The man who made a fortune as the political genius behind former Democratic assembly speaker and San Francisco mayor Willie Brown, among hundreds of others, has written a book of letters to his dead friends and enemies. Among its highlights and lowlights, Richie Ross’s My Letters to Dead People contains a profanity-filled rant against the late mayor of Philadelphia, Frank Rizzo (Ross says he was brutalized by Philly police during a lettuce boycott he was running there). It also contains a paean to Jack Killea, late husband of ex–state senator Lucy Killea, one of Ross’s many longtime clients.
“You and Lucy were two of the first three people hired to work for the CIA. You both were assigned to the American Embassy in Mexico City when Che [Guevara] was killed,” writes Ross, adding, “When Lucy was running the first time, you tried to give us a lot of information you had about her opponents. You gave us credit card receipts, phone bills, cancelled checks.” Ross says he told Killea, “ ‘Jesus Christ, Jack, we can’t use this stuff. We aren’t supposed to have it. It’s illegal. We could never explain how we got it. And shit, we don’t need it.’ Didn’t stop you. Two years later another opponent, another envelope. Was it after the third time you finally stopped? Your network of retired military spooks in San Diego must have been something. I probably met some of them at your funeral. But they weren’t going to introduce themselves to me as old spies.”