by Margo Sturges/Yucca Valley, Ca.,- On August 20, 2013, the unpopular politician/Town Manager Mark Nuaimi was fired. Council members Dawn Rowe, George Huntington, Robert Lombardo and appointed Merl Abel voted to reward this disaster giving him a severance package over $126,666 including medical insurance coverage.
Councilman Bob Leone voted NO to paying any severance package.
Nuaimi’s departure was over one year ago, but, a foul odor still persists in this rural town of 20,700 citizens with an average income of $35,000. Like an unflushed toilet after a bout of food poisoning, the stench remains as no-bid contracts for construction of the center median projects along the main business corridor resulted in devastating holiday sales last November and December.
The newly installed center medians did not allow water to pass through during a recent rain and were completely submerged presenting a dangerous situation for traffic. The median construction continues as of this update and are viewed as the final nail in the coffin for older established businesses trying to survive the Great Recession.
Traffic problems were slightly mitigated now impacting only one lane in one direction on the main corridor. Some business driveways will be blocked for 2 weeks during the installation of the medians and the additional traffic signals have not been synchronized. Two more signals remain to be installed at Church Street and at Dumosa on the Highway 62. (Yucca Valley has a new nickname of “Stoplight, Ca.”)
The Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce did not step up to support the 50 merchants when they objected to the medians that would prohibit customers or delivery trucks to access their businesses. The merchants supported the sidewalk installations. The disconnect came as a result of the past president, Jennifer Collins, steering the chamber into politics using her position as a stepping stone to launch her unsuccessful political bid for Town Council.
The Chamber organization also suffered greatly as she became the “mouthpiece” for the disgraced Nuaimi promoting an unpopular sales tax which was defeated by the voters. Measure U was a 1% General Fund sales tax for 30 years which could not legally be dedicated or earmarked estimated to generate $160 million dollars in revenue.
The developer of the Yucca Valley No-bid Senior Housing scam continues to squeeze the project for any advance of monies citing they have a cash flow problem. The three story building, which is a bait-n-switch using pre-fab pods, has been under construction with a history of botched missteps, glitches, bad Karma and bringing in day laborers from down below to catch up on their timeline for release of construction funds.
Appointed Councilman Abel proclaimed the town of Yucca Valley was so fortunate to leverage $3 million dollars into a large Senior Housing project as he naively gave his support when Nuaimi hoodwinked the council to bump up the town’s obligation from $1.5 million to $2.95 million dollars, a 100% increase! The town had no money to fund this project and the Department of Finance still continues to deny any Redevelopment Agency payments to this Senior Housing project. An IOU was placed into the reserves for these senior housing loans approved by appointed Merl Abel.
The deficit spending stench still lurks becuase two IOU’s totaling $700,000.00 remain tucked into the future development impact fees. At his “State of the Town” address, appointed Councilman Merl Abel foolishly touted strong reserves in excess of $7 million without factoring the paper IOU in the till that he voted to put there.
Abel has the unique distinction of signing Nuaimi’s “Gimmee-more-money-for-3-years-contract,” and a few months later, signing termination papers to fire him.
Abel voted to give Nuaimi a parting gift of public funds in the amount of $126,666.00 to just “Go Away.”
Abel was so disgusted with the immoral relationship, alleged use of public funds for a romantic get-away including graphic sexual texts between Nuaimi and the chamber president, a fellow church member, he said he would NOT run for re-election to the council.
Abel went back on his word and filed campaign papers in hopes the voters will not remember his voting record. (Abel’s voting record and actions are archived by the Town of Yucca Valley minutes of their meetings.)
Councilman Dawn Rowe kept her word not to run, Curtis Yakimow has been selected as the Town Manager and it’s been one year since Nuaimi was fired. Let’s clear the air, flush the toilet and send this appointed councilman back home away from politics.
Yucca Valley cannot afford another four years of bad decisions by Appointed Councilman Merl Abel.
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