LANCASTER – Mayoral candidate David Abber is known to many as the man who was involved in an altercation with Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris at a 24-hour Fitness Gym two years ago.
“I was standing by the racquetball courts when the mayor walked up to me, swore at me, shoved me into the glass and assumed a fighting position, and then ran away,” Abber said Wednesday. “But that’s old news, that’s not what this election is about.”
The election is about restoring civil rights back to the City of Lancaster, protecting citizens’ religious beliefs, creating jobs for residents, and providing educational and recreational programs for youths, seniors and veterans, said Abber, who is making his third bid for Lancaster Mayor in the April 10 election.
“I’m about the people of Lancaster, not just the chosen few,” Abber said.
David Abber is a semi-retired widower with grown children who has called Lancaster his home for about 40 years. He spent time in the aerospace industry – at both Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman – and ran a Lancaster nightclub in the 1970s at The Sand Sailor hotel. These days, he operates Abber Tickets, a ticket broker business where fans can purchase tickets to popular concerts and big name sporting events like the Superbowl.
“Through my tickets business, I’ve met many people, presidents of companies and banks, aerospace companies, machine shops, clothing shops and sporting apparel,” Abber said. “I’ve been speaking to these people over the last 10 to 12 years.”
Abber said he has established a dialogue with major power players who would consider moving their operations to Lancaster, creating many jobs for residents. But he says it won’t happen as long as the current leadership is in place.
“They don’t want to come here because of Rex,” Abber said. “They want nothing to do with Rex and the way he runs things.”
Abber has several issues with the way the current administration “runs things.” Among them is what he believes to be discrimination against citizens who are on the Section 8 Housing Program and the planned Aerial Surveillance System or ‘Eye in the Sky.’
“The Eye in the Sky is nothing more than a spy plane, a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution,” Abber said. “We already have a helicopter for air support for the Sheriff that doesn’t create a further burden to the taxpayers… if the mayor is afraid for his safety then he should go back into private practice chasing ambulances.”
Abber said he is also concerned about the mayor’s purchase of redevelopment property.
“I’m very concerned about the [former] McMahan [furniture] building that the mayor bought that was a redevelopment property… I think that’s something that needs to be investigated further,” Abber said, adding that he believes the purchase to be a conflict of interest. “He bought that building for $600,000, it’s worth five or six million dollars.”
Abber said he does not dislike Parris and wishes the best for the mayor and his family. Rather, he says the two are simply opposites.
“I’m for uniting this community and he’s for dividing it, he’s for a small group of people and I’m for all citizens,” Abber said. “So it’s not dislike… I love everybody.”
Abber said his love for the citizens of Lancaster prompted him to get involved in local politics more than 30 years ago, and he said he’s been very active in local politics for the past 20 years. That activism spurred him to action in 2000, when he made his first bid for Lancaster mayor. Abber ran against Frank Roberts, the first elected Mayor of Lancaster.
“In 2000, I ran for the children… we were number one in child abuse here and that was something I was very concerned with,” Abber said. “We [also] had problems with redevelopment. Redevelopment was out of control, as it was clear to the end, with Lancaster lending $50 million to redevelopment recently. Redevelopment does not exist anymore so obviously we’re not going to get that money back.”
Abber says he ran for mayor of Lancaster again in 2004 and then ran for City Council in 2006 and 2010.
Though unsuccessful so far, Abber said he continues to run for office because he is passionate about protecting the rights of all citizens.
“My number one priority is civil rights, restoring the civil rights that I see being trampled on,” Abber said. “I’m about bringing jobs here, I’m about education, I’m about the children, I’m about the seniors, I’m about the veterans… I’m about equality for everyone and I’m into uniting this Valley.”
*This is one in a series of profiles The AV Times has published featuring Lancaster mayoral and city council candidates. We previously published profiles featuring mayoral candidate David Paul and council candidates John Kiramis, Michael Rives, Isaac Grajeda, Ken Mann and Sandra Johnson. Profiles are published in random order.