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Should Yucca Mesa Vote for Annexation?

By   /   February 23, 2014  /   19 Comments

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annexationJPGYucca Mesa, Ca.,- There are two choices facing Yucca Mesa when LAFCO, Local Agency Formation Commission of San Bernardino, reviews their next SOI, Sphere of Influence…a bad choice or the worse choice.  Neither one would be anything to celebrate but let’s look at both options and the bottom line. Yucca Mesa may soon be peppered with solar farms butting up next to their properties because they live in San Bernardin0 County and not within the boundary of the Town of Yucca Valley, where large commercial solar farms are prohibited.>LINK


Elizabeth Karman, a resident of Landers, sits on her thumbs and stays mum regarding Yucca Mesa issues.

Adding insult to injury, they have no representation on the newly formed Municipal Advisory Council. Elizabeth Karman, resident of Landers voting precinct and not even in the SOI of the Hi-Desert Water District, has been selected to represent Yucca Mesa by the staff of 3rd District Supervisor, James Ramos.

Forgetting what community service is all about as an appointed (not elected) government official, Karman promised these residents she would not lift one finger to help them for her own personal political reasons.  Seeking retaliation and abusing the privileges of her appointment she sat silent on her thumbs during four Big Mac meetings regarding the concerns of Yucca Mesa and refuses to attend any community meetings.

The residents suffered another major blow when Field Representative Donna Munoz, recently left her position with Supervisor James Ramos.  Munoz often stepped up to the plate to voice concerns on behalf of the Mesa and attended their meetings to understand the current events and concerns.

So what are the real benefits of remaining in county if there is no representation?


Reporter Rebecca Unger writes this story on September 27, 2008-

YUCCA VALLEY — The Yucca Valley Town Council is moving to annex Yucca Mesa into Yucca Valley’s sphere of influence, and although Town officials say nothing will change for mesa residents in the near future, some Yucca Mesa residents nevertheless are upset at the Town and suspicious of its motives.

Council members approved a review on the annexation in an Aug. 28 meeting and told staff to to file applications with the Local Agency Formation Commission for amendments to the Town’s sphere of influence.

Yucca Valley’s borders now end at Buena Vista Road and Yucca Mesa Drive. The area to be annexed as a sphere of influence extends from Buena Vista Road north to include Aberdeen and La Brisa drives and in some cases Luna Vista Lane and Winters Road.

To the east, the boundary extends to Sunny Vista Road.

To the west, the annexation boundary falls just on the east side of Old Woman Springs Road.

The Town estimates it would cost just under $600,000 a year to provide services to Yucca Mesa if the area were physically annexed, which would require reviews and approval by the Local Agency Formation Commission of San Bernardino County.

The unincorporated neighbor already is served by the Yucca Valley-based Hi-Desert Water District, and the council members agreed to shadow the district’s boundaries through the mesa.

“While the Town has considered the possibility of becoming the governing body of the HDWD, for this study it is assumed to remain as an independent district,” is the assessment in a report prepared for Yucca Valley by Stanley R. Hoffman Associates.

Though this is not a physical annexation, and it will not change any of the ways that services are provided by San Bernardino County to the unincorporated community, it does qualify as the first step toward annexation.

The draft review posed two questions: Does the Town have the capacity to extend its municipal services to adjacent unincorporated areas, and would the level and quality of the Town’s services be an improvement for said areas? Hoffman Associates found the answer to each question to be “an unequivocal yes.”

But does the Mesa agree? At the Town Council’s meeting, Jim Sammons of the Yucca Mesa Improvement Association told the council, “We don’t want to be involved with the Town if we can help it.”

He said the YMIA had it on “good report” that County Supervisor Dennis Hansberger and local representative Bruce Davis compared the Mesa’s mindset to that of Yucca Valley’s other next-door neighbor, Joshua Tree.

“Why do you want us if we’re slow-growth advocates?” Sammons challenged the council.

“I’m not sure Yucca Valley wants Yucca mesa!” joked Councilman Chad Mayes. “It would cost us a lot to provide those services.”

Another complaint by the YMIA was the Town’s perceived secrecy surrounding its annexation intentions and motives. But Deputy Town Manager Shane Stueckle said this has not been the case. Discussion of the subject has never taken place in closed session; in fact, Stueckle said the item is not eligible for inclusion in closed session.

Deputy Town Manager Stueckle is clear in his statements that Yucca Mesa will experience no change in the county services provided, nor will anything change between the Town and the water district, which will remain two separate entities.

“Let’s go on record with Yucca Mesa,” Mayes said in closing. “We don’t see annexation in the near future.”

Mayor Bob Leone agreed, “We’re still dealing with Super Wal-Mart.” Story Source>LINK

With NO concerned representation on the San Bernardino Municipal Advisory Council for Yucca Mesa, NO protection against commercial solar farms and NO road maintenance offered by the county…what are the real benefits if Yucca Mesa were annexed by the Town of Yucca Valley?




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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. Ed Montgomery Ed Montgomery says:

    Under no circumstances should Yucca Mesa ever be annexed! I live on the beginning of Yucca Mesa and unfortunately I’m in the town limits by one house. Town Yucca Valley , can’t even maintain the town limits. They have right now, so why would anybody trust the town Yucca Valley to maintain Yucca Mesa. I will help fight any Annexation done by the town Yucca Valley!

    I tell the people of Yucca Mesa don’t allow the town of Yucca Valley to screw you up too! Just say NO Annexation!

  2. Ed Montgomery Ed Montgomery says:

    I say to the Hoffman Associates study is full of baloney, they are paid to say yes to make it sound and look good, perfect example of studies done, measure U they said exactly the same thing, but you see what happened with measure U!

    Yucca Mesa just say NO Annexation!

  3. Ed Montgomery Ed Montgomery says:






  4. Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

    NO ALL CAPS SHOUTING…… Its like a poo flinging monkey.

  5. Ed, You do not live in Yucca Mesa. Elizabeth Karman does not live in Yucca Mesa and I do not live in Yucca Mesa. What concerns Yucca Mesa is what Yucca Mesa citizens need and want.

    Right now, these residents are exposed to solar farms being built next door to their homes because they live in county. If the Town of Yucca Valley had the SOI, the Sphere of Influence for Yucca Mesa, that would be grounds for the SB County to DENY any solar farm projects on Yucca Mesa to honor the SOI as solar farms are prohibited in Yucca Valley. This is exactly the case in Twentynine Palms where a solar farm project moved from city limits to just outside the city limits to property where 29Palms has their SOI and the SB County is set to deny that project.

    When a solar farm is built next to their property in Yucca Mesa, the land value goes down. When solar farms are allowed to be built on the Mesa, they will suck up the fragile scarce water being supplied to the Mesa by the ONE well that has been in overdraft for many years that has no natural recharge.

    The Yucca Valley SOI will stop the solar farms in their track on the Mesa and preserve the sole source water supply.

    The next step…after approving the SOI, is for the Yucca Mesa citizens to vote yea or nay to becoming annexed to Yucca Valley. That means you, Elizabeth Karman registered in Landers or I will not have ANY vote on this matter.

    The voting block of a unified Yucca Mesa is large enough to recall any sitting Hi-Desert Water District Board member, a fact that HDWD knows very well. What would be wrong if that same voting block seats a Town Council member to represent their area? For that matter, Yucca Valley divided into districts would guarantee their representation on the council.

    The current situation for Yucca Mesa is that they have NO government representation and NO voice.

    A bitter and spiteful Elizabeth Karman was selected because she fraudulently portrayed herself as living on the Mesa. A requirement of serving on the San Bernardino Municipal Advisory Council is either living in Yucca Mesa OR owning a business in Yucca Mesa, Karman does not meet either requirement.

    A complaint against Karman is moving forward after confirming she allegedly used community service volunteers to place “Elect James Ramos” signs during his campaign by declaring she was a non-profit agency to the court. This is exactly not the controversy Supervisor Ramos needs after discovering he was hoodwinked in appointing her.

    If Yucca Mesa wants to protect their land values and block solar farms, this would be a quick answer and solution.

    As luck would have it, Karman, who was instrumental in blocking the last SOI move by the Town of Yucca Valley by organizing the citizens…would have to sit on her thumbs because of her government appointment. Something she has been doing so far because of her vendetta against Yucca Mesa citizens.

    So please Ed, without using all caps and cut and pasting, offer a calm rebuttal as to why the folks on the Mesa should not move quickly to protect their property values and have a voice.

    Try to put yourself in their shoes.


  6. Ed Montgomery Ed Montgomery says:

    You’re absolutely correct, I do not live in the county on Yucca Mesa, I live on the beginning of Yucca Mesa, and I live in the town of Yucca Valley. But I’m still strongly against the ANNEXATION OF YUCCA MESA!
    I always have been against it and I always will be. Most the people I’ve talked to are against it as well. If the people on the Mesa wanted it they will vote for it. I’d been asked by several people to help campaign against any attempt by the town Yucca Valley to annex Yucca Mesa. If I truly feel that people want the town to take them over . Then I will back off, but until then I will help them campaign against any ANNEXATION OF YUCCA MESA. Margot you’re absolutely correct I cannot vote on it, but I can support. I don’t want to get involved of any of the politics to do with this, I will just campaign against it.

    I just did find out that according to what I’m understanding the town of Yucca Valley can do ANNEXATION OF YUCCA MESA without a vote of the people, but if they do that that will cause a lot of trouble between the town Yucca Valley and the people that live on the Mesa.

  7. Ed Montgomery Ed Montgomery says:

    Dan OBrien and Margo, I’m sorry for doing NO ALL CAPS SHOUTING sometimes I get carried away , and I do apologize!

  8. Thanks Ed, Things have changed up there on the Mesa…

    Five years ago the independent folks on the Mesa became united under the leadership of Elizabeth Karman who spent over $16,000 of her own money, countless hours and days posting signs, holding rallies and organizing groups to caravan up to LAFCO and Town Hall to speak against annexation, rather the SOI.

    The Town was seeking the SOI, Sphere of Influence, not annexation…but as Karman correctly pointed out, it is the first step to seek the SOI before annexation. After the issue was defeated, Karman incorrectly thought she was anointed the leader of Yucca Mesa. Wrong. The fiercely independent residents of Yucca Mesa turned their back on her and she was shunned. Doesn’t make it right but confirms the old saying…”No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.”

    Karman spent the next few years dogging 3rd District Supervisor Neil Derry and his field representative, Alan Rasmussen seeking to authorize a Yucca Mesa MAC, Municipal Advisory Council, in order to establish a “government” liaison. She even promised she would not be serving on the Yucca Mesa MAC…technically she couldn’t because she resides in Landers. Derry felt there was no need for a Yucca Mesa MAC at the time because the community was united by their organization of the Homestead Valley Community Council, HVCC.

    The truth is, the entire Homestead Valley had long ago established their own Council encompassing representatives from Johnson Valley, Landers, Flamingo Heights, Yucca Mesa>LINK http://www.hvccsite.org/

    Karman set out to break up this organization referring to them merely as lowly “Social Clubs.” Then she set out her poison pen venom by designing a website to criticize the President of the HVCC, a Marine that served his country and is now serving his second year as the elected President of the Lucerne Valley School Board. Her website had no impact on the successful election of this citizen to the school board. (In fact no one reads or follows her obscure websites.)

    Then Derry was up for re-election and Karman campaigned fiercely for James Ramos, also a Democrat like her. It was reported that she was a political appointment for her contributions to the Ramos campaign.

    If in fact she represented herself to the court as a “non-profit” seeking community service volunteers through the court system to post Ramos campaign signs in Landers…she is in deep doo-doo.

    Ramos couldn’t have selected a more political volatile personality to represent Yucca Mesa…unless of course, I was selected. The requirement to serve per the MAC manual states the appointee shall live in that district or own a business on the Mesa. Karman does not qualify, nor do I.

    Karman told the new President of the HVCC at the first meeting of the Big MAC, she “would not lift one finger to help them out until they apologize to her.”

    In the meantime, Ed, time marches on and the solar farms are advancing…bringing glare, dust and noise that will lower property values for Yucca Mesa which forces them to consider all their alternatives.

    It would be a simple decision to seek the SOI by the Town of Yucca Valley to shield the Mesa from solar farms…that is, IF the Town wants to place Yucca Mesa in their Sphere of Influence.

    How would YOU stop the solar farms Ed from setting up on Yucca Mesa?

    • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

      Hi Margo,

      What makes you think that a SOI will prevent the solar farms? 29 has had two of them already built right on the city limits.

      The best that 29 has been able to do was to seek some infrastructure improvements on the frontage roads for the alleged “impact”.

      The recent resolution to the county board of supervisors will more than likely do nothing to stop the third solar farm from being constructed.

      A SOI has no impact to assert the rules of a town or city onto county governed land.

      The only solution is annexation and to be blunt with you the people of Desert Heights in 29 will not allow that to happen nor do I think the people of Yucca Mesa will let that happen in Yucca.

      Interesting issue nonetheless.

      • Hi Steve, I was informed by a high level staff person for James Ramos the Board of Supervisors were waiting for the 29P resolution to deny the application for the current solar farm located just outside city limits. I do not know why two were allowed outside 29P city limits unless they were not in the SOI?

        The BOS is currently working on their General Plan update. The County intends to place overlays to define their “energy objectives” while still respecting the SOI of various cities or towns. The Land Use Service department secured a $700,000 grant to outline the energy goals which can be read at this link:

        LUS seeks to streamline the process from 9 months to 4.5 months among other suggestions. The BOS knew LUS had secured the grant but were not part of the process or in the loop.

        Thanks Steve for your comments…always appreciated.

  9. Ed Montgomery Ed Montgomery says:

    Margo, I know exactly who Elizabeth Karman is and I don’t like her either, but my feelings towards ANNEXATION OF YUCCA MESA is very strong and I’m strongly against it. Elizabeth Karman does not represent me whatsoever . I don’t care what she does so long as she doesn’t interfere what I’m doing then I don’t care.

    As you are well where my feelings toward the town Yucca Valley, and my dislike for anything they do! Yes I know Elizabeth Karman is a Democrat and I don’t trust her at all! My feelings against ANNEXATION OF YUCCA MESA have nothing to do with Elizabeth Karman. Even before I found out who she was. I was still against Annexation of the Mesa. Margo it sounds like you are in favor of ANNEXATION of the Mesa. If you are that’s okay , but then I would strongly disagree with you! But that’s okay . We all have a right to our opinion, but personally I will do everything that I can to try to stop any ANNEXATION of the Mesa. By the way , the people that have contacted me have nothing to do with Elizabeth Karman.

    • Ed, please know that I have good friends on both sides of the aisle and some in-between. Rotten apples exist in the Democrat party just as they exist in the Republican party. A person’s party affiliation is of no importance to me, rather the person’s good character is highly valued.

      Many Democrats are very trustworthy and I hope one day you will find that to be true. In the meantime, I think your broad brush attitude will prevent that from happening.

      When you were in the trenches in Viet Nam, did it matter if your fellow man was an “R” or a “D?” Aren’t we all Americans in the end? Just saying…

  10. Ed, how do you propose to stop solar farms from coming to Yucca Mesa? Bottom line, it is the highest concern for the folks that live there to protect their land values. If the Sphere of Influence stops the solar farms, it is an option they are considering.

  11. Ed Montgomery Ed Montgomery says:

    Margo, this is to answer your question, I’ll be perfectly honest I know absolutely nothing solar farms, I just know what they do. Perfectly honest , I really don’t care one way or another about solar farms. What you are saying is that solar farms lower the property value. I’m a little confused . What does solar farming have to do with ANNEXATION OF YUCCA MESA? I do not see a majority of the current BOS stopping solar farms. Just like what Steve Spear said. Like I see it right now majority the people on the Mesa do not want to be taken over by the town of Yucca Valley.

  12. Ed Montgomery Ed Montgomery says:

    If they try to ANNEXATION OF YUCCA MESA without a vote of the people then I would tell the people on the Mesa to do an initiative that would force a vote of the people that live on Yucca Mesa to see if they want to be taken over by the town Yucca Valley. Now if the people vote to be annexed by the town of Yucca Valley, then so be, but at least the people have their say one way or another!

    My last thought on the subject . If the people on Yucca Mesa are taken over by the town Yucca Valley. I strongly believe they will regret it for years to come.

  13. Thanks Ed for your comments! Sometimes the only choices offered up are a bad one or a worse one. Take care! (BTW, the residents would have to vote themselves annexed-that was never in dispute.)

  14. Rick Sayers Rick Sayers says:

    OK, I am a Mesa resident and as I type I am looking at what I consider an incredible view of joshua trees and mountain vistas.If the only option I have of protecting this view is to become part of the town of Yucca Valley I will begrudgingly take that option.
    The County of San Bernardino has proven over and over to be totally unprepared, ill-equipped, under manned and incompetent to handle the vast amount of renewable energy projects being proposed, over 30 with more coming.
    These projects are the result of legislation signed in Sacramento several years ago known as DRECP(Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan). This was a well intentioned piece of legislation intended to make California energy self-sufficient. The problem is in a rush to become GREEN the consequences of this legislation was not completely thought thru. The state has paid the county $700,000 to help expedite these projects.
    We need representatives who have the courage to go Sacramento and have DRECP repealed. We have an election this year with a chance to choose new state representatives. I would encourage any voter to vote for people who will oppose renewable energy projects in the Morongo Basin.
    FYI, I emailed Chad Mayes asking him to come out in opposition to these projects and he has not responded to me. I had a phone conversation with Karalee Hargrove and she assured me she is opposed to these projects in the Morongo Basin.

    • Thus, just one of many reasons to NOT for Mayes. Mayes is part of the local clique, the good old boys and is entrenched in the Inland Empire power circle. He’s the pretty boy concerned with climbing up on the latter of power. .

      I believe this to be true, and I will write in my dog if there are no suitable candidates. Mayes in unsuitable. Good luck with Mayes If you like the same.

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