National land-use expert Debra Stein died unexpectedly of complications from a neurological disease July 30.

An expert on NIMBY, Stein was president of GCA Strategies, a San Francisco-based public affairs firm that helped developers win political and community support for controversial projects. Affordable housing was one of her dearest causes.

“The person who deserves credit for my career is a woman who spit on me at a public hearing 20 years ago,” Stein told Affordable Housing Finance magazine last year. “As I was wiping saliva off my arm, I said to myself, ‘I am going to figure out why this happened and never let it happen again.’ That’s what ultimately led me to write the first book on NIMBYism in America.”

The family requests donations be made in Stein’s name to a charity of your choice.