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LB RDA chairman helped save city’s redevelopment funds

May 20th, 2011 · No Comments · Obituary

<strong>Bill Baker</strong>

Bill Baker

Last weekend, the city of Long Beach lost one of its leaders who, in recent months, worked diligently to protect the city’s redevelopment funds. Bill Baker, chairman of the Long Beach Redevelopment Agency (RDA), died Sunday night from respiratory problems. He was 85.
Baker had served on the city’s redevelopment board since 1999, acting as its chair in the last three years. Earlier this year, after Gov. Jerry Brown had proposed eliminating RDAs throughout the state to help close a multimillion-dollar budget gap, Baker and other RDA members voted to protect $1 billion-plus of redevelopment dollars by dedicating ten years’ worth of funds to local programs.
“I’m deeply saddened to hear about the loss of Bill Baker,” said Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster. “Bill had great love for Long Beach and its residents. He will be remembered for his hard work and the many years he dedicated to Long Beach to make this a better city. My thoughts and prayers are with Bill’s family and friends at this sad time.”
In an emailed statement Monday, former Vice Mayor and 9th District Councilmember Val Lerch expressed his condolences for Baker’s passing. “It is with great sadness that I must send this email,” he said. “Bill Baker, a lifelong resident of North Long Beach and Chair of the Redevelopment Board, passed away last night. Bill’s family was at his side. Bill was truly a great friend of Long Beach. And a champion for North Long Beach. He will be missed.”
A “Gathering of Friends” to honor Baker is scheduled for Saturday, June 18, at 2pm at the home of his son in Villa Park. For directions, call (714) 558-4832 or email wbaker@lawbaker.com.

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