By Lee Hubbard
With the election of Malia Cohen to the Supervisors seat in District 10, she also becomes the de-facto Black political leader in San Francisco, as she will be the highest-ranking Black elected official in the city when she is sworn into office on Jan. 3.
“It feels good and humbling to know I will be the Supervisor for District 10,” said Cohen. “I am elected to represent District 10, but I will be caring for all people of San Franciscans. That is one of the lessons that I have learned.”
Elected as supervisor under the ranked choice voting system, she won 52 percent of the vote, beating Tony Kelly who had 47 percent.
One of her main issues will be on jobs and economic development in the area, promoting development of small businesses and the revitalization of Third Street, she said.
“We need … jobs that provide careers to the residents in the southeast sector,” she said. “I want the area to see sustainable jobs that are pathways to careers. Oftentimes, when we see construction, Black laborers are holding up signs.”
Since the campaign, she has been spending much of her time meeting with the other candidates in the race, already talking to former candidates Dewitt Lacy, Geoffrea Morris and Marlene Tran to get a sense of their issues and concerns.
This is important, according to Ed Donaldson, a housing advocate and one of the candidates in the race, who feels that Cohen needs to reach out to everyone who ran to form a broad perspective on what needs to be done.
“I think the lesson learned is that Malia needs to do more coalition building, like maybe running a coalition-style government,” said Donaldson.
“Malia Cohen won because the bulk of Lynnette Sweet’s second place votes went to her over Tony Kelly,” Donaldson said. “This suggests that by having so many African American candidates in the race, the second and third choice votes were going to African Americans.”
Cohen has to address a list of important issues that will come to shape the future of District 10, an area that includes Potrero Hill, Bay View Hunters Point, Portola Valley, Visitation Valley and Sunnydale.
“ There are lot of critical issues going on including mandatory local work force hiring, housing foreclosures, public housing displacement, stopping the Black migration out of the city, the development of the Hunters Point shipyard and Third Street, re-entry programs for ex-offenders in San Francisco and District 10, ” continued Donaldson. “The groundwork is engaged for her to work with people and make things happen for everyone in the community”
“Frankly we need some political respect for our community,” said Willie Ratcliff, the publisher of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. “It will be up to her to stand up for this community.”