AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat Kings“Her success … came from the fact that she was being given the opportunity to do something that she really believed. A lot of people don’t get that opportunity and she felt that she was really blessed.” Prior to coming to the city, Tharp spent much of her career studying, training and mentoring neighborhood groups. She was the executive director of the civic leadership training organization Coro Southern California, and was the deputy director of the Civic Engagement Initiative at the University of Southern California. Jill Banks Barad, with the Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils, was on the panel that helped choose the DONE general manager, and she recalled how Tharp wowed members with her passion. “She leaned forward and said `I really want this job.’ It came from the souls of her feet. She said `I’ve been waiting for this job my whole life,”‘ Barad said. After she was appointed, Tharp spoke to the Valley Alliance and again impressed members with her resolve to improve the Neighborhood Council system. “She was so candid. She just sat there for hours listening to everybody, taking notes. She was really engaged and she was really hearing.” DONE Assistant General Manager BongHwan Kim said Tharp quickly brought stability and confidence to the Council system. And she advocated for an increased role and respect for councils within city government. She told people that “city government needed to embrace neighborhood councils for them to work,” Kim said. “She had a way of presenting that didn’t turn anybody off. It was said in a way that people could hear and it was assertively said. That was her unique ability. She had a finely-honed political sense.” Tharp was in remission from cancer when she became DONE general manager, but the disease returned and she began treatment during the summer. She took medical leave in September, her husband said. In a statement, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa praised Tharp for her work. “Her integrity, intelligence, compassion and humor will be missed. 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,” he said. A memorial service is being planned. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the non-profit civic leadership organization Coro Southern California at the Coro Legacy Endowment, 1000 N. Alameda, Suite 240, Los Angeles, CA 90012, or online via www.coroLA.org. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Less than a year into her dream job of aiding Neighborhood Councils, Department of Neighborhood Empowerment General Manager Carol Baker Tharp died Sunday after a battle with cancer. Tharp, 55, was an outspoken advocate for Neighborhood Councils and her appointment as DONE general manager was widely hailed as a new chapter for the city’s struggling system of grassroots democracy. When she was selected for the general manager post in February, Tharp said it was the job she felt she had been preparing for her whole career and she couldn’t “think of anything I’d rather be doing.” “Carol was very strong and very smart, and I think she drew strength and ability from the fact that she believed this was the right thing to be doing,” said Michael Tharp, her husband of 25 years.