Six days after the June election polls closed, we still don’t know who our mayor will be – but already, candidates for November are pulling papers, collecting endorsements, and hitting social media with calls for volunteers.
Shamann Walton announced Monday that he pulled papers for the District 10 supervisor seat, which Malia Cohen will be soon be termed out of. Based on June ballot results so far, Cohen is in the lead for the District 2 Department of Equalization seat, with 55.29 percent of the vote.
Walton, who notably grew up in public housing in the Bayview and Potrero Hill, is well-known in the city’s education world; He was President of the San Francisco Board of Education, a seat which Supervisor Jane Kim held before entering City Hall. He’s now a commissioner on the same Board.
During his career, he’s focused his efforts on closing the education gap for underserved Black and Latino students, evidenced by his opinion pieces in the Examiner on the dangerous terminology used to describe Black students, racism in SFUSD, and the efforts that must be made to guarantee equal education for all.
Walton has wasted no time in garnering endorsements, and the list features an intriguing mix of progressive and moderate politicians. Mayor-Elect London Breed, Supervisors Hillary Ronen, Sandra Lee Fewer, Malia Cohen and Ahsha Safai have endorsed him, as has Senator Scott Wiener and Assemblymember Phil Ting. It appears former-Mayor Ed Lee also endorsed the candidate prior to his death.
Currently, Walton’s list of campaign priorities read similarly to that of the mayoral candidates: Housing, homelessness, and public safety are easy shoo-ins that voters have already proven are important to them, but an emphasis on providing better parks, open space, and transportation for D10 residents set him apart.
“Being able to get from point A to point B throughout the day can determine your ability to earn a decent living, get an education, or get your kids to school,” he states on his site. “Access to reliable public transportation is critical to supporting your family, and District 10 residents should be able to move around the city in a reasonable amount of time. We should be able to get across the city with the same ease as residents of other districts.”
Walton is being challenged by 29-year-old Theo Ellington, former director of public affairs for the Golden State Warriors, and volunteer board member for the Bayview Opera House, Economic Development on Third, and Chinatown Community Development Center. He’s the youngest candidate, but Ellington’s also got a hefty lineup of endorsements, from Mayor-Elect London Breed, Supervisors Cohen and Katy Tang, Thea Selby and Shanell Williams from the City College Board of Trustees, and Carmen Chu, San Francisco city assessor-recorder. The Potrero View has a thorough article on Ellington’s life history.
Neo Veavea is a project coordinator at the Samoan Community Development Center, and a prolific neighborhood organizer who has served on the District 10 Citizens Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors for the Visitacion Community Center, and the LGBTQ Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Commission. No endorsements are listed on his site thus far. Check out Potrero View’s take on the candidate here.
Tony Kelly is also running for the seat, for the third time. He confirmed with SF Weekly that he pulled papers Friday, and will be turning them in on Tuesday, July 12. The local activist and president of the Potrero Hill Democratic Club helped author last November’s Proposition S, which dedicated a portion of Hotel Tax revenue to support S.F. artists and aid families experiencing homelessness. He also as not yet announced any endorsements, but the San Francisco Democratic Socialists of America branch appears to have his back. The group, which is a fairly new player in the S.F. political scene, logged a huge win in the June election with their passage of Proposition F, guaranteeing all renters served an eviction notice the right to an attorney.
Regardless of who wins the election, they’ll have their hands very full with at least one major issue: An investigation is underway into critical flaws in the cleanup of the toxic Hunters Point shipyard, with cleanup corporation TetraTech and the U.S. Navy under fire from current-Supervisor Cohen. The person next elected to the D10 seat will no doubt be expected by constituents to continue putting pressure on all parties, as well as field calls from concerned residents about the unknown level of toxins they may be living on top of. It’s the biggest environmental mess San Francisco has dealt with thus far, and it’ll take a strong leader to hold the responsible parties accountable.
Want to meet a few of the candidates, and get a jump start on the race? Walton, Kelly, and Ellington will appear in a D10 supervisor forum on June 23, from 10-11:30 a.m. at 1275 Minnesota St.