White House Will Name New Urban Czar

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The White House plans to retain the urban affairs post vacated this week by former Bronx borough president Adolfo Carrión, and President Obama was satisfied with Carrion’s performance, a spokesman told City Limits.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced on Monday that Carrión, whom Mr. Obama tapped last year to head a newly created White House urban affairs office, will be moving from Washington to head the HUD’s New York/New Jersey regional office.

Carrión’s White House post of Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs, will be filled but a successor has not been named and it’s unclear when one will be.

While the idea of a national urban policy czar was greeted enthusiastically by urban advocates when floated by Candidate Obama, some have criticized the office’s low visibility during its first year of existence.

The White House praised his work.

“As the first director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs, Adolfo Carrión embraced President Obama’s vision for urban America and worked to make our cities and metropolitan areas more economically competitive, environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive. Adolfo set the foundation for the work of the office, developing the framework for agencies to work more closely with these communities to address the challenges they face, and listening to elected officials, community leaders and policy experts around the country as we shaped this new action-oriented agenda,” said White House spokesman Corey Ealons in a statement. “The White House Office of Urban Affairs will continue to be a critical part of the White House’s efforts to reinvigorate our economy, to create jobs and to set our communities on a path towards long-term sustainability.”

Carrión was a putative candidate for city comptroller in 2009 before Mr. Obama named him to the White House post, and has been considered a potential future mayoral hopeful. Recent reports have suggested he has interest in the job of lieutenant governor. The New York/New Jersey office of HUD has served as a political stepping stone in the past: Bill de Blasio served in the post before winning election to the City Council and, later, as public advocate.

At the Regional Plan Association’s annual assembly last month, Carrión outlined the administration’s vision for America’s urban areas, saying it included better mass transit and traffic reduction strategies, possibly including congestion pricing.

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