His Leadership Skills And Experience Are What Yucca Valley Needs, Leone Says

Bob Leone is seeking to return to the Yucca Valley Town Council in the March 5 special election to replace Isaac Hagerman, who resigned last July.  Leone and two others, Jennifer Collins and Michael Hildebrand, are vying to fill the remaining year and nine months that remain in Hagerman’s term.
Leone, a retired New York City and Los Angeles policeman, served 12 years on the council before deciding not to seek reelection in 2008 because of health challenges both he and his wife were then facing. They are both recovering now, Leone said, and he explained, “There are a number of issues  facing the city at this time. I would like to complete road safety projects and other ones relating to the health and well being of our community. I would like to establish a senior citizens center. I want to return to the council because I believe there is unfinished business from before that I would like to complete.”
Leone was not on the ballot in November, when George Huntington and Robert Lombardo ran unopposed, though he did surface as a write-in candidate.  That was part, Leone said, of his effort to defeat Measure U, which would have imposed a one cent sales tax in the town. Leone said he opposed Measure U, because it was a thirty year-long tax arrangement that was not dedicated to any specific application, although city officials said it would be used to defray the cost of building a municipal sewer system.
Though he supports the construction of a city sewer system, Leone said the use of an undedicated sales tax measure to fund such an undertaking was not something he favored.
“Measure U was not structured properly,” Leone said. “The major issue Yucca Valley is facing is we have a mandate from the state of California to put a sewer system in place with the first phase downtown by 2016. It is going to be very costly and an assessment will be a hardship for many people who live here and don’t have financial means or are living on fixed incomes.  Measure U was offered to pay for that, but it did not guarantee the money would be used for the sewer system and it was scheduled to last for 30 years, meaning a future city council could use that money for other purposes.  I opposed it and I took it as a victory that it failed. It only need fifty percent plus one to pass. I am in favor of a dedicated sales tax, of one-half percent, that will be used only for that purpose.”
Water and water quality is of tremendous moment in Yucca Valley, Leone said. “We need water, quality water, if we are to grow,” he said. “It is a serious problem. My own well has dropped considerably. We cannot have further septic seepage into our aquifer.  I would support a modest half cent tax that will allow for the sewer system to be built, which will encourage growth and with economic growth in the future we will increase revenue into the town’s coffers. A dedicated tax initiative will require approval of 66 percent of the voters.”
A graduate of Samuel J. Tilden High School and Brooklyn College, Leone worked as a police officer in New York and Los Angeles, before retiring to Yucca Valley in 1989. He was a member of the planning commission before he ran for the council and served three one-year terms as mayor.
“I have the experience,” he said, in responding to how he is distinguished from the others in the race. “I know how to balance a budget. I know what is necessary to cut. I know the pulse of the people. I am ready to listen to people of various political affiliations, Democrat or Republican, progressive or conservative, fundamentalist Christians or atheists, as long as they express concerns about the town. No matter what their persuasion or standing, I will take what they say into consideration. I have leadership skills. I graduated from the California League of Cities Leadership Seminar and have that certification. I know how to lead and I have common sense. I think I reflect what everyone wants in Yucca Valley, which is that basically we have a safe community, with safe streets and clean water.  I am a 77-year-old former policeman. I could have retired just about anywhere, but my choice was Yucca Valley.”

Leave a Reply