By Sarah Phelan
...mayoral candidate Grasshopper Alec Kaplan, that's who!
Grasshopper pictured, playing guitar atop his taxi cab, which is wheelchair accessible, just in case you're wondering.
Just when you think things couldn’t get worse for beleaguered “District 4” supervisor Ed Jew, someone goes and unscrews the numbers from his house at 2450 28th Avenue.
That screwdriver-wielding someone is mayoral candidate and taxi driver Grasshopper Alec Kaplan, who told us he removed the numbers at 6:30 AM, July 23, “after ringing the doorbell on three separate occasions at the house where Jew doesn’t live.”
“I wanted to talk to Jew about whether he’d let me live in the house,” said Kaplan, explaining that he's homeless and asked three longtime neighbors of 2450 28th Avenue if they’d seen Jew.
“None of them ever had, except for one who said, he’d only seen him once in the last few weeks,” says Kaplan, who sleeps in his taxi, which is painted purple with green grasshoppers, and is running for mayor, so he, "can have a place to live.”
Noting that in addition to a house in the Sunset District, Jew also has a taxi medallion, Kaplan asks “Do you know anyone who has ever been transported in Ed Jew’s cab?” As it happens, the medallion in question belongs to Ed Jew's family, and the Taxi Commission is already reviewing the matter of medallion ownership, in general, rather than yet another Jew-centric investigation.
According to an article in Asian Week, in the 2002 election, when Jew unsuccessfully ran for D4 supe, he represented himself as President of Howard Mock Jew, Inc., a San Francisco taxi company. Currently, his cab company appears to consist of one cab, San Francisco Taxicab Medallion Number 443, which is operated by Bay Cab Company, but prior to June 24, 2003, this medallion was operated by Friendly Cab.
While the Taxi Commission is delving into the medallion issue, mayoral challenger Grasshopper Kaplan says he wants to sue the Commission for First Amendment violations. Why? Kaplan claims that he was told he'd have to pay $800 for a color-scheme change, after he painted "To Impeach is Patriotic" on the back of his otherwise purple and green taxicab van.
But according to the Taxi Commission, the matter still hasn't been decided.
"A color scheme change means going from one company to the next, like from Yellow to DeSoto, but he's just adding something to his cab," Taxi Commission Office Coordinator Vicky told us.
"Initially, he wanted to call it a taxi wrap, which is when a company is advertising something, but the Commission said his message is not advertising anything," Vicky continued. " So then he said he wanted to call it a color scheme change, so now the Commission plans to consider its policy on exterior design tomorrow night."
With the Taxi Commission set to consider Kaplan's "message" and its policy in Room 400, City Hall, at 7PM, July 24, next stop for Kaplan and his cab may well be Ed Jew’s flower shop in Chinatown.
“I have long hair. I shower every ten days, and flowers must have showers,” explains Kaplan.
As for Ed Jew's house numbers, Kaplan says that he is keeping them “in numerical order," and that they are made of brass and are "more or less" well-polished. "But I have no plans to polish them," he notes.