By Sarah Phelan
Things do not look good for beleagured Sup. Ed Jew. Today. City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced that the evidence against the rookie supervisor is "overwhelming," as he waved a thick wad of documents at the running dogs of the media, during a filled-to-bursting press conference. These documents, said Herrera, establish that Jew did not lawfully seek or hold office, and therefore his office is actively seeking his removal.
Herrera made this announcements after four weeks of investigations that included interviews with three dozen neighbors who saw no signs that Jew was living at his Sunset District residence, either 30 days before Jew filed to run in the District 4 2006 election, or anytime thereafter up until the FBI raid in May, plus a compilation by the City Attorney's office of utility, phone and tax records that underscore Jew's almost complete absence from his D4 property.
In light of this body of damning evidence, Herrera today initiated a process known as "quo warranto" to remove Jew from the Board. With Jew's attorneys already notified of the action, Herrera can now go ahead and petition Attorney General Jerry Brown to grant permission to sue in state Superior Court to remove Jew from office.
The Superior Court will have 15 days to respond, and the City Attorney will have 10 days to reply to that response.
So where does that leave the Board and the residents of District 4 in the interim?
"The residents of District 4 deserve a legitimate representative to represent their legitimate interests,' said Herrera,
There are two routes to removing Jew from office, Herrera said, and his office is following the first, by filing with the Attorney General tomorrow. As for the other, Herrera says he and the Mayor will have discussions about the official misconduct route early this week, possibly today or tomorrow.
Asked if he thought it was appropriate for Jew to continue to serve, Herrera said, "Obviously not," as he waved the thick wad of incriminating materials at the running dogs of the press.
"'I think this will be handled in an expeditious manner."
As for allegations that the FBI's and D.A.'s investigations have made it impossible for Jew to comply with the CIty Attorney's requests for interviews and proof of residency. Herrera said, "That's ridiculous."
Noting that his office gave Jew three extensions to comply with its requests, Herrera said, "Supervisor Jew had a month to come forward and give us evidence that he was legally domiciled at his residence in District 4. I could make a demonstration in less than 15 minutes to prove where I live."
Asked if Jew was being unfairly targeted because he's Asian, Herrera said, "Unfortunately, that's an inflammatory stoke in the flames, and it does everybody a disservice."
So are the current residency requirements are working, given the current investigations into Jew?
Herrera said he believed so, since no one else on the Board was being investigated, this is a historical first for a supervisor, and candidates for district elections must sign under penalty of perjury that this is where they reside
"But should the policy makers decide this is inadequate, we'll work with them to come up with a formula."
As for residency questions that have arisen about State Sens. John Burton and Carole Migden, Herrera said, "I can't speak to what other state elected officials have done."
If Jew is removed, or resigns from office before July 10, the mayor would make an appointment until the November election, or until the February 2008 election is later than July 10.