Friday, February 20, 2009

Obama's urban affairs guy

President Obama has finally chosen his long-promised director of urban affairs, a guy from the Bronx named Adolfo Carrión. Carrión is Bronx Borough president, has a master's in urban planning from Hunter College and was a minister and public school teacher before going to grad school. Born in Manhattan of Puerto Rican descent, he's president of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. (Wonder if he knows Dan Ramirez, the ex-Mecklenburg County commissioner?)

This Washington Post story has Carrión saying what his focus will be: He wants cities to become economic centers that can pull the country out of a recession and improve American competitiveness in a global market, according to the Post.
Here's a quote, from a 2007 speech, reported in the New York Times Dec. 3, 2008:
• "We can't keep throwing money at a housing policy that concentrates poor families in massive housing projects and hopes for the best. We can't keep wishing kids into success by simply declaring that no child will be left behind. We must stop treating the poor as laboratory subjects that we tinker with in our pricey think tanks and universities."

Another New Yorker, Derek Douglas, was named special assistant to the president for urban affairs. Douglas was N.Y. Gov. David Paterson's counsel in Washington and director of his Washington office, overseeing federal policy development and advocacy on domestic, economic and urban policy issues for New York.
Good for Obama for recognizing that cities are -- shock! -- important to the health of the nation and that cities probably need some champions in high places. But why does it look as though Obama thinks New York is the only city that can provide that expertise? What about Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Miami, et al?


BC Planning said...

I wonder how people can apply to work for this office.