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SAN FRANCISCO-Commissioners for San Francisco’s Redevelopment Agency chose a new president yesterday to replace Chantel Walker, who is stepping down after nine months at the helm of the sometimes stormy seven-member commission that oversees a $150 million budget.

Sexton, a former San Francisco Deputy City Attorney now with the Oakland City Attorney’s office, attended her first commissioners’ meeting today. Her background includes planning financing for large projects around the city. She is employed by the Oakland City Attorney’s office.

The agency says Walker, who works as a community development officer for a Marin County foundation, is leaving for personal health reasons, not political ones. During the months Walker presided over board meetings, city supervisors considered taking over the commission whose nominees currently come from the mayor out of concern that neighborhood voices were being ignored. But they later backed off.

Now serving as vice president is Commissioner Kathryn Palamountain, a North Bay attorney. The Redevelopment Agency, created more than 50 years ago by the Board of Supervisors under the state’s Community Redevelopment Law, is a separate legal entity but works closely with city agencies to improve underdeveloped or blighted areas. Those neighborhoods, which are designated by the board, currently include the Yerba Buena Center and Hunters Point as well as parts of the South of Market neighborhood.

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