Thursday, March 01, 2007

Neighborhhood Council's Winter Of Discontent Ends!

Two GREAT choices to lead the Department Of Neighborhood Empowerment. I was at the Mayor's press conference, spoke with each nominee and they have agreed to appear before the Los Angeles Neighborhood Councils Congress at their earliest convenience. See below article from CITYWATCH:

Mayor Names Baker Tharp and Kim to Head DONE

By Sara Epstein, Staff Writer

Mayor Villaraigosa today took the unusual step of announcing not just his nominee to be the new general manager of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, but the new assistant general manager as well.

Saying that she will bring a passion to the job and that “she will work to empower our Neighborhood Councils,” the Mayor selected Dr. Carol Baker Tharp to head the department, and BongHwan Kim as her assistant. Baker Tharp will take over effective March 12. Kim will begin work following the confirmation of Baker Tharp by the City Council.

For 12 years, Tharp was executive director of Coro, one of the oldest and most prestigious leadership education organizations in the United States. Currently, she serves as the deputy director of the Civic Engagement Initiative at the University of Southern California.

Kim is the executive director of the Pasadena Neighborhood Housing Services, and was recently appointed by Mayor Villaraigosa to serve on the Neighborhood Council Review Commission. Prior to this he was the executive director of the Multi-cultural Collaborative and the Korean Youth and Community Center in Los Angeles.

The mayor said that Baker Tharp and Kim were his top two choices, as they were of those who served on the interview panels, which included members of Neighborhood Councils. Of Baker Tharp he said, “She is a proven leader, scholar and community servant. Carol’s experience and expertise make her the most qualified person for this position (and to provide the) … necessary structure and oversight to the department.”

Early reaction to the appointments has been enthusiastic and positive. Retired DONE GM, Greg Nelson said, “The Mayor should be congratulated. Carol’s nomination demonstrates the Mayor’s commitment to wanting to have a person lead the department who truly believes in Neighborhood Councils.”

Brady Westwater, Chair of the LA NC Congress called Baker Tharp the “Gail Goldberg of DONE. “Those of us who have felt the Mayor does support Neighborhood Councils and their independence,” Westwater added, “have had our positions validated by these two superb choices.”

Baker Tharp told the media, and those gathered for the introduction, that it was time to turn the emphasis from process and toward the nurturing of the Neighborhood Councils, and toward helping to fulfill the empowerment vision. When introducing her Assistant GM Kim, she called it a partnership. And went on to say that the department was about partnerships, “with the city and with Neighborhood Councils.”

Kim suggested that the dual appointments were a “new model in leadership.”

One of their first projects, the two announced, will be a “listening tour” of Neighborhood Councils.

Baker Tharp said she was “excited” about the opportunity. “It seems,” she said, “like I’ve been preparing my whole life for this.”

Baker Tharp’s confirmation could get to the Education and Neighborhoods Committee as early as next week.

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