Malia Cohen for Board of Equalization District 2
Before reading the San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial on this race, I had no idea what the Board of Equalization did. Turns out, it’s not much anymore: it used to do a lot of taxation work, but last year, the Legislature moved about 96 percent of its resources and duties to a new department after widespread misconduct was discovered. The Chronicle cited several former members advocating for its abolition, and without a compelling candidate they opted against an endorsement — the only race in which they did so. The California Democratic Party also did not endorse, and while the Mercury News endorsed Cohen, they also called for the Board to be shut down.
Regardless of whether the Board of Equalization should be abolished, its members are given political power which often leads to further offices, so it’s worth voting for the candidate with the best record and positions.
Malia Cohen is a current San Francisco Supervisor. Some of her record and Issues page highlights policies that have become standard in progressive liberal circles, but which are ineffectual at best, such as fossil fuel divestment, “saving” manufacturing jobs (which often means local tax credits at the expense of services), and “ban-the-box” (prohibiting employers from asking job candidates about criminal history, which studies show has exacerbated racial disparities). The biggest stain on her record is voting for a San Francisco resolution opposing SB 827, Senator Scott Wiener’s bill to legalize apartment buildings near transit. However, she’s taken some positive steps on housing and transit, such as spearheading Proposition O to build 12,000 homes in Hunters Point, and securing funding for Caltrain modernization. I also agree with her positions on the San Francisco mayoral race (London Breed) and most ballot measures (yes on A and D; no on B and H; I disagree with her endorsement of E).
Meanwhile, the “Issues” page for Cathleen Galgiani — a state Senator — is almost entirely trite and vague. She voted against SB 827 on the Housing and Transportation Committee, where the bill died. Barry Chang doesn’t have a website to assess issues, and was described as temperamentally unfit by the Mercury News. With Mark Burns rounding out the field as a Republican, Malia Cohen is the only reasonable choice.