Daily, it is becoming more and more apparent that Barack Obama not only embraces the culture of corruption, but he whispers sweet nothings in its ears, fondles it, and gives it fist bumps on a regular basis just so it feels loved. Obama, frequently accused of bringing Chicago politics to the White House, is now importing some Los Angeles County politics too.
Obama has nominated Mercedes Marquez to be Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development, Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Ms. Marquez has an interesting background from her tenure in the Housing Department of Los Angeles. RedState obtained a letter sent by a Housing Department employee to a member of the City Council. The letter alleges a number of improper actions by Ms. Marquez, but we do not even have to consider the allegations in the letter. We can instead just review the Los Angeles Times.
The Los Angeles Housing Department has paid thousands of dollars to a Zen Buddhist priest from Hawaii for management training that includes teaching breathing with sphincter control, learning "how to stand" and playing with wooden sticks.
Who hired the Zen Buddhist priest? Mercedes Marquez. Marquez was willing to pay Norma Wong, a former legislator from Hawaii, $18,819.00 for the sessions.
Another attendee described how executives were asked to encircle Marquez with their backs to her while holding their sticks, saying they were instructed to imagine that they were shielding their boss from opposing forces such as City Council members or other departments.
Perhaps sphincter control is a necessary skill for public employees, but one must wonder if it was worth paying roughly $19,000.00 in tax payer dollars to learn.
The letter RedState obtained contains more information about this incident and others. According to the letter (PDF), "Mercedes hired Norma and after the training was paid for Mercedes became a Priestess. After the next training, Mercedes was elevated to High Priestess. The whole purpose of the Zen training was to elevate Mercedes’ stature in the Buddhist Temple. After a half hour, the building management sent security guards out to the parking lot to stop the spectacle."
But more so than the Zen training, there are some serious concerned raised by a former employee that need addressing.
Marquez is alleged to have purchased a condominium for herself and her partner in a building Marquez’s department financed.
She is alleged to have promoted her partner several times outside Los Angeles’ civil service rules.
Under her administration, Los Angeles allegedly had a net housing loss of affordable housing units of 13,500.
Marquez is alleged to have spent $5 million on the Housing Department’s LIMS computer program, only to throw it out and start over.
She is alleged to have used city funding to cover over mistakes her partner, Mirta, made relating to the Hotel Cecil project in LA. Allegedly, the City Attorney told the Housing Department that Mirta’s action were illegal, but Marquez still used tax dollars to pay legal fees, etc.
Thus far, Republican Senators have gone out of their way to avoid being tough on most of Barack Obama’s nominees. They have run from tough questions, have generally voted in favor of Obama’s nominees, and have dodged activist calls for more aggressive treatment. As the GOP starts harping on Obama wasting taxpayer dollars, it might be worth some Republican Senator asking about Ms. Marquez’s waste of dollars.
Oh, and someone needs to ask if it is true she likes to be called "T-Mex."
Hopefully the Senate Republicans will ask some very pointed questions to Ms. Marquez. We don’t need a female Barney Frank causing more problems for tax payers.