for your position and I hope that you will give him significant consideration.
Please do not hesitate to call me with any questions you may have.
Sincerely
Daniel J Schmitz

Public Comments

Comment 3463, submitted by Russell Mark Yee

How Submitter Knows Applicant: See Attached Comment

Submitted On: 04/23/2020

Comment (PDF)

Files