Submitted by Story R. Vogel
I had the fortune to know Jim Mills in the years I lived in Coronado. As a historic preservationist and a once longtime resident, I was pleased when Coronado finally adopted a historic preservation ordinance in 2000. Belatedly of course. I know Senator Mills was pleased too. The legislation he authored while in the Senate gives every homeowner of a historic home a practical reason to preserve their property as built. The Mills Act is a great boon to historic preservation.
In 2006 when we attempted with Proposition J to stop the destruction of the historic fabric of the town, where two “Billy Boxes” replaced a single-family home in the R1B zone, Senator Mills was very supportive. But he was a clear-eyed realist too knowing the vested interests that were arrayed against us. When we won, but the City appealed and the results of the election overturned on extremely spurious legal reasoning, I remember Senator Mills shaking his head.
So it’s with no little irony that we lose a great part of California’s late twentieth century legislative history, with Senator Mills’ passing, at the same time that the present day legislators are trying to mandate that towns like Coronado give up local control over zoning and increase the housing density to achieve some unicorn like and unachievable amount of residential housing.
The Golden Age of California government that Senator Mills represented is long gone. In its place are little men and women engaged in social engineering instead of good governance and we are the poorer for it.
Story R. Vogel