News Coverage of City Council confirming Housing Authority Commissioner Nominees

As posted earlier, on Wednesday, June 22, the L.A. City Council moved forward in confirming two of Mayor Villaraigosa’s nominees for the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles. Below you will find a few articles covering the confirmations.

During public comment, members of the LA Human Right to Housing Collective made it clear that residents will continue to push the Mayor until the Housing Authority Commission is reformed – demanding that the two seats currently vacant on the commission be filled by individuals who will actually act in the best interest of HACLA residents. The Mayor can start be interviewing potential nominees recommended by the Housing Collective, as his office already committed to doing.

Additional articles:
City Council Confirms Mayor’s Housing Authority Appointees Despite Protest (City News Service)
Mayor Shakes Up L.A. Housing Authority (EGP News)

City Council approves Housing Authority nominees

Daily News 6/22/11

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles City Council voted today to confirm two of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s nominees to fill open seats on the board of the city’s housing authority, which oversees public housing.

The Los Angeles Housing Authority, mostly funded with federal dollars, has been in disarray since the ouster of its chief, Rudolf Montiel, in March and the May resignation of the board’s president, Beatriz Stotzer, who is under investigation by the district attorney and the federal Housing and Urban Development authorities.

Stotzer is being investigated for possible conflict of interest violations for her work at a company that manages affordable housing.

Montiel was fired after being accused of abusing his travel and per diem pay by staying at expensive hotels and dining at pricey restaurants.

The council unanimously confirmed the appointment of Kimberly Freeman and Dennis Hernandez, who will serve four year terms on the board. Commission members — all of whom are nominated by the mayor — are paid $50 per meeting.

The confirmation of a third nominee, Mitchell Kamin, was put off until the Ethics Commission could finish a conflict of interest investigation, which it does on all new city commissioners.

Several council members quizzed the nominees about how they would pick the Housing Authority’s next chief.

“This is a real opportunity to find the best and brightest in the country, a real thought leader, that can have HACLA be the model for the nation, taking into account all the concerns of the residents,” Hernandez said.

Asked by Councilman Jose Huizar about what the new board members would do to improve the board’s oversight of the Housing Authority, Hernandez said:

“I think we do need to address the issue of ethics. I’ve discussed doing a review of our ethics standards, acting consistent with the law, looking at our Brown Act policies, and maybe even going beyond that.”

Freeman has been the director of community relations for the Southern California Gas Co. for the past 10 years and is an adjunct public policy professor at the USC.

Hernandez is an attorney with the law firm Luna & Glushon.

Steve Diaz of the Los Angeles Community Action Network opposed the confirmations, saying that that a mayoral staffer told him no new Housing Authority commissioners would be appointed until ongoing investigations wrapped up. But just a day later, the mayor announced his nominees on June 9.

Pamela Walls of the same group said she was “disgusted at the lowdown, dirty backdoor politics of the mayor.” She said “the housing collective’s opinions and list of qualified candidates have been totally ignored.”

No one with the mayor’s office was immediately available for a response.

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