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L.A. housing chief hailed by some, assailed by others

November 28, 2010 | 10:21 am

Rudolf Montiel holds one of the biggest government jobs in Los Angeles, running a $1-billion-a-year agency responsible for sheltering more than 60,000 of the city's neediest families.

He is also one of the city's best-paid officials, with a compensation package of about $450,000 a year, including 10 weeks of vacation.

But despite his power and perks, in his six-year tenure Montiel has mostly flown beneath the radar — until a dust-up this month over a move to evict nine public housing tenants who picketed with others outside his Rancho Cucamonga home.

The eviction effort infuriated City Council members, who took to their microphones and rained down nasty sound bites on Montiel — calling him "Big Brother," "childlike" and manipulative — while angry tenants upset over city policies roared their approval.

"Where is Rudy?" Councilman Bill Rosendahl demanded. "Where is he?… I would like Rudy to come before us and answer every question about this."

Montiel, 49, did not appear, later saying he did not feel the council chamber was safe, even though it is guarded by metal detectors and armed police officers. He said he had felt threatened by some of the tenants.

Read the full story here.

-- Jessica Garrison and David Zahniser