Yucca Valley, Ca.- The local Chamber of Commerce has decided to step into politics with their endorsement of a General Fund tax called Measure U. Stating their mission is “We’re About Business,” they are backing a tax that is not business friendly. link
Chamber President Jennifer Collins, (and self-proclaimed candidate for the Yucca Valley Town Council vacant seat to be filled by a March ballot), stated she received a full mandate to endorse this town tax due to the results of her email survey sent to 350 chamber members asking whether or not they support the town 1% /30 year tax. Even with a lengthy paragraph slanted in favor of the tax before clicking the Yes or No option, there were only 80 responses with 52.8% responding with a Yes answer. Hardly a super majority under the best of circumstances.
The Town of Yucca Valley and the Hi-Desert Water District cannot legally advocate for this General Tax ballot measure. Yucca Valley Town Manager, Mark Nuaimi,will not let that keep him from working behind the scenes issuing emails with talking points and advising the Yucca Valley Chamber Advocacy committee who are affectionately called Nuaimi’s Pom-Pom girls on the Hi-Desert Star’s blog……”Give me a U!”
The Yucca Valley Chamber is located in the Town’s building and receives funding from the Town. According to their budget, they pay no rent and receive $15,000 from the Town for marketing which was reduced by $5,000 this fiscal year. Due to this partnership, it was determined in previous years this organization was an extension of the Town.
Andy Takata, previous Town manager, researched whether or not the Chamber could lobby or advocate for elected officials, candidates or ballot measures. The advice from the attorney was against taking any positions or the Chamber will lose their funding from the Town.
Chamber President Jennifer Collins entrance into the local political arena has not been embraced by other Chamber members and many feel she is using this to launch her own personal political career instead of protecting the business community.
The recent announcement of the closure of the Rib Company restaurant due to the pending sewer assessment is the “canary in the mine shaft” reflecting the real crisis for businesses along the main corridor in Phase One of the sewer project. The owners of the Rib Co were facing a $200,000 sewer assessment with Measure U advocates touting assistance with only the hook up fees. Collins and the Chamber are out of touch promoting by the Town’s General Fund tax claiming it will reduce connection hook-up fees by 35%, which in the case of the Rib Co is not enough help.
Promoting this Town’s General Tax, which is not business friendly, will stunt Collins’ political aspirations especially if she has been taken under Nuaimi’s wing. Let’s hope her infatuation will wear off sooner rather than later and she will dedicate her efforts to doing the right thing to save Yucca Valley. Our crisis is the complete funding of the sewer.
Measure U is a General Fund tax and will be used to purchase paper clips or pay Town Staff salaries. This will not save Yucca Valley because we need a tax to go 100% to pay for the sewers.
Margo Sturges Author Link