Herrera seeks removal of Supervisor Ed Jew
for unlawfully seeking, holding Office
City Attorney Dennis Herrera is seeking Supervisor Ed Jew's removal
after finding overwhelming evidence against Jew's claim
that he is legally domiciled in the district he represents.
From the office of City Attorney Dennis Herrera
June 18, 2007, 11:01 a.m.
Four-Week Investigation Finds Overwhelming Evidence That Sup.
Jew Violated Charter's Residency Requirements By Failing to Reside
in Supervisorial District
SAN FRANCISCO (June 18, 2007) -- City Attorney Dennis Herrera
today initiated the legal process to remove Supervisor Ed Jew
from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors following a four-week
investigation that convincingly demonstrated the supervisor's
failure to comply with residency requirements to seek or hold
the office under the City Charter. At a City Hall press conference
this morning, Herrera announced that his office had already notified
Jew's attorneys of the action, taking steps to serve them with
a copy of the verified complaint, memorandum of points and authorities,
verified statement of facts, and several hundred pages of evidence
and declarations collected as part of the City Attorney's investigation.
The filings begin a process known as "quo warranto"
under the California Code of Civil Procedure, whereby Herrera
is petitioning Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. to grant permission
for the City Attorney to sue in state Superior Court to remove
Jew as a supervisor from San Francisco's District Four.
"In seeking Supervisor Jew's removal from office, I am acting
to remedy a crisis in governmental legitimacy that is unprecedented
in San Francisco's modern history," said Herrera. "This
is clearly not an action I undertake lightly. But neither can
I shrink from the serious duty I owe to the citizens of San Francisco
with the integrity of their representative democracy hanging in
the balance. The evidence from my office's investigation is overwhelming
and clear: Mr. Jew violated the residency requirements of the
City Charter and state law. He sought election to the Board of
Supervisors -- and continues to hold his position on the Board
of Supervisors -- unlawfully. With our filing today, I am petitioning
Attorney General Brown to allow my office to sue for the supervisor's
removal in state court. It is critical that we move expeditiously
to address a serious illegitimacy that risks undermining our citizens'
confidence in their local government. We owe the people of San
Francisco, and especially the residents of District Four, nothing
Significant questions about Supervisor Jew's legal residency
emerged shortly after a federal criminal investigation became
public on May 18, 2007. At that time, City Attorney investigators
began an inquiry into uncertainties surrounding whether the supervisor
was a resident of the district he was elected to represent, and
whether he had been legally domiciled there at least 30-days prior
to filing his Declaration of Candidacy, as required by the City
Charter. Within days of the investigation's launch, the City Attorney's
Office requested that Jew provide factual information to demonstrate
his residency by May 29 -- a deadline later extended to June 8
to accommodate the supervisor's overseas travel schedule. After
attorneys for the supervisor provided an incomplete and largely
inconclusive response, the City Attorney's Office reiterated its
original request, extending the courtesy of a third deadline to
June 15. Jew offered no additional documents or information in
Despite the paucity of records provided by the supervisor, however,
legal filings made available today make clear that Herrera's investigators
were independently amassing a significant factual record demonstrating
that the 28th Avenue house at which Jew claims to have been domiciled
was vacant between July 11, 2006 (30 days before he filed his
declaration of candidacy) and May 2007 (when news reports first
raised questions about the veracity of the supervisor's residency
claims). Records and declarations from the City Attorney's case
document either a complete absence or scant degree of water, garbage,
telephone, postal, or gas and electric usage at the address, while
interviews with nearly three-dozen neighbors uniformly attest
that the house was entirely vacant during the relevant time period.
Nearby residents noted that almost no one entered or exited the
house during the time Jew was a declared candidate or elected
supervisor: that the house received no newspapers or garbage service;
that no regular lights illuminated the house at night; that no
vehicles were parked in the driveway; that no furniture was observed
within the household; and that neither Supervisor Jew nor his
family spent time at the address.
Meanwhile, virtually all records that would typically be relied
upon to demonstrate a legal domicile during the relevant time
period -- including tax returns, checking accounts, vehicle registrations,
telephone directory listings, credit reports and other public
documents -- list either a Waverly Place address, outside of the
district where Jew's Chinatown business is located, or in Burlingame,
California, outside the City where Jew and his wife purchased
a home some years ago.
The San Francisco Charter requires candidates for the Board of
Supervisors to have resided in the district they seek to represent
for no fewer than 30 days immediately preceding the date they
file their declarations of candidacy, and to continue to reside
in the district during their incumbency on the Board of Supervisors.
San Francisco voters established the residency requirements in
1996, when they amended the Charter to provide for district elections.
Proponents of district elections argued that the Charter amendment
would enable members of the Board of Supervisors to better understand
neighborhood issues; to have greater, more direct accountability
to the local community; and to be significantly less reliant on
the moneyed special interests necessary to mount a citywide campaign.
Herrera's filing to the State Attorney General today makes a
forceful case for the over-riding public interest in seeking the
removal of an illegitimate office-holder: "The uncertainty
erodes San Francisco voters' confidence in their elected representatives
and undermines their faith in City and County government. It breeds
cynicism about the integrity of San Francisco's electoral process.
Most importantly, it presents the danger that the voters of District
Four have been and continue to be deprived of a representative
on the legislative body of this City who resides in their own
District and has the same understanding of and stake in their
neighborhood that they do. Allowing this cloud to hang over San
Francisco's government any longer than necessary would undermine
the residency requirements of the City's Charter and the important
public policies that led San Franciscans to adopt a district-based
representative form of government. The public interest requires
a prompt resolution of the questions raised about whether Mr.
Jew met the residency requirements of the City's Charter."
Apart from a court order to remove Supervisor Jew from office,
Herrera's civil action seeks to recover legal costs and fees involved
in pursuing the case. Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese M. Stewart
and Deputy City Attorneys Wayne Snodgrass, Chad A. Jacobs and
Jonathan Givner are handling the case, which is entitled People
of the State of California ex rel. Dennis J. Herrera v. Edmund
Jew, verified complaint before the Attorney General of the State