Long Beach pol quits over story

P-T photoCity Councilman Dan Baker resigned dramatically in front of TV cameras during Tuesday's council meeting, blaming a press "witch hunt" about his business dealings. Before leaving the room he wrote out a check for $28.99 to cover the costs of personal phone calls from his city phone uncovered by the Press-Telegram. His sudden, showy exit roiled the waters of Long Beach politics, the P-T reports:

Embattled City Councilman Dan Baker abruptly resigned his position at the beginning of Tuesday's council meeting, leaving behind a panel of stunned colleagues and apparently ending a once-promising political career.

"I'm going to step aside and I'm pretty much done," Baker said before walking out of the nearly empty Council Chambers. "The council, I hope, will be able to move on with its business and move on with the very important things of this city. So effective tomorrow, I will be resigning my position on the City Council."

The resignation came five days after the Press-Telegram published a story detailing Baker's real estate partnership with Steve James, the head of the city's police union.

Baker and James formed a limited partnership in August 2005 to buy a $7.5 million apartment complex in Springfield, Mo. Less than two weeks later, Baker voted to approve a union contract giving officers a 21 percent raise over four years.

In resigning, Baker said that he did not feel obligated to divulge the names of his business partners.

Baker's resignation
Shock and sadness


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