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Moral victory sought

Eileen JoyceGrass Valley City Council candidate Newell Taylor holds Maxine at his Mill Street home.
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Newell Taylor, probably the least known of the five candidates running for the Grass Valley City Council, is going door to door to introduce himself to residents, distribute fliers, and discuss growth, traffic, jobs and other concerns.

“If (voters) don’t want me, they may want these issues heard or addressed,” said the 35-year-old candidate as he walked the Cypress Hill neighborhood recently, sporting a name tag and meeting people.

“It’s more for the moral victory,” he said.



Taylor, who has never run for office, said he decided to run after he saw traffic increase throughout the city and on Mill Street, where he and his partner, Daniella Peck, have lived for two years.

He is not against new developments, he said. “(But) developments need to be driven by the community’s needs, not by profit.”




A self-described “average citizen,” Taylor wants to keep the city’s streets safe, ensure that new developments do not encroach on open-space areas, and maintain the downtown area’s economic health. He also wants to promote youth employment and diversify the economy.

Residents should have the opportunity early on to be informed of upcoming projects, he said, with afternoon meetings moved to a more convenient time.

Taylor, believed to be the first black person to run for the City Council, said he is comfortable campaigning in Grass Valley.

Some people wonder about his dreadlocks, but grow more easy as he starts talking to them, he said. Even those unlikely to vote for him have been nice, he said.

People are willing to listen to other positions, he said. “It’s an indication of the community we live in.”

Peck was a little surprised when Taylor decided to run, but believes the campaign has been good for him. “He’s learned a lot,” she said.

Taylor’s mother, Willie Ruth Marshall, grew up in Montgomery, Ala., and was a young woman during the struggle for civil rights. She was a support worker who prepared coffee and sandwiches for civil rights marchers.

Taylor said his mother’s experience taught him that anyone can make a difference.

Marshall, who now lives in the Sacramento area, is happy her youngest son is running for office. “We’re very proud of him,” she said. “Newell has so many diverse talents.”

Taylor and Peck moved to Grass Valley in 2000, in part because they wanted to live in a small community where they could afford a house. Taylor commutes to the Sacramento area to work as a plumber.

Born in Germany, he has lived in Europe, Maryland, San Jose and the Sacramento area as part of an Air Force family. “I was very clean cut,” Taylor said.

He entered the U.S. Marines after his 1985 graduation from Cordova High School. Taylor attended college and worked for several companies, selling outdoor recreation equipment in Sacramento and Berkeley. One of his jobs involved traveling nationwide to install rock-climbing walls.

A few credits shy of an undergraduate degree, Taylor would like to become certified in information technology.

No matter what happens Nov. 5, he said, he intends to stay active in city politics.


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