District 10 supervisor candidates have different messages on southeastern area

District 10 is a stretch of The City's southeast land comprising the Dogpatch, Hunters Point, the Bayview, Potrero Hill and Visitacion Valley. The area's history includes a once-flourishing ship building industry and a naval shipyard that closed in 1974. Up until December, it was the home of the 49ers. A Muni light-rail line runs up along Third Street.

For the past four years, Supervisor Malia Cohen has represented these southeastern neighborhoods on the 11-member Board of Supervisors after she had prevailed in a crowded and close election in November 2010.

As Cohen fights in the only competitive race of the five supervisorial seats up for election on Nov. 4 — the even-numbered seats — her record is on the line as her opponents attempt to cast her as disengaged and unable to deliver on resources in a district they say often gets the short thrift from City Hall.

“I am delivering,” Cohen said. “There has been a significant amount of progress.”

Long before Cohen's tenure, some used to call the area the “forgotten community.” The future of the district holds much change. With an overall thriving economy in The City, soaring rents and evictions, the southeastern section is increasingly seen as the land of great potential. Lennar Urban is currently constructing thousands of new homes on the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. There is a Pier 70 development of 6,000 housing units, also before voters this November.

For the candidates, the top issues of the district are the same: lack of below-market-rate housing, jobs and public safety.

Candidate Tony Kelly, a Potrero Hill advocate and former theater director, argues that Cohen too often sides with the mayor on issues and what the district really needs is someone who can “stand up to the mayor to make things better.”

“Not every supervisor has to work to end poverty, but the District 10 supervisor does,” Kelly said. “There isn't enough jobs, housing is too expensive and we keep killing people.”

Cohen calls Kelly an “extremist progressive” and says she has a proven track record.

Retired public-school teacher and 25-year community advocate Marlene Tran, a candidate from Visitacion Valley, ranked third in the ranked-choice voting system in the District 10 supervisor race of November 2010 among a field of 21 candidates. Kelly placed second.

Tran said she would give a voice to the people at City Hall. For years she has provided translation services for the large Asian community for public safety or voting materials and steeped herself in a variety of social issues. “In Visitacion Valley, where I live, we are in many ways worse off now than four years ago,” Tran said.

Also in the running is Ed Donaldson, president and founder of the MAAT Community Partners, a mortgage relief firm, and Shawn Richard, executive director of Brothers Against Guns, a nonprofit working to abate violence.

Of the districts, District 10 is the most diverse and the one with the largest black population. According to the 2010 census, the population is 34.7 percent Asian, 32.3 percent white and 23.2 percent black.

Bay Area NewsDistrict 10electionGovernment & PoliticsLennar UrbanPolitics

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