These appointments are DONE

The mayor today also nominated his new top people to run the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment. Carol Baker Tharp, the former executive director of Coro Southern California, gets the general manager nod. Bonghwan Kim, head of Pasadena Neighborhood Housing Services, becomes the assistant. Official bios from the mayor's office after the jump.


Mayor Villaraigosa announces the new General Manager and Assistant General Manager for the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment

Carol Baker Tharp has devoted her career to civic engagement and scholarship of the neighborhood council movement in Los Angeles

(Los Angeles)*After a nationwide search, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today announced his appointment of Carol Baker Tharp as the new General Manager and BongHwan Kim as the new Assistant General Manager of the City of Los Angeles’ Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE).

“Throughout her professional career and years of community involvement, Carol Baker Tharp has remained committed to the belief that civic engagement is a vital element of democratic governance,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “She is a proven leader, scholar, and community servant. Carol’s experience and expertise make her the most qualified person for this position. She will work to empower our neighborhood councils to serve residents across Los Angeles while providing necessary structure and oversight to the department.”

“Mr. Kim’s leadership skills have been finely honed through many years of working in diverse communities on a wide range of political and community development issues,” Mayor Villaraigosa said.

DONE’s mission is to promote public participation in government and make government more responsive to local needs by creating, nurturing, and supporting a citywide system of grass-roots, independent, and participatory neighborhood councils.

Ms. Baker Tharp will begin work in her new position on March 12, 2007 and appear before the Los Angeles City Council for confirmation. Mr. Kim will begin his service as Assistant General Manager following the confirmation of Ms. Baker Tharp. Mr. Kim will not need to appear before the City Council.

Biographies of Ms. Baker Tharp and Mr. Kim follow.


Ms. Baker Tharp has spent 20 years working in Southern California communities.

Currently, she is the Deputy Director of the Civic Engagement Initiative at the University of Southern California School of Policy, Planning, and Development where she has helped create an academic center devoted to the study and research of neighborhood participation.

She also teaches a course on citizenship and public ethics to USC undergraduates and leads seminars on developing civic engagement in the university’s leadership programs.

Previously, she served as Executive Director of Coro Southern California, one of the oldest and most prestigious leadership education organizations in the United States, managing and directing Coro’s public affairs fellowships that provide hands-on preparation for community service and civic leadership.

She was Community Relations Director for the City of Eugene, Oregon for four years, working with the City’s neighborhood councils to increase civic voluntarism.

Ms. Baker Tharpe received a Ph.D. in Political Science and Religion from Claremont Graduate University where she wrote her dissertation on Los Angeles’ neighborhood councils. She received her bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Ms. Baker Tharp’s permanent appointment is subject to Council confirmation.


Mr. Kim’s leadership skills have been finely honed through many years of working in diverse communities on a wide range of political and community development issues.

Currently, he is Executive Director of Pasadena Neighborhood Housing Services where he is responsible for managing and directing program development for this organization devoted to providing affordable housing to low and moderate income families throughout the San Gabriel Valley.

He was a founding board member and Executive Director for the MultiCultural Collaborative which was founded in the aftermath of the Los Angeles riots to address race and human relations needs throughout the City.

As Executive Director of the Korean Youth and Community Center, he worked to promote civic participation among multicultural youth.

He currently serves on the Neighborhood Council Review Commission.

Mr. Kim holds a master’s degree

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