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The Voters Have Spoken – No on Measure U

By   /   November 7, 2012  /   19 Comments

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Yucca Valley, Ca.- The voters of Yucca Valley have made their voices heard at the ballot box. The final totals are still pending as the San Bernardino Registrar of Voters count the provisional ballots and any absentee ballots that were dropped off at the polls on election day.

Final Election Night Unofficial Results: Measure U

YES   2,801  votes         48.19%

 NO      3,011 votes          51.81%


The next update will be on November 8, 2012 at 5:00 p.m. While others declare Measure U has been defeated with the above information, I will sit tight until the official word comes down from the ROV.  Here is their website for information on other candidates, propositions and ballot measures:>>>link

The Morongo Basin Property Association would like to thank all the citizens of our community and surrounding neighbors for their support to defeat this 1% General Fund 30 year tax.  With a little over $900.00 spent to oppose Measure U, compared to the $34,0000.00 raised by the Political Action Committee/YV Chamber of Commerce, this vote has defined the character of the voters of Yucca Valley in their spirit and determination to stand up to large campaign donations to promote this bad tax.

A statement will be issued by the Vote No on Measure Committee when the results have been declared official by the Registrar of Voters.

In the meantime, I want to personally say “Thank You” and give thanks to the Big Guy upstairs who has been in control all along.


Margo Sturges,

Committee Member



Vote No Measure U Website- Truth Prevails! Measure U Defeated>>>link

Margo Sturges Author >>>link



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About the author

Margo Sturges

Yucca Valley Editor

Note: Margo Sturges has written many articles for Cactus Thorns and is the founder of Citizens4Change.info. Email contact: MargoSturgesYV(at)aol.com "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."- George Orwell


  1. Mike Hawkins Mike Hawkins says:

    good work!!!! THANKS

  2. Claude Short Claude Short says:

    Now it’s time to get to work and bring the alternatives to the people. Many hands make light work. And, as the Bible says: “In multiple counselors is much wisdom”

  3. Commissioner Gordon Commissioner Gordon says:

    It’s too bad that the scare tactics of the ones that want Yucca Valley to revert to the stone age persuaded so many people.
    So when are you guys following through with your promise of a new Measure that will all go to the water district? I cant wait to see it and hopefully I can support it.

  4. @ Gordon, the Republicans at town hall forgot Ronald Reagan’s sacred advise: “TRUST BUT VERIFY.” Mark Nuaimi is [NO] Ronald Reagan, he’s more of a Spiro Agnew or a Dan Quayle. Here’s why:

    California State Proposition 30 — just passed by the voters — was a tax for only a few years as California faced budget shortages in the billions.

    To encourage transparency, an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, who became one of the most famous and influential figures ever to serve on the high court, wrote “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

    The scare tactic the people of Yucca Valley couldn’t digest was a ’30 year tax’, which under the California Constitution and state law could not set aside any money for sewer projects — or any project whatsoever.

    Why would voters vote for a protracted 30 year tax when it was illegal to put in writing what it would be used for? Where was the transparency?

    The town manager and his flock got stupid and greedy and lost touch with reality. They sold a lemon based up a non-binding verbal promises, which was not included in the four corners of the Measure. A clear example of the blind leading the blind in local government circles.

    It was a lousy scheme from the start that was destine to fail.

    That is just what the proponents for NO On Measure U did… they brought sunlight to the town of Yucca Valley.

  5. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Margo, What is the alternative being proposed by your group?

  6. Hello Larry. The details of the Citizens’ Initiative are being fine tuned with the Hi-District Water Board as we speak.

    1/2 cent tax
    Designated to build sewer,lower assessment levies, help with connection costs
    A designated tax is accepted by State Water Board as guarantee for loan.
    These tax funds of $80 million to offset sewer costs of $125 million/Phase I
    Will comply with mandate to end discharge into drinking water
    All citizens will receive benefit with clean drinking water into the future
    Future Yucca Valley Town Council/Town Manager(s)have no access to these funds

    Thanks for asking.

    There is a possibility the costs will be lower for Phase One. President Sarann Graham recently mentioned $90 million dollars.

    Atkins engineers are currently working on the collection system costs. (BTW they were tabbed by “someone” to donate to the Political Action Committee-Yes on You.)

  7. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    Is that a one half cent tax increase or a one half percent tax increase?

  8. Thank you Sir, 1/2 per cent (%) sales/use tax increase.

  9. Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:


    When is it planned for the “Citizen’s Initative” go for a vote?

    Is the 1/2% sales/use tax only for Phase I?

    How long will the lock be on this initiative?

  10. Hi Steve,

    What seems like only three simple questions you asked, is not the case.

    I do not have the task of the Citizen’s Initiative,CI, but I am updated with the information. I am happy to share what I know so far…..

    Some background, the Town of Yucca Valley can call for a Special Election and are the taxing authority to place an initiative/measure directly on the ballot, whereas, the Hi-Desert Water District is not authorized. There is a requirement of 88 days prior to the election to take action.

    The YV Town Council called for a Special Election to fill the vacated council seat. This councilman resigned back in September on a date too late to be placed on the November ballot. We have yet to hear what the costs are to the citizens for his action to cause a Special Election.

    The HDWD is the sewer authority by agreement with the Town of Yucca Valley by a Memorandum of Agreement,(or Understanding, I forget)to be the lead. When the two agencies signed the MOA(or MOU)there was a loan of $350,000 from the Town to the HDWD, of which was recently paid back with $17,000 interest. Yep, the Town earned interest loaning money to HDWD which was paid out of the pockets of the water rate payers,to include the Yucca Mesa who are not in any sewer phase and are not situated within the town limits.

    Back to the ballot and Citizen’s Initiative (CI).

    The State Revolving Fund to finance the sewer project recently offered a 1.1% interest rate for 25 years with forgiveness of $6 million. The original request was for a 30 year loan and no interest. The SRF has not said no to the 30 year proposal. They will NOT accept a General Fund tax as a loan guarantee or to lower the individual assessment levies.

    In the meantime, the HDWD has awarded a large contract to Atkins Engineering to map the collection sewer lines which is the last unknown piece of the sewer project to determine costs. Additionally, the HDWD has been changing the boundaries of Phase One (expanding North and South)to increase flow capacity and presumably tab more residences into the Phase One assessment district. During this changing of boundaries, they pushed the “Delete” button on a large section of custom homes in the Sky Harbor area. See story: http://www.vote29.com/newmyblog/archives/39867

    Just recently, the President of HDWD stated the actual costs for Phase One MAY come in at $90 million, instead of $125 million which was their worst case scenario. Without the actual construction cost, the HDWD cannot take this to the owners of the parcels (not registered voters) for a vote to assess themselves for the sewer construction costs. This assessment is necessary to guarantee the SRF loan. Those parcels in Phase two and Phase three will also be voting on the assessment but do not have a full vote.

    What is a full vote? Based on a single family residence, the amount of water usage is calculated as one EDU, Equivalent Dwelling Unit,and each SFR residence in Phase One has one vote. The Mobile homes in Yucca Valley each have 3/4 vote and most owners will not have the opportunity to vote because the entire park is on one parcel APN#. The legal owner of record, will be voting with a weight of 3/4 voter per mobile home. Cannot confirm, but one owner may have the equivalent of 54 votes based on the total mobile home EDUs.

    The big voting blocks for/against sewer assessments are the hotels and motels with huge water usage followed by nursing homes and restaurants. Mark Nuaimi, Town Manager, has been wooing these large voting blocks with a proposed increase TOT, bed tax, to help the hotels and motels with their connection fees. The increase in the TOT was estimated to bring in $150,000 per year.

    There is nothing on the table for our restaurants or the Morongo Unified School District where all schools are in Phase One except Onaga Elementary. The owner of the Rib Co., Ron Hill, told me his sewer assessment was estimated to be $200,000.00 which did not include connection of the laterals to the main sewer line. At present, the hook-up charges are the responsibility of each private property owner and cannot be covered by the SRF loan. Ron had just expanded his restaurant to make use of the second kitchen on the premise which greatly increased his water usage, EDUs to determine his assessment. The Rib Co closed last month due to the economy and uncertain looming sewer. Also, he was not able to find a new buyer due to the unknown sewer assessments and depressed market values.

    The Town Manager seized on this sewer crisis to piggy-back on the State mandate to stop septic discharge in order to promote Measure U, a 1% General Fund tax for 30 years estimated to bring in approximately $160 million dollars. For good measure, Nuaimi also cited a need to fix the roads and other needs, and wants, for the Town. The biggest “Failure to Deliver” was the written agreement to fund monies to the HDWD, which cannot be legally obligated because it is a General Fund tax. Promising a MOU or MOA, Nauimi offered a “Lease” on the not-yet-built-sewer plant, with “several back doors for the Town”-his words, which did not materialize.

    Measure U taxes were going into the Town’s General Fund coffers without any ability to ear mark or designate funds for the sewers. They offered to pay “a substantial amount of money,” not yet determined, as a lease payment on a not-yet-built sewer plant starting at approximately 5 years from the date of the tax passage to coincide with the not-yet-determined-loan from the SRF. As the timeline for the loan has been another unknown, the Town could have collected the tax for 7 or 8 years before handing any funds for the “lease payment.” All along, nothing was guaranteed for the sewer construction but empty promises. The one thing both sides of the Measure U issue agreed on is the current town manager would not be around for 5 years, given the history of past managers.

    There is a CI that has been amended and revised as the information has been unfolding keeping watch on the dates for signatures required in the event the Town Council members are not open to placing this 1/2% designated sewer tax on the ballot.

    The first step was to defeat Measure U. This would keep the doors open for a designated sewer tax which would be accepted by the SRF, guaranteed loan funding to lower the assessment district levies. This would also require a 2/3rds vote to pass.

    The results of the November votes are being analyzed to determine the odds of passing ANY tax measure. The ballots have not been counted at this writing for the Write-in Candidate Bob Leone advocating for No on Measure U.
    (The 2,000 voting block of Yucca Mesa cannot vote on town issues.)

    The last count of the Measure U votes is 3,141 NO and 2,909 YES.

    That means there are 2,909 voters really unhappy at this moment. The question remains how many NO votes are against ANY taxes? How many YES votes will be trying to gun down the CI?

    I hope this missive was informative. I know that you are detail oriented guy and now a resident of Yucca Valley. I value our friendship.

    The brief answers to your three questions are:

    1. When will CI go for a vote? Shooting for March…..May or June is good too.

    2. Sales/Use tax for Phase One only? Yes

    3. How long a “lock” on initiative? 25 or 30 years.

    For more wastewater information. Visit http://www.HDWD.com

    Thanks for asking…..

  11. Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

    I appreciate the detailed response.

    If it’s going to be a 25 or 30 year lock, all Property Owners within the Yucca Valley town limits should benefit from the 1/2% local sales tax,not just those in Phase One.

    Otherwise the Citizens Initiative may meet the same demise Measure U did and then where will that leave us?

  12. @ Steve W. You write “…all Property Owners within the Yucca Valley town limits should benefit from the 1/2% local sales tax,not just those in Phase One.”

    That was the beauty about the deception of Measure U, the lies included clean water, 911 protection, repair streets, a chicken in every pot,funds(maybe in 5 years-not guaranteed)for sewer connections…and a free back scratcher if you ACT now! There was something for everyone based on the “outreach” meetings conducted almost 2 years ago in order to find the citizen’s “buttons” to pass this General Fund tax only needing 50% + one vote.

    Tab Communications Story >>>Link:http://www.vote29.com/newmyblog/archives/41744
    See also: Tab Communications Game Plan PDF>>>link:http://www.vote29.com/newmyblog/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/TabCommunications_Proposal2.pdf

    Back to your statement above, while the benefit of the 1/2 cent designated tax may be proposed for Phase One, there is no reason for the other voters living say….in Phase Three to vote for this making the 2/3rds requirement more difficult. As it turns out, most of the Yes on U citizens live in Sky Harbor/Phase Three which may never have to connect to the sewers. That also includes the Town Staff that either live in Phase Three or do not even live within the town boundaries but are concerned with their salaries/raises.

    The Hi-Desert Water District is prepared to spend approximately 1 million-rate-payer-dollars to conduct a USGS survey providing documentation to the Regional Board to exclude Phase Three as per the amended Septic Prohibition. If Phase Three were connected at this moment, they would not have the flow to deliver their waste to the facility to process unless there was additional water added to facilitate the delivery which doesn’t make sense with limited water resources.

    Excuse me for saying this but it would be flushing good water after bad.

    Phase One is being expanded as I explained earlier to increase the flows to the waste water facility and to make it a more viable business enterprise: 1. Additional assessments 2. Additional monthly fees 3. Additional sewage flow for delivery. Please know that 60% of Phase One are vacant lots.

    I personally would like to see Phase One and Phase Two combined on this first go and be done with it. Let’s see where the collection system mapping comes in on this project.

    Oh yes, the simple answer to your question is: all Property Owners within the Yucca Valley Town limits, to include the Mesa, will benefit by the discontinuation of further urine and feces being discharged into their source of drinking water….is that a good enough reason?

    There are more benefits like increasing property values, attracting more commercial and retail to increase revenues…..

    • Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:


      All Project Phases should be included in the CI. All should benefit from the 1/2% sales tax regardless of who lives where.

      The SWRCB mandate may not be so easy to over turn. It may require a costly legal fight. Who will pay the legal cost if it goes to court?

      You say 60% of Phase One is vacant lots. I haven’t viewed the map yet, but it is my understanding that the majority of Phase One is zoned Commerical.

      Not including the other Phases in the CI will undoubtedly deter any type of development, equating to lost tax revenue for the town.

      I prefer the KISS method. Accept the mandate, include all Phases in the CI.

      • @Steve Whitten,

        Overturning the SWRCB,(State Water Resource Control Board),is not an option, and recalling all the HDWD Board of Directors is not an option-(However I would support a surgical strike down the road.)

        I recommend you Google Los Osos for some background and history. There are many lessons to be learned from this tiny town dealing with their septic prohibition by the State. I am on the mailing list/notification of the County of San Luis Obispo to receive information about their project.

        They recently held a Public Hearing on November 5, 2012, regarding acquiring 24.5 acres of land for construction of the Los Osos wastewater treatment plant approximately 0.5 miles east of the community of Los Osos.

        The significance of this parcel zoned agricultural is the previous site was rejected by the citizens. A “developer” hood-winked the Wastewater Commission to purchase his empty Retail location in the heart of the downtown area for the plant.

        He was getting ready to go belly-up due to the years of the sewer problem looming over this community resulting in property values spiraling downward even prior to this Recession(Depression?)and retail sales diminishing, this developer found a buyer…perfect for the sewer plant! Not!

        Since you are the “Planning Commission” guy, you may be interested in the Staff report and Environmental Document at: http://www.sloplanning.org

        Thank you for your comment and suggestions. I will forward them to the CI committee as that is not my task. Several citizens have come forward wanting to be a part of the process and we will all have to work together on this.

        I personally am looking down the road, long term, to help in any way with the outreach to pass the sewer assessment vote. Even if I have to stand on the corner holding a sign…..

  13. Update:State Revolving Fund has confirmed a 30 year loan.

    • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

      I probably missed it elsewhere, but this new ballot initative would be a town wide, registered voter one requiring a 2/3 majority to pass, correct?

  14. Hi Larry,
    A designated tax requires 2/3rd to pass.
    A General Fund tax requires 50%+1 vote to pass.
    Town wide, registered voters, excludes Yucca Mesa located in county, same zip code.

    The sewer assessment(weighted)vote will be cast by the owner of record for each parcel#. Once the sewer assessment has passed, the HDWD cannot come back and increase the amount. Once the collection system is mapped, they can move forward. Meanwhile, trying to secure grants, etc.


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