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California authorities probe threatening letter to lawmaker

January 26, 2011 |  3:22 pm

An investigation has been launched into an anonymous fax received Wednesday by state Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) that the lawmaker considers a death threat.

Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Tony Beard said he and the California Highway Patrol are looking into the letter, which includes a drawing of a noose, to determine the level of threat it might represent to Yee, but he noted that the threat was more implied than direct in the fax.

"It is actively being investigated. It certainly is an inappropriate message," Beard said. Because the message also referenced President Obama, a copy will also be sent to the U.S. Secret Service, Beard said.

Yee, who is running for mayor of San Francisco, had recently accused radio personality Rush Limbaugh of mocking the Chinese language and culture during his radio program.

The fax received by Yee’s office Wednesday uses racist language about Yee and Obama and goes on to say: "Without exceptions, Marxists are enemies of the United States Constitution! Death to all Marxists! Foreign and Domestic!"

The message arrived a day after Beard held a training session for all California state Senators about how to look out for potential violence and discussed the recent shooting of Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

"It is quite disturbing that such racist sentiment still exists in our country," Yee said in a statement Wednesday about the fax. "As I have said in the past, it is unfortunate acts like these that demonstrate why we must continue to be vigilant against hate and intolerance. Such vitriol has no place within our political discourse or anywhere in our society."

-- Patrick McGreevy