Our Bibi; first Latina Deputy Mayor
of the New Administration
Ms. Otero is the founder of Centro Nia, a pre-school, early education Center and a former candidate for the Board of Education when the BOE meant something. She is (or was) Board Chair of the Columbia Heights Shaw Family Support Collaborative and is married to Fernando Lemos the flamboyant Director of ‘Mi Casa’, a non-profit affordable housing firm that does business with the city.
It is rumored that one of the reasons Bibi was appointed is the Mayor’s emphasis on the importance of early education and his wish to make sure that priority is emphasized in the coming years. Bibi was a support of Marie Johns in 2006 and has very close ties to Verizon and the high tech zillionaires who support her center. As with many established Latino figures in the community she spent the Fenty years imitating Moses in the desert. This appointment also signals the ‘down home’ nature of Gray’s new hires identifying and mobilizing local talent instead of importing names as was the case in the prior admin..
This move also dampens criticism arising out of the Latino community that, although early appointments were encouraging, the Latino community felt left out of Vince’s inner circle and he was more focused on appointing residents from the eastern half of the city. This seems to have alleviated some of those concerns. Nevertheless, Miss Bibi will have to manage a situation where the budget is shrinking and the first to go, we suspect, will be services to the Latino community. Her appointment is a gamble and risky in that Ms. Otero is not as steeped in health issues as she is in education and non-profit management.
The community is behind her and we all wish her well.