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James Mills, who led California Senate in 1970s, dies at 93

Mills also authored legislation that created San Diego's trolley system

SAN DIEGO — James R. Mills, a former Democratic legislator who led California’s Senate during most of the 1970s and was credited with saving thousands of historic landmarks, has died. 

Mill's family members said he died on March 27 after battling kidney cancer, his family members told the San Diego Union-Tribune. Mills represented San Diego in the state Assembly and Senate from 1960 to 1982. He created a law to save historic buildings from being torn down by lowering property taxes for owners who preserve them. 

He also authored legislation that created San Diego's trolley system, earing him the nickname the "father of the San Diego trolley system," and helped turned the Legislature into a full-time operation.

He was 93.

Credit: AP
FILE - In this in May 2, 2007, file photo, former California Sen. James Mills, father of the San Diego trolley system, stands between rails of the Blue Line, which runs from Old Town to San Ysidro, Calif. Mills died on March 27, 2021, at age 93, after battling kidney cancer, his family members told the San Diego Union-Tribune. (Laura Embry/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP, File)

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