S.F.'s Beleaguered Housing Authority Gets Gutted

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee took drastic measures to initiate a turnaround of the city's troubled Housing Authority on Friday by replacing all but one member of the city's Housing Authority Commission.
February 10, 2013, 1pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Heather Knight, John Coté and John Wildermuth report on the recent effort by Lee to purge the city's struggling and scandal-plagued Housing Authority, which "is being audited by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Agency after receiving 54 points out of a possible 100, placing the agency on the 'troubled' list."

"The Housing Authority Commission has long had a reputation as a rubber-stamp body and backwater of political patronage," note the reporters. Its past members include Jim Jones, leader of the infamous "Kool-Aid" mass murder-suicide, and Julie Lee, who was sentenced to a year in prison for illegally diverting state grant money. The Commission, which was made up mostly of appointees by Mayor Gavin Newsom, "faced criticism for questionable practices and ignoring mismanagement at the agency."

"The new commissioners, who, like their predecessors, serve at the will of the mayor, have experience in public finance, law, purchasing, management and human resources, and will work to come up with recommendations by July 1 to revamp the agency."

"We will take bold steps to revitalize our city's most distressed public housing sites," Lee said in a statement.

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Published on Friday, February 8, 2013 in San Francisco Chronicle
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