By Sarah Phelan
What kind of flower store owner doesn't have a water account? Ed Jew, that's who.
When Ed Jew's water consumption first became an issue at the end of May, I asked the SFPUC for records for both his house in the Sunset District and his flower shop in Chinatown. I did so, because I interviewed Jew at his flower shop shortly after he won the November 2006 District and had ended up wondering by the end of the interview, if he was more deeply connected to Chinatown, which is the district of Board Chair Aaron Peskin, than the Sunset.
But when the PUC sent the records, they showed that there is no water account for Jew's flower shop at 118 Waverly Place. This revelation came as a bit of a surprise. Don't flowers need water, unless, of course, Jew is specializing in drought-tolerant plants? But wait, Jew said his favorite flower was the albatross chrysanthemum which looks to be one heckuva greedy water-guzzler .
And didn't Jew's wife Lisa make me a cup of tea at the store, when I visited? In which case, was she using bottled water, or what? The answer to those question began to crystallize when I read Jew's claims, in today's papers, that he "often showers at his flower shop before dressing for work." How could that be possible, unless he too is using bottled water, or the neighbor's hose, perhaps.
Turns out Jew owns the building next to the flower shop, a building that contains 9 residential units, and so it's not entirely impossible that he could be drawing water from that building. But should he be paying commercial rates?Apparently not, if the majority of the building he owns next to the flower shop is being put to residential use.
Either way, the question of whether Jew actually lives in the Sunset remains unresolved. Jew claims he leaves his house on 28th Avenue very early and does not return home until very late-- a statement that does not address the question of whether he was living at the house 30 days before filing paperwork to become a D4 supervisorial candidate. With the City Attorney undecided, and the feds still mum about the legality of the $40,000 bubble store payment, Jew's fate on two legal fronts remains undecided--and interest in all his properties and activities grows.