Yucca Valley, Ca.,- The outgoing Mayor of Yucca Valley, Merl Abel, delivered the State of the Town in a quick power point reviewing the accomplishments in the last year of his rotation on “the hot seat,” as past Mayor Dawn Rowe called it. Always a positive guy, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…Yucca Valley,” is his mantra.
However, it appears Abel came down with a huge dose of amnesia regarding the turbulent past year for Yucca Valley under his watch. I call it with-holding information which is different than telling a lie. I have never known Abel to tell a lie but I must call him out for not touching on the following upheavals during these past months. Abel could have pointed them out as bumps in the road or even pot holes.
I guess if he doesn’t talk about them…they never happened?
Action items by Mayor Merl Abel in random order:
Abel has the complete distinction of having signed a 3 year contract filled with bonuses for the town manager while facing a budget deficit and slashing community programs and just a few months later, his signature appears on the contract to fire the town manager with a severance package of $126,666. Contract LINK. Firing LINK.
Abel, as Mayor, was informed and authorized the town employee firings that took place two days before Easter. LINK These actions contributed to the Yucca Valley Recall effort targeting two councilmen who ran unopposed.
Abel has the distinct voting history to approve spending for a failed tax Measure U sales tax, spending in excess of $199,000, which divided the community and then he voted again to put another tax measure on the ballot! LINK
Abel turned a deaf ear to setting up a 2+2 ad hoc committee with Concerned Citizens regarding the Budget made up of accountants and financial auditors to discuss $100,000 in near-term savings. LINK
Abel said,“He’d rather not see the town burdened with excess work related to a committee. He said the town has done plenty of outreach and will always be met with unhappy citizens .” LINK
Abel has the distinct voting record, along with recall targets Councilmen George Huntington and Robert Lombardo, to exceed the budget for the Sky Harbor dog park with the overage of $377,000 currently sitting as an IOU disguised as cash reserves. LINK
Abel was the Mayor when the community programs were slashed and the staff to run the programs were gutted as retaliation for not voting to approve Measure U, the 1% General Fund Tax that could not be designated. LINK
Abel, as Mayor, voted to approve and signed the documents to dip into the town’s reserves in the amount of $120,000 for overspending on lawyer’s fees, specifically involving over $50,000 for impounding two dogs for months that were allowed to mate. Reserves LINK
Abel, as Mayor, voted to approve and signed the documents to dip into the town reserves in the amount of $300,000 to offer 19 employees early retirement packages, only 7 took up the offer…what happened to the unused funds? See above link.
Abel, as Mayor, followed Councilmen Huntington, Lombardo and Rowe’s orchestrated move to block both appointments of re-elected out of retirement, Bob Leone, who won in all precincts. LINK All four supported the Yucca Valley Chamber President Council candidate who was schtupping with the town manager using public funds at a Las Vegas get-a-way. LINK Las Vegas Documents LINK
Abel, as Mayor, stuck his foot in his mouth several times when interviewed by Z107.7 on several matters. Abel said, “He was pleased to vote to give the town manager a three year contract increasing his pay to include 80 over time hours, adjust his contract to add another week to his vacation time and give him extra paid days off.” LINK
Abel, who never attended any Town Council meetings before his appointment in May 2011, was quick to praise the Senior Housing scam with runaway spending saying, “It is a great way to leverage our dollars.” LINK
Abel, recently appointed, voted on June 29, 2011, to spend $20,000 seeking a grant writer for the Brehm Park scheme. For the record, Abel did not sign on to submitting a blank lease knowing all parties did not agree to the lease turned in with the grant application even after Town Manager, Mark Nuaimi, assured side agreements could be signed later. Staff Report LINK
Abel, as Mayor, did not call for calm in the community when opponents to the Yucca Valley Recall, including Town Officials, violated the Elections Code harassing the citizens advocating for the recall of Huntington and Lombardo. LINK
Mayor Abel stated in his parting message there were strong reserves in the amount of $7 million dollars. It was revealed later in the financial report that $720,000 in IOU’s were included in that amount. So the reality is really $6.28 million dollars in reserves…NOT $7 million.
One loan was authorized by council for the dog park in the amount of $377,000, (Rowe voting NO) and a second mysterious IOU showed up for the Senior Housing scam in the amount of $343,000 that I do not recall the town council voting to approve that loan.
For the above reasons, and there are more, I kindly urge Merl Abel to step down from the town council to enable him to attend the Morongo Unified School Board meetings to prepare his run for the school board in November 2014. Abel’s real talents, experience and passion are best suited for the future of our school children.
Margo Sturges Author LINK
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