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Why Appointed Merl Abel Should NOT Run for Office, Part II

By   /   April 22, 2014  /   1 Comment

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Merl Abel was appointed to the Town Council Wednesday evening. (Courtesy photo)

Yucca Valley cannot afford another term by Councilman Abel, who was appointed by only FOUR votes to a the 3 1/2 year term left remaining when Chad Mayes resigned to become employed by Supervisor Janice Rutherford.  Prior to his appointment, Abel never attended ANY council meetings and NEVER ran for any office, relying on appointments to all his past positions.

Abel was appointed to the Council in June 2011 by Councilmen Frank Luckino, Isaac Hagerman, and Dawn Rowe, who ALL lived in the same neighborhood of Sky Harbor. Councilman Huntington, also living in Sky Harbor, voted for CPA David Cooper but then changed his vote to reflect unanimous support. Three of the four council members were connected to the same church as Abel. This appointment was pre-arranged behind closed doors two weeks before the interviewing process took place. Pleas to call for an election fell on deaf ears of Mayor George Huntington, which was one of the reasons Recall papers were served on Huntington.

Abel participated in the appointment of Robert Lombardo, rather than calling for an election.

It was ONLY one year ago that Mayor Abel scoffed at the idea of a Concerned Citizen’s Committee, 2+2, to meet with staff to go over the budget line by line to cut out the fat estimated at nearly $100,000 even though Councilman George Huntington supported the 2+2 proposal and attended one of the citizen meetings. Abel chastised the 2+2 meeting as bothering staff and there was too much for any citizen to comprehend about the budget intricacies.

Abel quickly dismissed the highly qualified citizens with accounting background and experience in analyzing budgets. Abel said, “I’d rather not see the town burdened with excess work related to a committee. The Town has done plenty of outreach and will always be met with unhappy citizens.”

Abel supported and approved spending in excess of $199,000 for the failed Measure U General Fund sales tax, which could not legally be designated or earmarked for any purpose. 

Abel later voted to try a second time for another sales tax even knowing the failed Measure U divided the community.

Abel voted to exceed the budget for the Dog Park in the amount of $377,000 and agreed to disguise this IOU in the budget as cash reserves.

Abel was the Mayor when Community Programs were slashed in retaliation for not passing Measure U, another reason cited for the Yucca Valley Recall movement.

Abel also voted to approve over-spending on the animal shelter prior to Leone’s election. (Rowe voted NO)

Abel, as Mayor, voted to dip into the Town’s reserves in the amount of $120,000 to cover excessive attorney’s fees including over $50,000 spent on the impound of two sibling pets allowed to breed while impounded for months. 

Mayor Abel voted for and signed the documents to dip into town’s reserves in the amount of $300,000 to offer an early retirement package to 19 eligible employees.  Only 7 took the offer…what happened to the rest of the funds?

As Mayor, Abel supported a Chamber candidate for council who was schtupping with the Town Manager at a Las Vegas convention using public funds for their romantic get-a-way which is well documented with a series of graphic sexual text messages.

Abel participated in blocking the very qualified nominees of the elected Councilman Bob Leone without offering a second on the motion to discuss the candidates. This action triggered and fueled the Recall movement.

Abel, who never attended any Council meetings was quick to support the doomed Senior Housing Fiasco with run-a-way spending by saying, “It’s a great way to leverage our dollars.”

Mayor Abel stated in his State of the Town address that he left the reserves in a healthy state of $7 million dollars ignoring the fact there were two IOU’s totaling $720,000 (Dog park & Senior Housing), leaving the reserves at $6.28 million…not $7 million.

AND, displaying another act of fiscal irresponsibility, on January 21, 2014, Abel voted for ANOTHER loan/IOU to fund the Senior Housing fiasco this year in the amount of $635,000. (Bob Leone voted NO.)>LINK

Most of Abel’s acts of fiscal irresponsibility are documented with links in my previous post, “Outgoing YV Mayor Merl Abel has Amnesia”>LINK

Merl Abel’s “Souvenir of his term in office” can be viewed daily by driving past the hideous Senior Apartment fiasco, aka, Yucca Valley Lego Land. This project with a price tag of $18 million for 74 ONE bedroom apartments was a “bait n’ switch using pre-fab chicken coops. When reviewing the increased costs of $3 million dollars foisted on the Town of Yucca Valley…Abel said, “It’s a great way to leverage our dollars.”


For the reasons listed above, and there are MORE, I urge Merl Abel to keep his word and not run for office. Yucca Valley cannot afford another term of poor decisions and fiscal irresponsibility.See

See Part I, Abel signs bonus 3 year contract with Town Manager in March while facing a budget deficit and slashing community programs…and 6 months later gives the disgraced manager a sweetheart severance package in the amount of $ 126,666. Story>LINK



YV LegoLand3

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 . – See more at: http://www.vote29.com/newmyblog/archives/57221#sthash.8BZC6LCs.dpuf


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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 Comment

  1. Ed Montgomery Ed Montgomery says:

    Merl Abel has to be one of the worst Council people we’ve ever had, just like Margo said, he voted for over $200,000 to campaign for measure U, he approved over $126,000 to fire the town manager, he approved the senior citizen , low income housing, he voted for all the construction, of the islands, sidewalks , that the construct taking over six months, what a disaster! He’s been involved in wasting millions of taxpayer dollars! Along with him and his sky harbor buddies practically destroyed this town! He has to go right along with his Sky harbor buddies! The sad part about all this . The people from sky harbor have no shame whatsoever.

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