Senator

By Alan Graham

Every day without fail, the “Senator” goes for a long walk, “a good stretch of the legs.”  He is quiet and unassuming, that is, until you begin a conversation with him.  He is writing a new novel called “Memoirs of Pontius Pilate”–  an intriguing title to someone like myself who studies the life and times of all biblical characters.

As a Catholic, I was educated by my mentors and teachers, the Jesuit priests, who described Pontius Pilate, the Prefect of the Roman province of Judea, as a weak man who was fearful of his Roman superiors and of the angry population.  Pilate did not want to condemn Jesus to death.  He did so reluctantly and to mitigate his underhandedness he stood in view for all to see and hear and pronounced the now-holy phrase, “Lavabo,” and washed his hands of all responsibility.

However, when I interviewed the Senator for an article to be placed in the Clarion, he had a different take altogether describing Pilate as the ultimate politician, shrewd, and not at all acquiescent.  He went on to say that his book tells of a very different “Son of God’ than the one I was taught about.  “You will learn more about Jesus Christ than you have ever known before,” he said with much authority.  So, it is with much anticipation that I await the release of “Memoirs of Pontius Pilate” by Jim Mills.

He has been called the “father” of the Port of San Diego and that’s a title that former Senator Jim Mills is proud of.  Mills is the last surviving member of the bi-partisan political team who helped found the Port District.

The Port of San Diego is a public agency, created by the state legislature in 1963 to manage San Diego harbor and the surrounding tidelands.  The agency has operated without tax dollars since 1970 and has been responsible for $1.5 billion in public improvements in its five member cities – Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach, National City, and San Diego.

He is also vigorously cause-oriented and the Mills Act is named for the Senator who sponsored the legislation over 20 years ago.  Before he became a well-respected politician, he was a noted historian, author, and preservationist.

In California, the Mills Act is legislation that lets owners of historically designated buildings reduce their property taxes in exchange for restoring and maintaining those buildings.  Each city must adopt the Mills Act.  Owners sign a ten-year, endlessly renewable legal contract with their city (or in some places, their county) stating what the responsibilities are.

The Senator goes mostly unnoticed by other pedestrians as he strolls along.  I have never seen him engage in a conversation publicly.  I saw him as a pensive man, not one prone to chit chat or waste words.  He passed by a few days ago as my wife and I were talking to a lady from Mexico.  I stopped him to let him know that I had made a cd of our interview and I went to get a copy.  When I returned, he was fully engaged in a conversation with the woman and was speaking fluent Spanish to boot.  The ultimate paradox was on display as the quiet man was now quite vocal.

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2 Responses to Senator

  1. Elaine Wilkerson says:

    I am leaving a comment here as I cannot find a direct site to leave a message for Jim Mills. I would like to say that Jim Mills is one of the most honest and hard working politician’s we have had. I don’t know if Jim Mills will remember me but when I was about 5 or 6 years old I helped work in his campaign office along with my Mother (Clara Marugg) when he was just starting out in San Diego. If you can pass this message along to Jim Mills I would appreciate it. My Mom will be turning 95 years old on October 25. She now suffers from dementia but still remembers the days of helping Jim Mills with his campaign in San Diego. If by chance this message does get to Jim tell him that my Mom says hello. Thanks.

  2. Nancy Michaels says:

    @ Elaine – I see Senator Mills each week and have printed out your comment. He visits me at my store as he is walking past from having lunch. He walks nearly 12 blocks and is still as sharp as can be. I’m always treated to poetry reading by one of his favorite poets, A.E. Housman. Senator Mills is an amazing man and I’m honored to know him.

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