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Carol Baker Tharp, 55, Manager of Neighborhood Council System Dies of Cancer

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“Carol Baker Tharp loved the City of Los Angeles and spent the past year working to strengthen its neighborhoods as the General Manager of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said today in a statement announcing the passing of Carol Baker Tharp. "Though we mourn her passing today, we take comfort in the fact that her work and ideas will continue to yield positive benefits for the people of Los Angeles.”

Tharp was hired only last February, but had to go on medical leave due to cancer. Before Tharp, Neighborhood Councils were lost on leadership and there was much unrest within the system. When she was hired, there was much to rejoice about -- she had focus, vision and she could bring peace.

Before her call to Los Angeles civic service, Tharp was the Deputy Director of the Civic Engagement Initiative at the USC's School of Policy, Planning, and Development. And before that, she was the Executive Director of Coro Southern California and Community Relations Director for the City of Eugene, Oregon.

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BongHwan Kim, who was hired along with Tharp as the Assistant General Manager, has been running the department since September and will most likely continue the roll as such.

Photo by Rosalynn Silva/USC