Malia Cohen Elected New Board of Supes President

The unanimous decision was made as London Breed stepped down from her role to prepare for taking over the mayor's office.

(Photo: Jessica Christian)

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors has a new president: Malia Cohen. The decision was made unanimously at the end of a long Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday evening. 

Mayor-elect London Breed announced last week that she would be stepping down from her role as president in anticipation of her transition to the mayor’s office next month. In doing so, she quashed any progressive hopes that a vote would be delayed until Rafael Mandelman was placed on the Board, giving them a majority. Speculation immediately launched on who would replace her, with Supervisors Cohen and Ahsha Safai considered frontrunners. 

But just this week, sources privy to behind-closed-doors conversations hinted that Cohen was the top choice. She won many progressives’ support in Monday’s Budget and Finance Committee when she backed a vote to defund tasers for the San Francisco Police Department. In the past few months, she’s been a particularly strong voice for police reform, threatening to cut funds for the Independent Investigation Bureau in light of its failure to charge any of the officers involved in police shootings in recent years, and questioning whether more officers would be an effective safety choice for her constituents.  

With Cohen’s election, both the mayor and president of the Board of Supervisors fall into the moderate political category, even as the Board prepares to shift more progressive. This may soften Breed’s landing in her new role but could cause some conflict on the Board as they battle for power in the coming months. 

Either way, Cohen hinted at how she would treat the remainder of her term during a commendation to a constituent during Tuesday’s meeting. “It’s my last year on the Board of Supervisors and it’s my opportunity to be really honest,” she said. 

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