EDITORIAL Sup. Ed Jew should have resigned from the Board of Supervisors immediately after admitting to reporters that a May 18 FBI raid of his homes and offices recovered $40,000 in cash that he demanded from a constituent with regulatory issues.
Even if one believes his implausible story about intending to give the money to a playground project, Jew's actions are still unethical, unseemly, and illegal. Politicians must never, under any circumstances, accept cash payments in exchange for services, and those who do belong in prison.
But he didn't resign, choosing instead to put his personal ambition and stubborn refusal to take responsibility for his actions ahead of what's best for the city and his constituents. Then, when public records and testimony from neighbors made it clear that Jew didn't really live in District 4, as the law requires and as he declared in sworn statements under penalty of perjury, Jew should have been honest with the public instead of spinning still more elaborate and unbelievable lies. Again, he should have done the honorable thing and resigned.
But if the surreal rally his supporters staged June 15 at City Hall is any indication, Jew intends to keep fighting this until someone drags him from the building.
That's what needs to happen now. It's no longer about Jew but about whether a system designed to prevent these kinds of abuses works. People need to have their confidence in city government restored, and that requires immediate action by Mayor Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Jerry Brown, and the courts.
District Attorney Kamala Harris did her job when she investigated the residency issue and filed nine felony charges against Jew on June 12. City Attorney Dennis Herrera did his job when he set reasonable deadlines for Jew to prove his residency, then announced June 18 that he was pursuing action to remove Jew from office.
Now it's Newsom's turn. The time has come for him to do his job, and that means doing everything in his power to ensure that Jew is ejected from City Hall as soon as possible.
Same thing for Brown, who should immediately certify Herrera's request to file a quo warranto lawsuit that would deem Jew unqualified for the office he holds and remove him. Whatever Superior Court judge gets the case should put this on the fast track and help give District 4 residents a qualified, reputable representative.
They don't have that now. And until they do, there is a dark cloud hanging over City Hall that affects everyone inside. It's time for Jew or the system to remove that cloud. *