Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Philly housing drama, with cheesecake

The Philadelphia Inquirer has a sensitive account of what must have been one of the more dramatic conversations in public housing politics. It's a kind of conversation that happens mostly way, way, behind the scenes.

At a restaurant noted for its cheesecake, HUD official Ron Sims sat down alone with John Street, head of Philadelphia's housing authority. That is, the former head of one of the best and most transparent U.S. housing authorities made the kindest approach he could to the head of a housing authority in bad trouble, and told him the gig was up.
There, over lunch, the two men talked about their careers and families.

Sims, 62, told Street about his years as a city councilman in King County, which includes Seattle, followed by more than a decade as its top executive.

Street, 67, shared with the HUD official his own similar career, starting in City Council and ending up in the Mayor's Office.

Then Sims came to the hard part. Saying that he had "a favor to ask," Sims said HUD wanted the PHA board to resign.

In comments, several people want to know, "How was the cheesecake?"

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