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Villaraigosa picks ex-Obama official as deputy mayor for housing

Mercedes Marquez
A former general manager of the Los Angeles Housing Department who left the city to work in the Obama administration will return to serve as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s deputy mayor for housing.

In her new role, announced Wednesday, Mercedes Marquez will oversee operations at the Housing Authority and the Homeless Services Authority and share oversight at the Community Development Department. She will also serve as interim general manager of the Housing Department.

The Housing Department has been without a general manager since Douglas Guthrie left in March to head the embattled Housing Authority, which has been beset by charges of lavish spending.

In a statement, Villaraigosa said Marquez had the experience to help the city move forward on housing despite shrinking state and federal funding.

“Mercedes will provide a steady and experienced hand as we contend with the loss of the [Community Redevelopment Agency], address homelessness, and move forward with neighborhood stabilization even as Congress continues to make dramatic cuts to funding that’s vital to cities,” Villaraigosa said in a statement.

Most recently, Marquez served in the Obama administration as the assistant secretary for Community Planning and Development at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. She left that post in March.

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-- Kate Linthicum at Los Angeles City Hall

Photo: Mercedes Marquez, then an assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development, joins Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as he peers into renovated house in 2011. Marquez was appointed Wednesday to be Villaraigosa’s deputy mayor for housing. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

 
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