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Friday, March 21, 2014

Ed Jew's Strange and Terrible Saga May End Today

Posted By on Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 11:11 AM

The man himself
  • The man himself

Update: The judge has spoken. See end. 

Years from now, Rob Ford will be an afterthought. And yet, when he inevitably surfaces during an altercation at a Wingstop or while attempting to do the Charleston on some manner of horrid TV program, we all may, fleetingly, recall how odd it was that Toronto's porcine mayor was in the news due to allegations of crack-smoking, Hemingwayesque bouts of drinking, and other public acts befitting a pro wrestling heel. 

Along a similar vein, former Supervisor Ed Jew has a date this afternoon at San Francisco's Hall of Justice. He'll be showing up in San Francisco as opposed to, say, San Mateo County's Hall of Justice. If he'd essentially done the same all those years ago, we might never be in this predicament. 

But we are, and San Franciscans now have the opportunity to hear Ed Jew's name, descend into a reverie, and exclaim "Good God, that was weird!

Jew's case had it all: FBI raids, victimized tapioca shops, large amounts of small bills stored in a freezer, a San Francisco supervisor who lived in another town, a flower shop reduced to a den of iniquity, allegations of brain damage inducing felonious behavior, and, as your humble narrator can attest, newspaper headlines regarding "Jew Money" that startled out-of-town Semitic visitors. 

Where to begin? Burlingame.  

That, after all, is where the Jew homestead is located. It's a fine place to live -- but, for San Francisco's District 4 supervisor, it's a bit suboptimal. 

And illegal. This led to the specter of a homeless cabdriver defecating into coffee cans and leaving them on the porch of the San Francisco home in which Jew did not reside. Yes, this happened. And, yes, that can-filler would go on to run for mayor against Gavin Newsom ... and tell reporters, in earnest, "English is my third and only language.

But first the FBI sting. Yes, the sting. 

click to enlarge Tapioca, Benjamins, incarceration. QED.
  • Tapioca, Benjamins, incarceration. QED.
Externally, Jew may resemble a budgie. Internally, his heart desired more than birdseed. To give you the Reader's Digest version of this long-running San Francisco saga, Jew shook down the owners of Sunset District tapioca franchises, which would be a nasty thing to do even if he lived in the neighborhood. Clandestine video of Jew filmed at his flower shop caught him accepting a $40,000 bribe. An FBI raid of his home revealed $10,000 in the icebox. 

And, yes, that home was in Burlingame. 

During his sentencing for extorting $80,000, Jew's defense attorney, Stuart Hanlon, claimed Jew wasn't totally responsible for his actions -- or signing the deed to that house, presumably -- due to childhood head trauma. The Achy-Breaky Brain Defense did not impress Judge Susan Illston, who actually handed down a longer sentence than prosecutors had requested. 

It must have smarted to, publicly, claim to be mentally deficient -- and then do worse as a result of it. On the other hand, some of Jew's exasperated former board colleagues have told your humble narrator that Jew's claims of being mentally addled may well be meritorious. 

So he's got that going for him. 

It remains to be seen if the Achy-Breaky Brain Defense will be unearthed once more this afternoon. After Jew served nearly five years in the federal pen following his extortion conviction, District Attorney George Gascon is aiming to tack on a year in county lockup for the Peninsula resident due to his perjury conviction stemming from not living in this city when he represented District 4.

Perhaps as early as this afternoon, Jew's residence for the next year or so will be determined. And, if so, it will once again be very easy to determine what city the disgraced former supervisor calls his home. 

Update, 2:15 p.m. SF Weekly has learned that Ed Jew has been sentenced to an additional year in county lockup, starting April 4. 

Update, 2:59 p.m.: Gascon has released a statement regarding Jew's plight: "Ed Jew's willingness to betray the public trust knows no bounds, but today's ruling is a stern reminder that no one is above the law. He lied to the people, and he will serve separate time for separate crimes."

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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