Is Obama's Urban Policy Office DOA?

During the campaign, Obama promised U.S. mayors that he'd create an Office of Urban Policy. But indications so far are that the office is facing a significant downgrade, writes Dayo Olopade.
April 29, 2009, 2pm PDT | Nate Berg
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"When the office was officially formed in mid-February, urbanists rejoiced: 'It's past time,' said Elnora Watson, president of the Urban League in Jersey City, N.J., as she walked the halls of Congress recently. 'Way past time,' added Ella Teal, another Urban League president from the neighboring city of Elizabeth. 'Cities will lead America,' Newark Mayor Cory Booker said at an April speech on city government in Washington. 'When it comes to industry, innovation, education and the arts cities are where it's at.'

But celebrations about the potential triumph of urban policy may be premature. In recent weeks, the Obama administration has begun referring to the office as 'urban affairs,' rather than 'urban policy,' a small but notable downgrade. And while other offices and Cabinet agencies have been staffing up-the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships has representation in 12 government agencies-100 days in, urban affairs has announced only two senior staffers: Derek Douglas, who was special adviser to New York Gov. David Paterson, and former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Jr., who faces allegations of mismanaging campaign donations and development projects in New York City."

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Published on Monday, April 27, 2009 in The Root
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