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City of South San FranciscoCandidate for Council Member, Council District 4

Photo of James Coleman

James Coleman

Biological Researcher / Environmentalist
3,443 votes (52.28%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Establish universal preschool and childcare programs to alleviate our city's current 4 year long pre-K wait list.
  • Build smart, green, and union-built affordable housing to protect our residents from being priced out of the city. Penalize private developers who have walked back their promises to build affordable housing, but have instead built luxury housing.
  • Improve public safety by creating a group of first-responders trained in social work and mental healthcare to respond to non-violent calls for assistance in the community. Remove all $735,000 worth of military equipment from the police force



Profession:Biological Researcher / Environmentalist
Researcher, Sahay Lab, Massachusetts General Hospital (2018–current)


Harvard University A.B., Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology, minor in Government (current)

Community Activities

Organizer, Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard (2018–current)
Organizer, Harvard College Democrats (2017–current)
Founding member and organizer, Harvard College YDSA (2019–current)
Co-founder and Director, Harvard Undergraduates for Environmental Justice (2018–2020)
Fellow, Alliance for Climate Education (2015–2017)


Hello! My name is James Coleman. I grew up in the neighborhood of Avalon Park with my working class mother and father, and I am running to represent District 4 in South San Francisco’s City Council. For as long as I can remember, I have cared deeply about our community and knew that I wanted to spend my life in service to our shared home in South City. As a lifelong resident, I attended Ponderosa Elementary, Alta Loma Middle School, and South San Francisco High School. 

When I was 5 years old, my father sustained a traumatic injury, which left him largely paralyzed from the waist-down. My mother was forced to work two jobs to make ends meet, all while sharing the responsibility of caring for my injured father at home. As a young child, I did not understand why my mother was gone from home for long periods of time or why my father did not heal like other people when they became injured. Growing up, I became curious. I desired to incite change that would not leave other children in the world as confused and hopeless as I was. 

This is what led me to study Human Developmental & Regenerative Biology and Government at Harvard University. During my experience in such a privileged space, my eyes were opened to the worlds of other students and the communities they came from. Others did not have to worry about being pushed out of their homes due to rising costs of living, or 4-year long waitlists for preschool, or underfunded extracurricular and afterschool programs.

For years, I have worked with the community to help make our political system work for all of us from the Greater Boston area to back home here in the Bay. In particular, I was a fellow with the Alliance for Climate Education, an advocate with Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard, and a cofounder of the Harvard Undergraduates for Environmental Justice. I have worked on campaigns advocating for safe and equitable working conditions for essential workers at Harvard, and have advocated for increasing resources for the homeless community in Cambridge. In addition to this, I have interned at the biotech company Bayer, conducted neuroscience research at Massachusetts General Hospital, and served as a Director for TEDx Harvard College. Now I want to take the experiences, privilege, and education that I gained from Harvard, and return to South City to empower and improve upon the community that I once grew up in.

Today, a pandemic runs rampant, the nation is suffering from the murder of George Floyd, and we are facing a looming eviction and unemployment crisis that dwarfs that of the Great Depression, all while the need to address climate change and rising costs of living remains ever so urgent. Now, more than ever, we need representatives that will represent and fight for the people.

I will fight for:

✔️A COVID-19 eviction moratorium with rental/mortgage payment assistance

✔️First-responders trained in social work and mental healthcare

✔️Net-zero GHG emissions by 2030

✔️Universal internet access

✔️Affordable housing

✔️Universal Pre-K


I’d be honored to have your vote.

Who supports this candidate?

Organizations (18)

  • San Mateo County LatinX Democratic Club
  • Peninsula Young Democrats
  • San Mateo County Stonewall Democrats
  • The Bay Area Reporter
  • Planned Parenthood Advocates Monte Mar
  • California Faculty Association of San Francisco State University
  • LGBTQ Victory Fund
  • San Mateo County API Caucus
  • Filipino American Democratic Club of San Mateo County
  • North Peninsula Democratic Club
  • California Democratic Renters Council
  • Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee
  • Run For Something
  • Pacific Islander Democratic Club of San Mateo County
  • California High School Democrats
  • Peninsula DSA
  • Peninsula for Everyone

Elected Officials (14)

  • Kalimah Salahuddin, Jefferson Union High School District President
  • Scott Wiener, CA State Senator
  • Clayton Koo, San Mateo County School Board Association Vice President; Jefferson Elementary School District Trustee
  • Daina Lujan, San Mateo County School Board Association President; South San Francisco Unified School District Trustee
  • Juslyn Manalo, City of Daly City Vice Mayor
  • Rod Daus-Magbual, City of Daly City Council Member
  • Deirdre Martin, City of Pacifica Mayor
  • Nancy Magee, San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools
  • Maurice Goodman, San Mateo County Community College Trustee
  • Rosie Tejada, Jefferson Union High School District Vice President
  • Teri L. Chavez, San Bruno Park School District President
  • Manufou Liaiga-anoa'i, Jefferson Elementary School District Trustee
  • Nick Occhipinti, Jefferson Union High School District Trustee
  • Andrew Lie, Jefferson Union High School District Trustee

Individuals (14)

  • Daniel Yanow, South San Francisco California Teachers' Association President
  • Liliana Rivera, SSF Commission on Racial and Social Equity
  • Nadia Conrad Bick, South San Francisco Mother's Club Vice President
  • Dolores Piper, Racial and Social Equity Activist; Aunt of Derrick Gaines: Executed by SSFPD on June 5, 2012
  • Robert Uy, SSF Parks and Recreation Commissioner
  • Cheska Ibasan, SSF Commission on Racial and Social Equity; SSF Youth Advisory Council
  • Roderick Bovee, SSF General Plan Community Advisory Committee
  • Isabela Molina, SSF Youth Advisory Council
  • Russell Lee, SSF Youth Advisory Council
  • Aaron Adriano, SSF Youth Advisory Council
  • Melissa Hua, SSF Youth Advisory Council
  • Ethan Mizzi, SSF Youth Advisory Council
  • Monique Ray, SSF Youth Advisory Council Co-Founder
  • Michael DeNatale, SSF Cultural Arts Commissioner

Political Beliefs

Position Papers

Action on Climate Change


My plans on addressing climate change in South San Francisco

Climate change is a real and looming threat; and our city must do its part in combating the climate crisis. Growing up in South San Francisco, there never was a wildfire season, but now it is an urgent reality. Ever since 2017, the state of California has experienced devastating wildfires intensified by climate change, with weeks of subsequent hazardous air. South San Francisco must do its part in addressing the climate crisis. I will work with my colleagues to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

I support banning the use of natural gas in new building construction, similar to the policy in Berkeley. We must also subsidize and encourage the phasing out of natural gas from homes in South City and begin the gradual removal of gas pipelines. Natural gas is not only a large source of carbon emissions, it is a public safety concern as evident by the San Bruno pipeline explosion in 2010.

We must expand the operation of the free South San Francisco shuttle service to decrease our city’s reliance on cars. We must also update our city’s infrastructure to accommodate and make it safer for pedestrians, bikers, and electrical vehicles. 

In South San Francisco’s movement away from fossil fuel energy, it must ensure that the transition is equitable and fair for all residents. We must push for green jobs that specifically target the most economically marginalized and those most affected by climate change. Additionally, South San Francisco must encourage the use of community gardens and land trusts to promote autonomy within our community and reduce food insecurity.

I support instructing the city treasurer to divest all of the city’s investments out of the fossil fuel industry. Investments in the fossil fuel industry have proven to be extremely volatile and increasingly risky in addition to being simply immoral. When reinvesting this money, we must follow the principles outlined by 350, and ensure that our investments drive social equity and benefit the community.

Videos (1)

— September 13, 2020 , Made by Janetzy Cruz

James Coleman is running for City Council in South San Francisco's District 4. He is fighting for affordable housing, universal pre-K, COVID-19 relief, public safety improvements, and more.

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