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Elizabeth Pagano is the editor of the Austin Monitor.
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PC and ZAP remember Baker
Thursday, February 2, 2017 by Elizabeth Pagano
Before commencing the Jan. 31 special work session of the land use commissions, Planning Commission Chair Stephen Oliver called for a brief recognition of the passing Betty Baker, who had formerly served as chair on both land use commissions. Many of the commissioners testified to Baker’s influence as a role model and her tenacity in matters of city planning. “It was a privilege to be mentored by Betty Baker. I have to say I’ve never had a better mentor in my whole life,” said Commissioner Patricia Seeger at the meeting.
“If there wasn’t something right, she wouldn’t keep it to herself,” said Planning and Zoning Department Director Greg Guernsey. “Her heart was in historic preservation.”
Baker created the Historic Preservation Task Force as a city planner and served on it as a commissioner, often heatedly debating her views against other stakeholders or even other commissioners.
“I remember hearing stories before I got on the Zoning and Platting Commission,” said Commissioner Gabriel Rojas. “’You don’t want to go against what Betty Baker says!’”
“She really helped build who I am as a commissioner,” said Commissioner James Sheih, “and I don’t even know how to thank somebody for all of that. It’s a sad day.”
A moment of silence was held in Baker’s honor following the eulogies.
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