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Vetting Miami Mayor Manny Diaz

From NBC's Chuck Todd
Earlier today, we mentioned how some are concerned that Hispanics might be shut out of high-profile cabinet positions. Well, First Read has learned that Miami Mayor Manny Diaz is in the vetting process for two potential posts: HUD and Transportation -- with HUD apparently the job offer he's most likely to get. If Diaz is tapped, he'd be the first major Hispanic pol to get a nod for a cabinet post.

Still, quite a few key Hispanic supporters of Obama have been concerned by the lack of Hispanics being considered for some of the higher-profile posts. 

Interestingly, George W. Bush's first HUD secretary -- Mel Martinez -- also was a Florida Cuban pol who headed a major metro area. Martinez is now senator of Florida.

*** UPDATE *** A potential problem for Diaz at HUD? NBC's AJ Goodwin flags to our attention a Miami Herald investigation about Miami's public housing mess. According to the paper, the city and county tore down much of the public housing with promises to replace it with better options. But much of the new housing was never built, and what was built was not filled in a timely manner.

In the end, HUD ended up taking over the county-run Miami-Dade Housing Agency in April 2007, saying it "demonstrated a pattern of financial irresponsibility and mismanagement." And last summer, Habitat for Humanity came to Miami to build affordable housing on the land the local government had failed to re-develop.

Per the Herald, "Diaz acknowledged problems in the housing program but said he inherited them and has worked to put safeguards in place, such as creating penalties for affordable-housing developers who sell city-subsidized land for profit. 'Everybody makes mistakes,' he said. 'But if you look at that record and if you contrast it to where the city was before I got here ... I think that's a good news story.'"

[CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified the Miami-Dade Housing Agency as the Miami Housing Authority.]