Alan Greenblatt is a GOVERNING correspondent.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't know whether you've been following the saga of Ed Jew, a San Francisco supervisor accused of having shaken down constituent business owners for $40,000 to take care of permit problems. The tale has taken a surprising twist this week, with revelations that Jew, as far as anyone can tell, didn't actually live in San Francisco.
"Prove it," Mayor Gavin Newsom challenged Jew yesterday.
Jew seems to have been living in Burlingame, about 20 miles south of San Francisco (and even south of its airport). The house he claimed as his legal residence, which is owned by his father, was clearly unoccupied. There aren't even utility bills to pay.
Newsom has the authority to remove Jew from office -- Jew has continued to show up for official meetings -- but the mayor says he wants to wait for all the legal action to play itself out. That now includes a request by the city attorney, who has asked the state attorney general for authority to sue to remove Jew from office.
The district attorney, meanwhile, got nowhere in negotiations with Jew to plea to lying about his residence in his filing forms and so has filed nine felony charges against Jew in the matter. And then, of course, there is the continuing FBI investigation into the alleged shakedowns.
Newsom's patience, along with everyone else's, is running thin. This is yet another case of a public official refusing to resign long after the time has clearly come.
But the bigger question, of course, is why Jew's father would let a piece of San Francisco property lie fallow when he could easily have been pulling down $3,000-a-month rent.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.