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Will the Hi-Desert Nature Museum Face the Axe…Again?

By   /   December 25, 2012  /   6 Comments

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Yucca Valley, Ca,- In a blink of an eye, there will be the mid year review of the Town budget  as the New Year is quickly approaching. Pulling out of this Great Recession is going to take a longer time for Yucca Valley compared to surrounding communities.  Several projects were brought in over budget ignoring some of the “No” votes cast by past Mayor Dawn Rowe to Town Manager Mark Nuaimi continued spending and committing funds beyond the means of the town during her term sitting on the dais.

To this day, Nuaimi continues spending funds hiring outside consultants and  large multimillion dollar contracts are awarded to his Fontana connections. The recent $3.99 million dollar award of the animal shelter included a bid from concrete supplier in Fontana and no local vendors were listed for that project.

The defeat of Measure U, Nuaimi’s 1% General Fund tax for 30 years, put an extra strain on the Town budget because it is estimated over $200,000.00 tax dollars was spent to promote the tax through “educational” outreach and mailers.  The true dollar amount may never surface unless there is a forensic audit to include Staff time and Town assets that were provided, they are unknown factors at this time. Nuaimi’s salary is about $20,000.00 per month and he was involved for 18 months working to promote this tax.

The Yucca Valley Town Council will look to close a few gaps in the next budget deciding what programs to cut or give the axe which may include the Hi-Desert Nature Museum, again.  While ex-Councilmen Chad Mayes and Frank Luckino are no longer seated on the dais, there is still the “Ghost of Museum Axe,” represented by Councilman Dawn Rowe.

When Rowe ran for office in 2010, she was asked about the Museum. She stated, “I do not think that our town can continue to sustain the almost $300,000 a year that goes toward the museum’s operating expenses. We looked at cutting public safety this year, and I don’t think there should be any cuts in public safety over something like that.”

 If you care about the Hi-Desert Museum, your group should start to organize now, sooner than later.

The Yucca Valley Town Council strategic meeting will take place on January 12, 2013, to decide what the priorities are for the coming year. This meeting will take place during the day to allow the Town employees to take part, I’m guessing.  Questions and ready answers, posing as choices, will be offered by Town Manager Mark Nuaimi in his Power Point presentation. Everyone in attendance will be given a clicker to cast a vote and the citizens will never know how the elected Councilmen voted or if they changed their vote at a later date.

Councilman Robert Lombardo was absent last year from participating by showing up after the session was over.

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. Terry Elam Terry Elam says:

    Twenty G’s/month? Are you sure? What for?
    Not that I think the money should go to a museum that few actually use. Don’t to get me wrong, I’d like to see a group formed to save it. I just think that it will take more than surviving a budget cut.
    While it is a nice place. it’s a money trap. The exhibits could be placed in the library or the schools where will be seen. $300,000? Add that to $240,000 and there’s a lot more good that could be done.

    • Every thing is a money trap, Terry.

      It’s a matter of self-serving priorities and resume enhancement. When something is trashed like a fine museum, that will not show on a town manager’s resume. So the purpose of shutting it down is useful such that money can now go toward resume enhancement projects even when they are NOT priorities.

      That’s my 2¢ worth of input.

      • Terry Elam Terry Elam says:

        Not with Margo around placing bees in his bonnet.
        Cutting funds to one project does not automatically add funds to another project. I like the museum, I also like Cadillacs, I’d also like to see a theater in 29, but not at the price when greater good can be done with the money. There’s too many in need of other services for frivolous spending on underused projects.
        The soccer fields are full, the museum is empty.

  2. The Hi-Desert Nature Museum is the Gem of our Morongo Basin for our residents. Families with young children interested in Science and the Arts have a place to bring their Grandma and Grandpa during times of extreme heat or cold.

    It was pointed out the Mojave Water Agency is paying “Cash for Grass” to remove turf from the desert regions due to water scarcity and future shortages. If this Museum is closed in order to bring in more soccer fields, something is terribly wrong with that trade-off, in my opinion.

  3. Scots Slant Scots Slant says:

    Predictable: Some screamed Measure U was, “Misleading, a fraud, a rip-off, etc.”

    And some will now scream, “Save the museum.”

    For the record, I voted “No” on U, but not for the reasons listed above.

    Also, which of these previously published comments is true, and which is not true: “Mayor Rowe’s, ‘Legacy of Debt?’”

    And/or most recently, Mayor Rowe voted, “No (On)… continued spending and committing funds beyond the means of the town during her term sitting on the dais?”

  4. Rowe’s voting record has been consistant and the subject of my reflections of 2012. While she has voted NO on the animal shelter increased costs, her displeasure was voiced at the time of the vote when she was the lone vote cast. She made no effort to convince her fellow councilmen of her concerns.

    The huge amount of debt and over committments by the Town of Yucca Valley took place while she was Mayor….leaving her legacy of debt.

    Thank you for your comment and story idea to go over this legacy in depth.

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