Yucca Valley, Ca.,- The elections are over and “Thank You” banners are draped across Bob Leone’s campaign signs across the town. The breaking news came out on Cactus Thorns on election day and Z107.7 called Leone the winner on Wednesday at 7am. The Hi-Desert Star held back on declaring the winner until their Saturday edition was published, four days after the vote.
Even though Bob Leone had nearly 50% of the vote with four candidates in the field, Candidate Jennifer Collins with 29.9% of the vote was asking about a re-count. There was no hesitation by Candidate Michael Hildebrand to send his congratulations to Bob Leone and suggesting that I be appointed as Planning Commissioner in his place.
I called Michael suggesting to save his campaign signs when voting districts are ushered in to represent his district. I thanked him for running for office and an opportunity to know him better.
This gentle giant is a very private person and has done many great works in our community without any fanfare, press releases or publicity photo ops. He donated the grading to a sports park and graded two baseball fields at Yucca Valley High School. He volunteered his time and heavy equipment to fix a few dirt roads in Yucca Valley hauling out 130 loads of dirt from the new Walmart Center over 2 days on 2.8 miles of roads in the Shatin Heights neighborhood, all on his own dime.
Michael Hildebrand’s camp ran a very clean campaign supported by the enthusiasm of Kari Cody of Hi-Desert Air.
Kari posted updates on Michael’s Facebook page with reminders to mail in the ballots offering to pay for postage without requiring the ballot be marked for her candidate. Hildebrand and his supporters are the future of Yucca Valley…….
Here is an interview by the San Bernardino Sentinel:
“Make Use Of My Sanitation Expertise, Hildebrand Tells Yucca Valley Voters”
“Michael Hildebrand said he is vying for the open spot on the Yucca Valley Town Council in part because of an offhanded remark his wife made to him. “She said I could lie “She said I could lie on the couch and complain about what is going on or I could run,” he said. “So, I’m running.”
As a licensed contractor with extensive experience in converting septic systems to sewer systems, Hildebrand said he has the technical knowledge to guide the city with regard to one of the primary challenges it is now faced with. The State of California has mandated that Yucca Valley end its reliance on septic systems and install the first of several stages of a sewer system by 2016. Property owners and residents will be subject to fines if they do not meet that deadline and the town will be enjoined from permitting any further development in the community.
“I have a general contractor’s license, a C42 sanitation license, a C36 plumbing license, a C8 concrete license and a C16 fire protection license. I carry more licenses than most contractors. I just finished a sewer project in Cathedral City. Over the last twenty years I have made sewer conversions in Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs, Palm Desert, La Quinta and Rancho Mirage. I know exactly how these things are done and what is required. We were at a candidate forum and a question was asked and it was clear the other candidates did not have a clue about this subject. I have an extensive background in this area. If you want to ask questions about buying insurance, you could ask one of the other candidates, but that is not what the issue is here. I am not sure why the other candidates are even running.”
Hildebrand demonstrated his understanding of the issue and its complexity by explaining that there will be significant economies of scale achieved by undertaking the entire project collectively, including constructing the sewer treatment facility and its collections system and pipes on public lands and beneath the public roads as well as connecting the trunk lines to the homes on each parcel. Nevertheless, he said, that will require that prevailing wage – in the neighborhood of $60 per hour – be paid to those constructing the trunk lines. If private contractors are hired by those property owners outside the rubric of a public agency undertaking, he said, workers could be paid a much lower non-union scale rate – around $20 per hours.
“To build this system we need to get money in place to help people do this,” he said. “We need to create a deferred payment program that will utilize taxes or assessment over a long term that go on the residents’ properties. If the average person has to come up with five or ten grand, they will not be able to afford that and many will just walk away from their house. That is not what we need. We need a program that will help the individual person who at present cannot afford this. The majority of our residents are going to need that help.”
The other major challenge facing Yucca Valley, Hildebrand said, “is our budget. Our numbers are off. I don’t feel giving the town manager a raise and a three-year contract was the right thing to do. Redevelopment money is what the city has lived on for all these years. There is no more redevelopment money. The city council has to be more frugal with our money, like you and me with the way the economy has gone. Today you have to think about how you are going to spend your money, whereas before you might not have.”
Hildebrand said, “I know there has to be more tax money raised, but I don’t think we need more tax money as much as we need more taxpayers. One issue facing the city is we had land for a new park donated. Now we are looking at how to develop that park and maintain that park. I think we should probably farm out the maintenance so it can be done more cost effectively instead of doing it in-house.”
The formula for curing Yucca Valley’s ills, Hildebrand said, is “growth,” explaining, “We need to make this a friendly town where developers are willing to develop. We have made it hard on builders here. I happen to be a developer. There are towns I will not go to because of the harassment or over-requirements. Somebody has to give. We are not going to get restaurants to come here. The best we can get are just the big chains because those are the only ones that can afford to meet the town’s requirements. Everyone says they are for the small business person but no one is trying to help the small businesses in this town. Small businesses are what Yucca Valley is made of and they are what will make the city thrive. The chamber of commerce tells everyone how many hits they have on their website. No one really cares about how their website. What we need is more guidance on having people buying locally. We need to stick together as a town rather than create more problems for people, which is pretty much what the town government does.”
Hildebrand said the town “needs to make more programs available for seniors and our youth.”
He deserves the consideration of voters, Hildebrand said, because “Most people who know me know you are not going to persuade me to do something that isn’t right. I’ve always thought of others before I think of myself. In government, they only think of themselves. For every action there is a reaction. Government should be for the people and not for the gain of the politicians. If I am elected, I promise I will take time out to help people with whatever their concerns are.”
Hildebrand is a member of the Yucca Valley Planning Commission. He has lived in Yucca Valley since 1999. He graduated from Sierra High School in San Diego. His post high school education consisted of attendance at a trade school. He is married with three children.” (Posted by permission of SB Sentinel :link)