Appoint Director Of Urban Policy
"I will also appoint a new director of urban policy, who will cut through the disorganized bureaucracy that currently exists and report directly to me on how these efforts are going."-- Washington, D.C.
By ALINA SELYUKH
President Obama established yet another new executive office on Thursday, fulfilling a campaign promise by naming Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión Jr. as head of the new White House Office of Urban Affairs. Derek Douglas, director of New York Gov. David Paterson's Washington office, was named as special assistant to the president for urban affairs.
The new Office of Urban Affairs was created on Thursday by an executive order to guide, coordinate and oversee funding of all urban affairs policy and programs. In addition to doling out federal dollars to urban areas, Carrión told the Washington Post that he will work across traditional Cabinet divisions to coordinate health, education and environmental initiatives in American's cities. Obama told the U.S. Conference of Mayors today that he had also asked his new urban czar "to set up an advisory council with mayors and other urban leaders so that we can develop a new metropolitan strategy based on the lessons you've learned."
John F. Kennedy envisioned a similar office in 1962, offering to combine the Housing and Home Finance Agency and related agencies in the Department of Urban Affairs and Housing to address the population shift from rural to urban areas. But Congress killed the proposal. President Johnson brought attention back to the issue in 1966, creating the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Since then, urban affairs questions have passed through HUD and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs -- a committee whose broad jurisdiction has resulted in chronic inattention to urban issues, according to some observers.
FEBRUARY 19, 2009
Obama Names Urban Affairs Director
Obama named Adolfo Carrión Jr. as director of the new White House Office of Urban Affairs and Derek Douglas as special assistant to the president for urban affairs. As Bronx borough president, Carrión was credited with improving neighborhoods and helping to guide the new Yankee Stadium project. Douglas headed New York Gov. David Paterson's Washington office.