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Overview:
Part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) is responsible for distributing different kinds of grants throughout the country to help low-income communities finance growth and development. CPD also supports efforts to alleviate homelessness through numerous grant programs. Like its parent, HUD, the Office of Community Planning and Development has been the subject of controversy over the misuse of federal funds involving political appointees of President George W. Bush.
 
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History:

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has had a long history of scandal and controversy. During the 1980s, HUD became embroiled in accusations of playing favorites with developers and housing officials who had political connections with the Reagan administration. One example involved a housing project in Durham, North Carolina, that was given the go-ahead even though some HUD staffers had found hazardous waste near the site. The mayor of Durham at that time was a friend of HUD secretary, Samuel Pierce, who was called before Congress to testify in regards to the many claims of improper dealings by his department. Pierce refused to testify by citing the Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate himself.

 
HUD continued to be the focus of problems during the 1990s. As the department struggled to clear itself of the scandals from the previous decade, the Government Accountability Office labeled HUD a “high risk” of not properly accounting for its financial records - a label that remained for the rest of the 1990s. Scandal also enveloped HUD’s secretary under President Bill Clinton. Henry Cisneros, who, when he was appointed to lead HUD, was a rising star in the Democratic Party, found himself investigated by the FBI for failing to disclose payments he had made before joining the administration to keep quiet a romantic affair. Cisneros would up resigning from office. During the scandal, Congressional Republicans tried unsuccessfully to abolish HUD. The move did succeed in forcing the Clinton administration to downsize HUD’s bureaucracy.
 
The years of the Bush administration have also witnessed troubles with HUD, including some that have involved the Office of Community Planning and Development (see Controversies). Many of HUD’s problems revolved around a friend of President Bush, Alphonso Jackson, who served as Deputy Secretary of HUD for almost three years and then Secretary of HUD for four years. Jackson purportedly demanded that the Philadelphia Housing Authority transfer a $2 million public property to a developer -and friend of Jackson’s - at a substantial discount. When Philadelphia officials balked at the demand, Jackson’s aides threatened to hold back some of the city’s federal housing dollars.
 
Jackson also came under criticism by HUD’s office of inspector general (IG), which reported that he urged top aides to take contractors’ politics into account when handing out grants and deals. The IG investigation was launched after Jackson boasted in a Dallas speech that he once scuttled a deal because the would-be contractor disparaged President Bush.
 
A History of HUD (by Lawrence L. Thompson) (PDF)

A Republican HUD scandal for a new generation

(by Steve Benen, Carpetbagger Report)

 

more
What it Does:

The Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD), located within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), administers a variety of grant programs to help low-income communities finance growth and development. CPD also provides assistance with shelters and services to aid homeless populations. CPD is composed of seven offices that target specific areas of development and community planning:

 
Office of Economic Development (OED) provides technical and financial assistance to communities to develop their own revitalization strategies and economic development. OED works in partnership with various entities in the public and private sector including local businesses, non-profit organizations and community-based organizations.
 
Office of Community Development provides financial and technical assistance to specific regions for community renewal and disaster recovery assistance. The office also offers grants for social and economic development to the Appalachian Region and various urban regions.
 
Office of Affordable Housing (OAHP) provides resources at the state and local level to develop affordable housing and to assist income-eligible households in renting, repairing or purchasing adequate housing. OAHP administers three programs: the HOME Investment Partnerships; Self-Help Homeownership (SHOP) and Homeownership Zone programs.
 
HOME provides formula grants to states and localities that communities use, sometimes involving local nonprofit groups. These grants fund a wide range of activities that build, buy, and/or rehabilitate affordable housing for rent or homeownership or provide direct rental assistance to low-income people. HOME is the largest federal block grant to state and local governments designed exclusively to create affordable housing for low-income households. Each year it allocates approximately $2 billion among states and hundreds of localities nationwide.
 
SHOP provides funds for eligible national and regional non-profit organizations to purchase home sites and develop or improve the infrastructure needed to foster volunteer-based homeownership programs for low-income persons and families. SHOP funds are used for eligible expenses to develop non-luxury housing for low-income persons and families who otherwise would not become homeowners. Homebuyers must be willing to contribute significant amounts of their own sweat equity toward the construction of the housing units.
 
The Homeownership Zone Initiative is a HUD demonstration program that was launched in 1996 as part of a national strategy to expand homeownership. The goal is to demonstrate that blighted areas can be transformed into stable, vibrant communities by creating new neighborhoods of mixed-income single-family homes, called Homeownership Zones. Homeownership Zones usually consist of several hundred new homes in a concentrated target area near major employment centers.
 
Office of Homeless Assistance provides funding to a number of local agencies to provide a range of services such as job skills programs and housing counseling. The office also provides financial aid for shelter and food for homeless populations through the implementation of six programs: The Supportive Housing Program; The Shelter Plus Care Program; The Single Room Occupancy Program; The Emergency Shelter Grant Program; The Base Realignment and Closure Program; and The Title V Program.
 
Office of Environment and Energy provides funding to promote the improvement of environmental conditions and energy efficiency. The office focuses on improving energy efficiency for households and promoting state and federal environmental safety regulations.
 
Office of Real Estate Acquisition and Relocation operates to enforce assistance and protection for people who have been affected by the rehabilitation, acquisition or demolition of property for federally funded projects.
 
Office of HIV/AIDS offers assistance to people with HIV/AIDS by providing short-term and long-term rental assistance, live-in medical facilities and housing sites created exclusively for individuals living with AIDS.
 
more
Where Does the Money Go:

The Office of Community Planning & Development provides financial information on the distribution of its grants to states, cities and counties throughout the United States. Cumulative dollar totals are made available on five different types of grants: Community Development Block Grants (CDBG); HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME); American Dream Downpayment Initiative (ADDI); Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA); and Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG).

 
Information can be viewed by state, which includes totals for individual cities and counties, or by all cities and counties listed together in one compilation. State breakdowns are available by year:
 

Some of the largest recipients among cities of CPD grants are: New York ($357 million); Los Angeles ($125 million); Chicago ($121 million); Philadelphia ($75 million); Houston ($49 million); Detroit ($48 million); Baltimore ($39 million); San Francisco ($38 million); and Cleveland ($32 million).

 

more
Controversies:

CPD Director in Thick of SF Housing Scandal

When things got ugly over an attempted cover up between HUD leadership and San Francisco’s embattled housing authority, it was the head of the Office of Community Planning and Development who tried to stifle a departmental whistleblower.
 
The saga began in October 2002 when Richard Mallory, HUD’s Western regional director, claimed he was fired a few months earlier as part of an effort by HUD’s top officials to conceal fiscal improprieties engineered by HUD’s No. 2 man, Alphonso Jackson, and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown. Mallory released copies of his letters to HUD to the San Francisco Chronicle claiming that Jackson shut down HUD’s efforts to force San Francisco to repay $1.8 million in federal funds that auditors said the SF Housing Authority had misused. He also accused Jackson of thwarting a HUD plan to fine the city $400,000 for misusing federal grants in connection with an unusual real estate deal involving Brown’s friend Charlie Walker and a Nation of Islam mosque.
 
Mallory said he was berated by Pamela Patenaude, CPD’s director at the time, for sending her an email regarding a Freedom of Information Act request filed by local television station that was researching a story about alleged improprieties in the sale of Federal Housing Administration property. The station story also was exploring any role that another HUD executive in the San Francisco office, Lily Lee, may have played, Mallory wrote.
 
In response to his email, Patenaude told Mallory that “Lily Lee is a friend of the deputy secretary,” meaning Jackson, and chastised Mallory for sending her the email because it was “discoverable,” meaning it could be revealed in a lawsuit.
 
Mallory also got in trouble when he balked at staging a press event with Mayor Brown to mark San Francisco’s participation in a HUD program to boost economic development in poor neighborhoods. Mallory argued that HUD officials shouldn't appear in public with Brown while he was refusing to clean up the problems at the Housing Authority noted in the audit nearly two years before.
 
Patenaude, according to Mallory, then phoned him and demanded that he resign. Mallory refused, and the next day he received a fax from Jackson notifying him that he was fired.

Fired official accuses HUD of coverup

(by Lance Williams, San Francisco Chronicle)

 

more
Former Directors:

Pamela Hughes Patenaude (April 2005 to June 2007)

 
Pamela Patenaude graduated from Saint Anselm College, a Catholic college in Manchester, New Hampshire. She received her master’s degree in community economic development from Southern New Hampshire University.
 
Patenaude started her career in housing and community economic development at the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority, where she was responsible for administering the Section 8 rental assistance program. During the Reagan administration, Patenaude served as the White House Liaison, Special Assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing. She was also the executive assistant to the Deputy Under Secretary for Field Coordination for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
 
From 1988 to 1996, Patenaude was the vice president of Manor Homes Builders, Inc., a family owned, custom homebuilder in Bedford, New Hampshire. Patenaude also served as the marketing and training director for the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center. She then joined the staff of U.S. Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) as state director and deputy chief of staff before moving over to HUD, where Patenaude was assistant deputy secretary for field policy and management.
 
Patenaude served as assistant secretary of CPD until June 2007 when she left to become executive director of the Urban Land Institute.
 
In 2003, Patenaude made political campaign contributions to George W. Bush totaling $2,500 during the presidential primary elections.
 

Pamela Hughes Patenaude Named Executive Director of ULI Terwilliger Center for Workforce Housing

 

more

Comments

Robert Tapia 3 years ago
The CPD seriously need to look into how The Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program funds are managed in our area located in northern Los Angeles County, the Antelope Valley "aka" Foreclosure Capital of The World -USA Today (http://www.allbusiness.com/environment-natural-resources/ecology-environmental/10563420-1.html) Why: 1. Thousands of people who have lost their homes or at risk of homelessness who may have easily qualified yet it shows to this date only 14+ have b...
Linda Eileen Walsh 3 years ago
A situation in Los Angeles Calfironia exista that seems pretty strange. Upon walking in the area around Ave. 65 and 66 in Highland Park , I noticed a relatively large parcel of land with a large craftsman house containing two units and a separate dwelling. On the property there were two or three wooden sign boards with advertisements or notices from the City of Los Angeles Department of Development saying roughly: Would you like this beautiful ... craftsman style home or shou...

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Founded: 1965
Annual Budget: $15.3 billion
Employees: 800
Office of Community Planning and Development
Marquez, Mercedes
Assistant Secretary

Mercedes Márquez has served as assistant secretary for community planning and development in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) since June 2009. The Office of Community Planning and Development is responsible for distributing grants to help low-income communities finance growth and development and to alleviate homelessness.

 
After growing up in San Francisco, Márquez earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Southern California and her JD and LLM from Georgetown University Law Center. Early in her law career, she worked with Georgetown’s Institute for Public Representation, representing low-income tenants.
 
In 1990, while working for Litt & Stormer, a public-interest law firm, she successfully represented 65 families in a Los Angeles slumlord case that earned a settlement of $37,000 each for the tenants of a gang- and vermin-infested apartment building.
 
In 1992 Márquez became a partner at the renamed Litt &  Márquez, where she continued to deal in cases involving slumlords, fair housing, public housing, sexual harassment and employment discrimination .
 
Márquez then joined the Clinton administration in 1997 as senior counsel to HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo and deputy general counsel for civil rights and fair housing. She was principal advisor to Cuomo on civil rights policy, including fair lending and fair housing enforcement, and led investigations and negotiations of housing discrimination cases. She also advised the secretary on rural housing and economic development policy, supervised farm worker specialists in five states, and served as a U.S. delegate to international commissions.
 
In 2001, she went back to the private sector to work as vice president of McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc., a national housing development firm which she had opposed 14 years earlier in a Nothern Virginia case involving the proposed eviction of low-income minority tenants to make way for luxury units. In her new position, Márquez oversaw private housing developments throughout the Southwest and California. In 2003, she helped initiate a 103-unit affordable housing project in Hollywood aimed at gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender older adults. The first such project in the nation, it opened in 2007.
 
In January 2004, Márquez became general manager of the Los Angeles Housing Department, a position she held until her appointment to lead the Office of Community Planning and Development in the Obama administration. Among her accomplishments was a 2008 anti-mansionization ordinance that limited the size of remodeled homes and another that protected low-cost residential hotels from gentrification.
 
Márquez is an advisory board member of the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers & Human Rights Project and the Center for Urban Redevelopment Excellence at the University of Pennsylvania, a former trustee of The McAuley Institute for Lifelong Learning at Georgian Court University in New Jersey, and past national vice president of the YWCA.
 
In June 2008, Márquez married her long-time partner, Mirta Ocaña, the homeless policy coordinator for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who performed the ceremony. Their relationship was the subject of controversy in 2004, when Ocaña was given a $150,000 a year job as housing analyst in the department that Márquez headed.
 
Márquez has described herself as a Roman Catholic and a Zen Buddhist.
 
Mercedes Marquez (WhoRunsGov, Washington Post)
 
more
Peppler, Susan
Previous Assistant Secretary

Susan D. Peppler was sworn in as the 14th Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development on June 27, 2008. A graduate of California State University San Bernardino, Peppler worked as a lobbyist for State Farm Insurance Company. She was director of housing for the Inland Empire Diviwsion of the League of California Citeis and chairwoman of the Redlands Redevelopment Agency. In 2003, she was elected to the city council of Redlands, California and served as the mayor of Redlands. Peppler served as Deputy Administrator for the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs for the U.S. General Services Administration before moving on to HUD.


more
Bookmark and Share
Overview:
Part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) is responsible for distributing different kinds of grants throughout the country to help low-income communities finance growth and development. CPD also supports efforts to alleviate homelessness through numerous grant programs. Like its parent, HUD, the Office of Community Planning and Development has been the subject of controversy over the misuse of federal funds involving political appointees of President George W. Bush.
 
more
History:

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has had a long history of scandal and controversy. During the 1980s, HUD became embroiled in accusations of playing favorites with developers and housing officials who had political connections with the Reagan administration. One example involved a housing project in Durham, North Carolina, that was given the go-ahead even though some HUD staffers had found hazardous waste near the site. The mayor of Durham at that time was a friend of HUD secretary, Samuel Pierce, who was called before Congress to testify in regards to the many claims of improper dealings by his department. Pierce refused to testify by citing the Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate himself.

 
HUD continued to be the focus of problems during the 1990s. As the department struggled to clear itself of the scandals from the previous decade, the Government Accountability Office labeled HUD a “high risk” of not properly accounting for its financial records - a label that remained for the rest of the 1990s. Scandal also enveloped HUD’s secretary under President Bill Clinton. Henry Cisneros, who, when he was appointed to lead HUD, was a rising star in the Democratic Party, found himself investigated by the FBI for failing to disclose payments he had made before joining the administration to keep quiet a romantic affair. Cisneros would up resigning from office. During the scandal, Congressional Republicans tried unsuccessfully to abolish HUD. The move did succeed in forcing the Clinton administration to downsize HUD’s bureaucracy.
 
The years of the Bush administration have also witnessed troubles with HUD, including some that have involved the Office of Community Planning and Development (see Controversies). Many of HUD’s problems revolved around a friend of President Bush, Alphonso Jackson, who served as Deputy Secretary of HUD for almost three years and then Secretary of HUD for four years. Jackson purportedly demanded that the Philadelphia Housing Authority transfer a $2 million public property to a developer -and friend of Jackson’s - at a substantial discount. When Philadelphia officials balked at the demand, Jackson’s aides threatened to hold back some of the city’s federal housing dollars.
 
Jackson also came under criticism by HUD’s office of inspector general (IG), which reported that he urged top aides to take contractors’ politics into account when handing out grants and deals. The IG investigation was launched after Jackson boasted in a Dallas speech that he once scuttled a deal because the would-be contractor disparaged President Bush.
 
A History of HUD (by Lawrence L. Thompson) (PDF)

A Republican HUD scandal for a new generation

(by Steve Benen, Carpetbagger Report)

 

more
What it Does:

The Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD), located within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), administers a variety of grant programs to help low-income communities finance growth and development. CPD also provides assistance with shelters and services to aid homeless populations. CPD is composed of seven offices that target specific areas of development and community planning:

 
Office of Economic Development (OED) provides technical and financial assistance to communities to develop their own revitalization strategies and economic development. OED works in partnership with various entities in the public and private sector including local businesses, non-profit organizations and community-based organizations.
 
Office of Community Development provides financial and technical assistance to specific regions for community renewal and disaster recovery assistance. The office also offers grants for social and economic development to the Appalachian Region and various urban regions.
 
Office of Affordable Housing (OAHP) provides resources at the state and local level to develop affordable housing and to assist income-eligible households in renting, repairing or purchasing adequate housing. OAHP administers three programs: the HOME Investment Partnerships; Self-Help Homeownership (SHOP) and Homeownership Zone programs.
 
HOME provides formula grants to states and localities that communities use, sometimes involving local nonprofit groups. These grants fund a wide range of activities that build, buy, and/or rehabilitate affordable housing for rent or homeownership or provide direct rental assistance to low-income people. HOME is the largest federal block grant to state and local governments designed exclusively to create affordable housing for low-income households. Each year it allocates approximately $2 billion among states and hundreds of localities nationwide.
 
SHOP provides funds for eligible national and regional non-profit organizations to purchase home sites and develop or improve the infrastructure needed to foster volunteer-based homeownership programs for low-income persons and families. SHOP funds are used for eligible expenses to develop non-luxury housing for low-income persons and families who otherwise would not become homeowners. Homebuyers must be willing to contribute significant amounts of their own sweat equity toward the construction of the housing units.
 
The Homeownership Zone Initiative is a HUD demonstration program that was launched in 1996 as part of a national strategy to expand homeownership. The goal is to demonstrate that blighted areas can be transformed into stable, vibrant communities by creating new neighborhoods of mixed-income single-family homes, called Homeownership Zones. Homeownership Zones usually consist of several hundred new homes in a concentrated target area near major employment centers.
 
Office of Homeless Assistance provides funding to a number of local agencies to provide a range of services such as job skills programs and housing counseling. The office also provides financial aid for shelter and food for homeless populations through the implementation of six programs: The Supportive Housing Program; The Shelter Plus Care Program; The Single Room Occupancy Program; The Emergency Shelter Grant Program; The Base Realignment and Closure Program; and The Title V Program.
 
Office of Environment and Energy provides funding to promote the improvement of environmental conditions and energy efficiency. The office focuses on improving energy efficiency for households and promoting state and federal environmental safety regulations.
 
Office of Real Estate Acquisition and Relocation operates to enforce assistance and protection for people who have been affected by the rehabilitation, acquisition or demolition of property for federally funded projects.
 
Office of HIV/AIDS offers assistance to people with HIV/AIDS by providing short-term and long-term rental assistance, live-in medical facilities and housing sites created exclusively for individuals living with AIDS.
 
more
Where Does the Money Go:

The Office of Community Planning & Development provides financial information on the distribution of its grants to states, cities and counties throughout the United States. Cumulative dollar totals are made available on five different types of grants: Community Development Block Grants (CDBG); HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME); American Dream Downpayment Initiative (ADDI); Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA); and Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG).

 
Information can be viewed by state, which includes totals for individual cities and counties, or by all cities and counties listed together in one compilation. State breakdowns are available by year:
 

Some of the largest recipients among cities of CPD grants are: New York ($357 million); Los Angeles ($125 million); Chicago ($121 million); Philadelphia ($75 million); Houston ($49 million); Detroit ($48 million); Baltimore ($39 million); San Francisco ($38 million); and Cleveland ($32 million).

 

more
Controversies:

CPD Director in Thick of SF Housing Scandal

When things got ugly over an attempted cover up between HUD leadership and San Francisco’s embattled housing authority, it was the head of the Office of Community Planning and Development who tried to stifle a departmental whistleblower.
 
The saga began in October 2002 when Richard Mallory, HUD’s Western regional director, claimed he was fired a few months earlier as part of an effort by HUD’s top officials to conceal fiscal improprieties engineered by HUD’s No. 2 man, Alphonso Jackson, and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown. Mallory released copies of his letters to HUD to the San Francisco Chronicle claiming that Jackson shut down HUD’s efforts to force San Francisco to repay $1.8 million in federal funds that auditors said the SF Housing Authority had misused. He also accused Jackson of thwarting a HUD plan to fine the city $400,000 for misusing federal grants in connection with an unusual real estate deal involving Brown’s friend Charlie Walker and a Nation of Islam mosque.
 
Mallory said he was berated by Pamela Patenaude, CPD’s director at the time, for sending her an email regarding a Freedom of Information Act request filed by local television station that was researching a story about alleged improprieties in the sale of Federal Housing Administration property. The station story also was exploring any role that another HUD executive in the San Francisco office, Lily Lee, may have played, Mallory wrote.
 
In response to his email, Patenaude told Mallory that “Lily Lee is a friend of the deputy secretary,” meaning Jackson, and chastised Mallory for sending her the email because it was “discoverable,” meaning it could be revealed in a lawsuit.
 
Mallory also got in trouble when he balked at staging a press event with Mayor Brown to mark San Francisco’s participation in a HUD program to boost economic development in poor neighborhoods. Mallory argued that HUD officials shouldn't appear in public with Brown while he was refusing to clean up the problems at the Housing Authority noted in the audit nearly two years before.
 
Patenaude, according to Mallory, then phoned him and demanded that he resign. Mallory refused, and the next day he received a fax from Jackson notifying him that he was fired.

Fired official accuses HUD of coverup

(by Lance Williams, San Francisco Chronicle)

 

more
Former Directors:

Pamela Hughes Patenaude (April 2005 to June 2007)

 
Pamela Patenaude graduated from Saint Anselm College, a Catholic college in Manchester, New Hampshire. She received her master’s degree in community economic development from Southern New Hampshire University.
 
Patenaude started her career in housing and community economic development at the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority, where she was responsible for administering the Section 8 rental assistance program. During the Reagan administration, Patenaude served as the White House Liaison, Special Assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing. She was also the executive assistant to the Deputy Under Secretary for Field Coordination for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
 
From 1988 to 1996, Patenaude was the vice president of Manor Homes Builders, Inc., a family owned, custom homebuilder in Bedford, New Hampshire. Patenaude also served as the marketing and training director for the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center. She then joined the staff of U.S. Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) as state director and deputy chief of staff before moving over to HUD, where Patenaude was assistant deputy secretary for field policy and management.
 
Patenaude served as assistant secretary of CPD until June 2007 when she left to become executive director of the Urban Land Institute.
 
In 2003, Patenaude made political campaign contributions to George W. Bush totaling $2,500 during the presidential primary elections.
 

Pamela Hughes Patenaude Named Executive Director of ULI Terwilliger Center for Workforce Housing

 

more

Comments

Robert Tapia 3 years ago
The CPD seriously need to look into how The Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program funds are managed in our area located in northern Los Angeles County, the Antelope Valley "aka" Foreclosure Capital of The World -USA Today (http://www.allbusiness.com/environment-natural-resources/ecology-environmental/10563420-1.html) Why: 1. Thousands of people who have lost their homes or at risk of homelessness who may have easily qualified yet it shows to this date only 14+ have b...
Linda Eileen Walsh 3 years ago
A situation in Los Angeles Calfironia exista that seems pretty strange. Upon walking in the area around Ave. 65 and 66 in Highland Park , I noticed a relatively large parcel of land with a large craftsman house containing two units and a separate dwelling. On the property there were two or three wooden sign boards with advertisements or notices from the City of Los Angeles Department of Development saying roughly: Would you like this beautiful ... craftsman style home or shou...

Leave a comment

captcha

Founded: 1965
Annual Budget: $15.3 billion
Employees: 800
Office of Community Planning and Development
Marquez, Mercedes
Assistant Secretary

Mercedes Márquez has served as assistant secretary for community planning and development in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) since June 2009. The Office of Community Planning and Development is responsible for distributing grants to help low-income communities finance growth and development and to alleviate homelessness.

 
After growing up in San Francisco, Márquez earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Southern California and her JD and LLM from Georgetown University Law Center. Early in her law career, she worked with Georgetown’s Institute for Public Representation, representing low-income tenants.
 
In 1990, while working for Litt & Stormer, a public-interest law firm, she successfully represented 65 families in a Los Angeles slumlord case that earned a settlement of $37,000 each for the tenants of a gang- and vermin-infested apartment building.
 
In 1992 Márquez became a partner at the renamed Litt &  Márquez, where she continued to deal in cases involving slumlords, fair housing, public housing, sexual harassment and employment discrimination .
 
Márquez then joined the Clinton administration in 1997 as senior counsel to HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo and deputy general counsel for civil rights and fair housing. She was principal advisor to Cuomo on civil rights policy, including fair lending and fair housing enforcement, and led investigations and negotiations of housing discrimination cases. She also advised the secretary on rural housing and economic development policy, supervised farm worker specialists in five states, and served as a U.S. delegate to international commissions.
 
In 2001, she went back to the private sector to work as vice president of McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc., a national housing development firm which she had opposed 14 years earlier in a Nothern Virginia case involving the proposed eviction of low-income minority tenants to make way for luxury units. In her new position, Márquez oversaw private housing developments throughout the Southwest and California. In 2003, she helped initiate a 103-unit affordable housing project in Hollywood aimed at gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender older adults. The first such project in the nation, it opened in 2007.
 
In January 2004, Márquez became general manager of the Los Angeles Housing Department, a position she held until her appointment to lead the Office of Community Planning and Development in the Obama administration. Among her accomplishments was a 2008 anti-mansionization ordinance that limited the size of remodeled homes and another that protected low-cost residential hotels from gentrification.
 
Márquez is an advisory board member of the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers & Human Rights Project and the Center for Urban Redevelopment Excellence at the University of Pennsylvania, a former trustee of The McAuley Institute for Lifelong Learning at Georgian Court University in New Jersey, and past national vice president of the YWCA.
 
In June 2008, Márquez married her long-time partner, Mirta Ocaña, the homeless policy coordinator for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who performed the ceremony. Their relationship was the subject of controversy in 2004, when Ocaña was given a $150,000 a year job as housing analyst in the department that Márquez headed.
 
Márquez has described herself as a Roman Catholic and a Zen Buddhist.
 
Mercedes Marquez (WhoRunsGov, Washington Post)
 
more
Peppler, Susan
Previous Assistant Secretary

Susan D. Peppler was sworn in as the 14th Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development on June 27, 2008. A graduate of California State University San Bernardino, Peppler worked as a lobbyist for State Farm Insurance Company. She was director of housing for the Inland Empire Diviwsion of the League of California Citeis and chairwoman of the Redlands Redevelopment Agency. In 2003, she was elected to the city council of Redlands, California and served as the mayor of Redlands. Peppler served as Deputy Administrator for the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs for the U.S. General Services Administration before moving on to HUD.


more