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Myrtle Cole

Council President District 4

Photo of Myrtle Cole

Council President Myrtle Cole was sworn in as a member of the San Diego City Council on December 10, 2013. She is the first African-American woman elected to serve on the City Council as the first woman to represent the Fourth Council District as well as the first African-American woman elected as council president. Council President Cole has worked in the Fourth District since 1977 and has lived in the community for more than 20 years.

Council President Cole attended the University of Arizona and then joined the Tucson Police Department before moving to San Diego to continue her career in law enforcement, rising to the rank of lieutenant with the San Diego Community College District’s Police Department. After 11 years as a police officer, she pursued and obtained an MBA from National University. Shortly thereafter, she accepted a position with the San Diego City Council to help implement Community-Oriented Policing. Continuing her community advocacy, Council President Cole worked with the office of Deputy Mayor George Stevens to organize first time home buyer’s fairs as well as the late Councilmember Charles Lewis as a Campaign Manager and Councilmember Tony Young as both his Campaign Manager and Office Manager. Additionally, she has worked as a Council Representative for Councilmembers John Hartley, Christine Kehoe, and Toni Atkins. Immediately prior to her first election, Council President Cole worked as a Regional Coordinator for United Domestic Workers of America (UDW) who provide in-home services to thousands of low-income seniors, children and people living with disabilities.

In 2014, Council President Cole was honored as Public Official of the Year by the Neighborhood Market Association for being a champion of the community and for her outstanding leadership. St. Stephen’s Cathedral Church of God in Christ also honored her with the 2014 Women’s Community Leader Award. In 2015, she was honored as Public Official of the Year by the Building Owners & Management Association (BOMA) for her leadership in guiding the City’s Workforce Housing Offset increase. In 2017, Council President Cole was named the keynote speaker at National University’s Southern California Commencement Ceremony and received an honorary doctorate degree. The ceremony included over 3,000 graduates and more than 20,000 attendees. In 2018, she has received Invisible WATU’s Woman of Distinction Award and San Diego LGBT Community Center’s Bayard Rustin Civil Rights Lifetime Achievement Award.

Council President Cole is widely regarded as a passionate leader on the Council in the fight for increased public safety, economic development, infrastructure improvements, neighborhood revitalization, and quality jobs.

During her tenure, she is putting neighborhoods first and getting things done. She continues to make the redevelopment of the District’s commercial corridors a top priority, working with labor organizations, civic leaders, and business owners to bring good jobs and quality retail to the heart of the community. Since Council President Cole took office, she has opened the first drugstore south of the 94 on Euclid Avenue, installed Market Street sidewalks, acquired funding for the Bay Terraces Senior Center, opened the new Skyline Hills Branch Library, and more. She also opened new, quality affordable housing units in the District including, Independence Point, Trolley Park Terrace, and Ouchi Courtyards. As council president, she convened a Special Council Meeting on Homelessness and created the Select Committee on Homelessness to discuss and revisit City policies regarding homelessness and to identify funding mechanisms to house the growing homeless population in San Diego. Additionally, she convened a Special Council Meeting on Affordable Housing and Housing Affordability to take action on proposals to address the high cost of renting or buying a home in San Diego. Council President Cole will continue to advocate for projects and programs that will enhance public safety, pave streets, create jobs, build sidewalks, and improve emergency response times.

Council President Cole serves as:

  • Chair, Rules Committee
  • Representative, San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Board of Directors
  • Representative, SANDAG Executive Committee
  • Representative, San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS)

Contact Council President Cole at (619) 236-6644 or via email at [email protected].

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