San Francisco’s Supervisor Ed Jew is having another one of those weeks. The feds finally filed a criminal complaint against him and Mayor Gavin Newsom now has openly called for him to resign.
It’s almost to the point where you might start to feel sorry for the District 4 supervisor. And as a resident of his district, I’m not expecting Jew’s travails to make it any easier for the Sandy Quarter to get its due from the Civic Center gang.
But then you read the statement filed against him, including what is purported to be a partial transcript of a recorded conversation in which he discussed payments in exchange for fixing permit problems for a couple of stores in his district, and it sure doesn’t look good.
Now, Jew hasn’t been convicted of so much as jaywalking yet, and his lawyers aren’t stupid. One of them, Steven Gruel, has correctly pointed out that the FBI’s complaint is just a statement and not evidence. He’s right. Prosecutors aren’t in the business of just filing charges on a whim without something they’re pretty sure a judge or jury will accept as proof, but it’s also true that sometimes the things prosecutors say they’re going to show don’t pan out the way they hoped, once the trial starts. I certainly am looking forward to the day the alleged recording plays in court, though.
Who knows, Jew may even be completely innocent of everything except naivete in thinking it’s OK for any elected official to accept wads of cash from anyone for any purpose. But what an appalling lack of brains that would show, if true. Any politician with a dram of sense should recoil in horror if the pope himself offers him a couple of bucks for the next round of drinks. Even a greenhorn reporter who is perfectly willing to waddle out of a banquet-hall press conference with his pockets stuffed full of rolls and cold cuts knows better than to touch money. The mere appearance of taking a bribe is often almost as bad as actually taking it.
On the plus side for Jew, his lawyers managed to get a judge to put off his trial on charges of
election fraud perjury this week. This morning I went by the Sunset District house that he says was his residence and that the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office says he didn’t actually live in when seeking office in the district. Funny thing: The address numbers don’t seem to be on the house. The place needs a little cleaning up and a new paint job, too — but then again, so does mine.