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Dan Miller: Balanced growth, more jobs

For a man who likes to have his feet firmly planted at home, Grass Valley City Council candidate Dan Miller has experienced his gypsy years.

The Bay Area native finished high school in Grass Valley, went to college in San Francisco and got drafted. Miller trained as a medic and a paratrooper, but finished the Vietnam War in Germany.

After his tour of duty with the U.S. Army, Miller hit the road with Holiday on Ice, becoming stage manager for the Ice Follies’ “Sister Act.” A call to ministry sent him to a small Santa Cruz Bible college, then to missions in American Samoa and Mexico.



But Miller discovered he didn’t feel right there either, and yearned for home. So he returned, worked in the family business ” family members had bought Hedman Furniture in Grass Valley ” and earned a degree in journalism at Sacramento State University.

He ran Hedman in Grass Valley, then he and his wife, Roxanne, opened Future Generations, a baby furniture and clothing store on Mill Street downtown. Eventually, he moved on to become a funeral director for Hooper & Weaver Mortuary and, more recently, went into the insurance business.




“I look at each (phase) as a part of my life to gain experience and to gain knowledge,” said Miller, now 59. Those “are the keys to help people understand things and make decisions.”

Key decisions ahead

The decisions facing the next City Council will affect Grass Valley profoundly, especially decisions surrounding four large developments proposed in areas slated for annexation.

“I’m not a runaway growth person,” Miller said. “I’m a pro-business person. I know there’s a bottom line that has to be met. To attract policemen, firefighters, teachers to the schools, we have to have a certain amount of growth.”

He favors developments with narrower streets to keep traffic safely slow and create an intimate neighborhood feeling. “Our communities should not look like Roseville,” Miller said.

He also favors building smaller housing that would allow lower-income earners to get into the market, then move up, even in the same neighborhood.

“There are some great housing models out there,” Miller said.

The proposed re-opening of the Idaho-Maryland gold mine is an example of that, Miller said. He supports the project because it would create jobs and turn old mine tailings into ceramic tile that already has some market demand.

“We need to create jobs and attract business,” Miller said. “A balanced local economy is essential for services.”

But if elected to the council, Miller would not be able to vote on anything involving the mine project. Through his job at Acordia Insurance Services, Miller provides insurance to the Idaho-Maryland Mine Corp.

Miller also would like to explore offering tax incentives to get new developments to incorporate solar technology.

In gathering information and making decisions, Miller vowed to take a “common-sense approach” and “not listen to one voice, but to everybody.”

Funding for police

Such growth would help fund training and equipment for police to better fight pervasive illegal drug use, Miller said.

“You’d be amazed at the weapons law enforcement comes up against,” Miller said. “This will take money.”

He said he believes in listening respectfully, but also being solution-oriented.

“I think there are solutions. It just takes strong leadership at the city level to find those solutions,” Miller said. “I have a problem with people who don’t want to come to a solution, but complain and attack.”

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To contact Staff Writer Trina Kleist, e-mail trinak@theunion.com or call 477-4231.


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