A longtime bureaucratic backwater, home to more cronyism and corruption than a Bernard Madoff hedge fund or Rod Blagojevich appointment process, provides one of the best yardsticks to measure Barack Obamas commitment to effective government.
HUD -- the Department of Housing and Urban Development -- was subject to a rare combination of incompetence, chutzpah and malfeasance during the Bush presidency. That, it seems, is about to change. On Dec. 13, Obama named Shaun Donovan, commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development under Republican-turned-Independent Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to head the department. The baby-faced 41-year-old Harvard-educated architect is hailed by leaders in every segment of the housing industry; realtors, developers, low-income housing advocates, lenders and those who administer the nations public housing authorities all praise the choice.