James Schooler said his intimate knowledge of the Town of Yucca Valley’s municipal function and his involvement in the community in general stands him in good stead to serve on the town council.
“As a longtime Yucca Valley resident who has been very active in community affairs, I believe I can contribute to the stability and forward progress of the town council,” Schooler said. “With several important projects in the pipeline and on the horizon, I feel that my experience and insights will be beneficial as a member of the council. I retired from the Town of Yucca Valley after nearly 21 years as a department director. I understand how our local government works, the processes, opportunities and restrictions. I have managed the budgets and operations of several divisions including parks and recreation, animal control, street maintenance, youth and senior services and the use and care of public facilities. I have worked closely with several community groups and non-profit organizations, as well as other public agencies in the local area and the region.”
This is the first time in the town’s 27-year history as an incorporated governmental entity that it has conducted ward elections for town council. Previously, council members were elected in at-large contests in which candidates from throughout 40-square mile Yucca Valley were eligible to run town-wide and voters were free to participate in electing all of the council’s members. This year, races are being held in the town’s 1st, 3rd and 5th districts. Each district is to be represented by a resident from within its confines and residents can vote only with regard to the representation of the district in which they reside.
Schooler is competing against Edmund Shadman in the race for District 1 councilman.
The 69-year-old Schooler said he is distinguished from his 33-year-old opponent by virtue of his more extensive experience in government and Yucca Valley government in particular.
“I believe that my background, training and experience in this community are valuable assets to help lead as a town councilmember with a minimal learning curve,” Schooler said.
Schooler indicated that he did not believe the major issues facing the town represented unassailable challenges. “As I see it, the current issues are more like opportunities,” he said. “The local residents approved a tax measure last year that has provided needed revenue for previously deferred projects and operations. The town has managed the additional funds under the eye of a citizen oversight committee and the results have been significant, with more improvements now possible. Yucca Valley is currently experiencing a major tourism spike, largely due to the increased popularity of Joshua Tree National Park. Regulating vacation rentals, dealing with increased traffic and public safety concerns, and maximizing the economic benefit are all priorities at this point. We are also in the midst of a major town-wide sewer installation project which is bound to affect the community’s growth. Additionally, we have a partnership with the county for a new library and will also be accessing state funds for a new sports & aquatic facility. I am also very excited about the prospect of bringing broadband internet to the area. I have attended community meetings on the subject and am convinced that the economic benefit will be substantial when residents can work, receive medical care, and pursue higher education online with the improved infrastructure. I see the coming years as exciting times in Yucca Valley.”
Schooler said that “With the exception of the broadband, the funding is mostly in place for these community improvements and I believe the current town staff has proven themselves to be quite professional in managing funds and addressing priorities. A group of community leaders from various agencies is working with IEBroadband to clarify the goals and path forward on this issue. My understanding is that competitive grant funds are available to cover most, if not all of the cost.”
Schooler said he is a creature of government. “Counting my service in the US Navy, I have worked for government agencies at the federal, state, county and local levels. I am currently employed as a field representative for California State Senator Jean Fuller. In my career, I have gained an understanding of how things work and how agencies at all levels can work together to advance initiatives, projects and programs. My belief is that local government is the most responsible and accountable level of government – because elected officials are neighbors to the people they serve.”
Schooler has lived in Yucca Valley for 22 years. “I moved to Yucca Valley in 1996 to accept a job as recreation supervisor with the Yucca Valley Parks and Recreation District,” he said. “What I thought might be a two or three-year stay for my family turned out be an exciting conversion to the small-town rural lifestyle in our new hometown.”
Schooler attended and graduated from Crespi Carmelite High School in Encino. He graduated with a bachelor of science degree in parks and recreation administration from California State University Northridge. He also completed two years of graduate school at California State University San Bernardino with a psychology major.
In addition to being a field representative for State Senator Fuller, Schooler is a licensed real estate agent.
With his wife Dawn, to whom he has been married for more than 30 years, Schooler has five grown children, who live in the Bay Area, Central Coast and in San Diego County.
Those who wish to learn more about Schooler and his candidacy can do so at www.electjimschooler.com.