The Associated Press today reports Barack Obama's naming of Valerie Jarrett as his White House senior adviser. The report notes:
Jarrett, who hired Michelle Obama for a job in the Chicago mayor's office years ago, is one of the president-elect's closest friends and advisers. Her name has been floated for several top administration jobs. But Obama settled on the senior adviser role, said a person close to the president-elect and willing to speak only on background because the decision has not been officially announced.
A White House senior adviser can handle a range of duties. President George W. Bush's top political aide Karl Rove held the title in the current administration.
Jarrett has a background in real estate and politics in Chicago.
The AP could easily have embellished on that background in real estate, which has been common knowledge for some time. In June, the Boston Globe described one of Jarrett's adventures in real estate:
CHICAGO - The squat brick buildings of Grove Parc Plaza, in a dense neighborhood that Barack Obama represented for eight years as a state senator, hold 504 apartments subsidized by the federal government for people who can't afford to live anywhere else.
But it's not safe to live here.
About 99 of the units are vacant, many rendered uninhabitable by unfixed problems, such as collapsed roofs and fire damage. Mice scamper through the halls. Battered mailboxes hang open. Sewage backs up into kitchen sinks. In 2006, federal inspectors graded the condition of the complex an 11 on a 100-point scale - a score so bad the buildings now face demolition.
Paragraphs later, the Globe discloses the name of the chief executive of the management company that permitted housing conditions to deteriorate:
Among those tied to Obama politically, personally, or professionally are:
Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Obama's presidential campaign and a member of his finance committee. Jarrett is the chief executive of Habitat Co., which managed Grove Parc Plaza from 2001 until this winter and co-managed an even larger subsidized complex in Chicago that was seized by the federal government in 2006, after city inspectors found widespread problems.
It'll be interesting to see if the Associated Press and other mainstream media outlets more fully cover Jarrett's participation in the management of Chicago slums. Certainly if Karl Rove, White House senior adviser in the Bush administration, had such a record it would not have gone unmentioned.
Perhaps President-elect Obama will be asked directly by the press about Jarrett's mismanagement of public housing. Or would that put a damper on all that hope and change the mainstream media have been selling us?