As mayor-elect Bill de Blasio puts together his team, which he has promised will be diverse, a section of the Latino community is expressing its discomfort at what it calls a “disturbing pattern” of “marginal inclusion” of Hispanics in the top-level appointments, reports Gotham Gazette.
Angelo Falcón of the National Institute for Latino Policy seems to be the first among the Latinos to see what he calls “blind spots” in de Blasio’s picks for the top slots in his administration. He sent out a letter over the weekend, clarifying that it was not intended to impose “some sort of Latino quota system,” but to promote diversity.
While de Blasio announced the appointment of Lillian Barrios-Paoli as a deputy mayor for human and health services and Gladys Carrion as commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services — both Hispanics — in recent days, his appointees have so far been, well, predominantly white.
The letter referred to some of de Blasio’s most recent appointments such as Alicia Glen as the new deputy mayor for housing and economic development, Laura Santucci as his chief of staff, Bill Bratton as police commissioner and Dean Fuleihan as budget director.
To be fair, it’s still early in the transition and there are a number of high-profile positions yet to be filled — including schools chancellor.
Be that as it may, Falcon points out that his organization has “documented the underrepresentation of Latinos” in both the mayor-elect’s Transition Team and Inaugural Committee, as well as among members of a recently announced campaign to push for universal pre-kindergarten programs.
Falcon said his group wanted to make sure de Blasio avoided the mistakes of the Bloomberg administration whose cabinet did not reflect the diversity of the city.
“We are monitoring your track record with Latino appointments at this early stage to do what we can to point out to you personally the importance of addressing this problem fully to make up for more than 20 years of the marginalization of our community from this city’s governance,” Falcon wrote in his letter.