Planning Commission president to step down to run for San Francisco supervisor

San Francisco Chronicle | By Dominic Fracassa and Trisha Thadani

Myrna Melgar plans to step away from her role as president of the San Francisco Planning Commission in the next few weeks to run for the District Seven seat on the Board of Supervisors.

Melgar, a self-described “planning nerd,” has worked on the commission for 3½ years, during which she’s cultivated a reputation as an amenable, even-keeled voice on the often divisive body. District Seven includes the Inner Sunset, Parkmerced, Parkside, Lakeside, Forest Hill and West Portal, among other neighborhoods.

The Planning Commission has experienced some recent turnover and tumult. Former commissioner Rich Hillis gave up his seat in September to seek out the Planning Department’s top job. Planning Director John Rahaim will retire in February. Commissioner Dennis Richards is expected to relinquish his seat on the commission after entangling himself in a thorny property dispute. He took a leave of absence last month that he said would last until mid-February.

Bridge-building is a theme Melgar plans to carry into her campaign, she said in an interview Monday.

“If you watch me on the Planning Commission, that’s what I try to do. Relationships are really important to me, and listening to folks who disagree with me is really crucial to make progress on all of the issues the city is facing,” she said.

“We often just get mired down in toxicity about ‘progressives versus moderates,’ or ‘affordable housing or preserving neighborhood character.’ We demonize each other and we don’t make progress.”

A resident of Ingleside Terraces for the past decade, Melgar said she supports increasing housing density on the city’s west side “where appropriate,” particularly around transit and commercial corridors, she said.

Melgar is executive director of Jamestown Community Center, which offers youth development services. She was previously deputy director of the Mission Economic Development Agency. She was tapped for the Planning Commission by then-Board of Supervisors President London Breed.

Melgar said she will wind down her role on the Planning Commission once the Board of Supervisors selects her replacement.

She joins a crowded field for the District Seven seat, which is up for grabs in November, once Supervisor Norman Yee is termed out.

Candidates have until June 9 to pull papers to run for odd-number supervisorial seats. As of Monday, here are the other candidates who filed papers to run in the November 2020 races.

District Three

  • Aaron Peskin
  • Charles Belle
  • William Calhoun
  • Spencer Simonsen
  • District Five
  • Dean Preston
  • Daniel Landry

District Seven

  • Joel Engardio
  • Karim Salgado
  • Patrick Maguire
  • Stephen Martin-Pinto
  • Ben Matranga

District 11

  • Ahsha Safaí
  • John Avalos

Dominic Fracassa and Trisha Thadani are San Francisco Chronicle staff writers. Email: [email protected], [email protected] Twitter: @DominicFracassa, @TrishaThadani

Myrna Melgar for Supervisor

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