Sunday, March 20, 2011

About the previous HUD takeover in Philly

Michael Smerconish, now a right-wing radio host, has a column in today's Philadelphia Inquirer about his service, during the first Bush Administration, as the representative of Jack Kemp's HUD who was assigned to run the Philadelphia Housing Authority during its previous takeover.

He offers some reasons, and the mildest glance between the lines suggests others, why his term there didn't straighten out inefficiency or corruption or entrenched conflict. Among much else, "The PHA was a complex political animal that could not be quickly tamed by federal oversight." That, and he didn't endear himself by moving into the projects for a week "wearing a Ralph Lauren oxford cloth shirt." And he still seems a little confused by the discovery that people other than himself perceive racism differently than he does.

Considering the source and allowing for considerable wind, his account is a cautionary tale about how big institutions refuse to turn for a new figure at the top.

No comments:

Post a Comment