Jew refuses to resign
Peskin asks Newsom to suspend Jew for official
Embattled Supervisor Ed Jew at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors
refuses to resign despite criminal charges filed against him,
and multiple probes from local and federal authorities.
By Tamara Barak
June 13, 2007
Despite facing felony charges, an investigation by both local
and federal authorities and with his colleagues publicly calling
for his resignation, Ed Jew still has no plans to resign from
the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, his attorney said today.
Bill Fazio, Jew's attorney, said his client is maintaining his
innocence in the face of nine counts of felony criminal charges
including perjury and election fraud.
"I spoke to him today and he says he's doing as well as
can be expected," Fazio said. "I told him to lay low
because everyone wants to talk to him and I don't want him to
talk. It's a whole new ballgame and everything he says can and
will be used against him."
Accompanied by family members and a bail bondsman, Jew surrendered
himself to Burlingame police Tuesday night after San Francisco
District Attorney Kamala Harris issued
a warrant for his arrest several hours earlier. He was released
after posting bail.
His arraignment is scheduled in San Francisco Superior Court
for July 16 at 9 a.m.
According to Harris' complaint filed in San Francisco Superior
Court Tuesday, Jew lied under oath and falsified documents regarding
his residency in order to obtain a seat representing the Sunset
District on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
Today, Fazio said that before his client's arrest, he had been
working to resolve the case with the district attorney's office
when the warrant was suddenly and unexpectedly issued.
"I just don't understand why they did things that way. I
had been involved in discussions with them about the case and
I thought we could reach some agreeable conclusion and all of
a sudden this springs on us," he said.
Fazio said based on the discussions, he believed there was "the
possibility of a plea agreement, or the possibility they didn't
have a case."
Jew's arrest was premature, he said.
"I don't think (prosecutors) were at the level where they
were going to file criminal charges. I think there was still a
lot to talk about," Fazio said.
Jew's other attorney, Steven Gruel, has said that the investigation
into his client's residence is politically motivated. Today, Fazio
shied away from echoing his colleague's claim but said he didn't
know what motivated the filing of criminal charges.
"That's the biggest question I have, frankly," he said.
Meanwhile, some of Jew's fellow supervisors are calling for his
President of the Board of Supervisors Aaron Peskin this afternoon
said he has spoken with Mayor Gavin Newsom and asked him to suspend
Jew for official misconduct. If Newsom suspends Jew, the city's
Ethics Commission would then hold a hearing and issue a recommendation
as to whether or not Jew should be unseated. The Board of Supervisors
would then vote on the recommendation. A 'yes' vote from eight
of the 11 members could remove Jew from office.
Newsom had not moved to suspend Jew as of this afternoon, and
issued a statement Tuesday night saying he is reviewing all the
facts in the case.
"I think that given the fact that the district attorney
has filed serious criminal charges against Ed Jew, the mayor understands
it's not a question of if, it's a question of when (to suspend
Jew for official misconduct)," Peskin said.
Jew's ability to serve has been compromised, San Franciscans'
faith in their government has been shaken and stepping down would
be the honorable thing for Jew to do, Peskin said.
Supervisor Tom Ammiano today said it's unlikely the freshman
supervisor can fight the charges against him and adequately deal
with budget negotiations and other pressing issues facing the
"I think he needs to consider -- for the public good and
for the sake of his family -- resigning," Ammiano said. "It's
very difficult, given his five or six months on the board, to
think he's going to contribute anything of merit during his time
of travail for him."
Ammiano said that while he believes in the presumption of innocence,
"I think that when you're an elected official it's a different
standard and currently what he is guilty of is being elusive and
evasive, not dealing with this in a forthright matter, and I think
there's questions of judgment here."
Supervisor Chris Daly, who has been calling for Jew's resignation
for several weeks, speculated that Jew might be holding onto his
seat on the advice of his lawyers in order to use his resignation
as a bargaining chip in a plea deal.
Whatever the conclusion "the work of the board carries on
and Ed Jew will go down as a footnote in San Francisco history,"
Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval today stopped short of suggesting
his fellow supervisor resign, saying it seems to be a complicated
case and it's difficult to predict its outcome without knowing
all the facts.
"Ultimately, only Supervisor Jew knows what really happened
and he needs to make the best decision for him and his family,"
While he noted that the scandal is a distraction for the board,
"we're in the business of distractions. We live with them
all the time and I think we've gotten quite good at getting our
work done in spite of them," he said.
In addition to the criminal charges over his residency, Jew still
faces an FBI probe into his alleged acceptance of $40,000 in cash
from a group of businessmen having permit problems. Jew denies
FBI spokeswoman Patty Hansen today said that investigation is
The San Francisco city attorney's office, which prosecutes civil
matters, is also looking into the question of Jew's residence.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera has given Jew a Friday deadline to
provide utility bills and other proof that he resides in the home
on 28th Avenue in the Sunset District.
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