Supervisors apology is only a start

San Francisco Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval may have apologized for his crude if not anti-Semitic remarks of last week. But we can only wonder what is in his heart.

His objectionable comments rolled off his tongue far too easily. They stung the Jews who heard him and wounded many more of us Tuesday when the S.F. Chronicle did us a favor by revealing his comments.

Sandoval's controversial remarks were made during a debate last week with fellow Supervisor Aaron Peskin at the Harvey Milk Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Democratic Club. Peskin favored settling a lawsuit brought against the city by 100 corporations. Sandoval diasagreed, adding that the city ought to organize protests against the CEOs and picket their "houses in Tiburon and their bar mitzvahs."

Sandoval has since apologized, explaining that he could have easily said weddings or parties instead of bar mitzvahs.

But the fact is, he didn't. He disparaged Jews. As a Latin American speaking at the politically correct Harvey Milk Club, he was as way off base as any politician can be.

We are shocked, moreover, that no one at the club challenged his bar mitzvah comment. As hot and heavy as the speaking engagement might have been, it's hard to believe people could allow such a remark to get by.

And why didn't Peskin, who is Jewish, talk to Sandoval sooner rather than — as he told us — let it "gnaw at him" for a couple days?

Sandoval is a rookie supervisor who better get an education in public speaking very quickly.

We expect more from our elected officials than he gave us. Anyone who runs for office and is elected has a responsibility to watch what comes out of his or her mouth.

Maybe we can forgive Sandoval as he asks us to, but we still need to watch him closely. Right now we can only wonder if he holds a bias against Jews. He says he doesn't.

But we are rightfully leery in accepting his word. As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words.

We can only hope Sandoval meets with the Anti-Defamation League and gets some sensitivity training. And maybe then he can find a way of demonstrating to his Jewish constituents that he intends to serve and respect them as much as any other resident of San Francisco.