After helping turn “environmental justice” into two of the most important words in New York’s activist lexicon, Leslie Lowe is leaving the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, where she has been executive director since June 1997. Why leave now, after a success record of everything from halting waste transfer stations to securing open spaces for green-starved neighborhoods? Classic exhaustion, 2002-style: “It’s the hours,” says Lowe. “All nonprofit executive directors can relate to the stress of fundraising and managing in the economic downturn.” Two funders, she said, have pulled their support post-9/11. Endless battles with the Giuliani administration took their toll. And, she laughs, “I turned 50.” Lowe will be working as an environmental policy consultant. No successor has yet been named.
On February 19, U.S. Housing and Urban Development secretary Mel Martinez named Robert L. Woodson Jr. the agency’s new chief of staff. Woodson is the son of Robert Woodson, Sr., founder of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise Development and a leading conservative voice for promoting faith- and market-based solutions for the problems of low-income urban communities. Woodson, who will also be in charge of programs promoting minority and low-income homeownership–efforts the Bush administration is pushing to expand–worked for his father’s organization as well as for Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX), and on the Bush campaign.