Former Santa Barbara Mayor Harriet Miller, a driving force behind the restoration of the Granada Theatre, has died.
An educator and former executive director of AARP, Miller served on the Santa Barbara City Council beginning in 1987 and was mayor from 1995-2002. Media reports put her age at 90 years old.
Feisty but with a knack for common sense judgment, she advocated for Santa Barbara’s skateboard park in the 1990s as a way of reaching out to teens and younger residents. After she retired from elected office, she turned her attention to the restoration of the theater inside Santa Barbara’s tallest building as a major new cultural attraction and training center.
Miller was famous for building broad coalitions within Santa Barbara’s fractious politics. Her term as mayor was aided by the city’s emergence as a hub for niche technology companies and she encouraged the expansion of unique events such as the now-defunct Big Dogs parade, raising the city’s profile as a national and international tourist destination.