The escalation of actions between the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors and District Attorney Mike Ramos can be described in no other words than “Political War”.
While county supervisors sweep their offices for surveillance devices, Ramos tramples over Title 18 of the United States Code in his quest for political dominance in the county.
Title 18 covers violation of civil rights under color of law.
Something that now appears to have finally caught the eye of federal investigators.
The war of words and arrests has escalated to the point that to many outside observers it has become apparent something stinks.
The last two weeks has brought the following events from the Ramos camp, with California Attorney General “I wanna be Gov” Edmund “Jerry” Brown drinking the kool-aide in tow.
First, Ramos charged two former county officials with several felonies including conspiracy, extortion and bribery, related to a $102 million settlement with Colonies Partners.
Second, Ramos lists five “un-named” and “un-charged” co-conspirators in the charging documents. The only problem here? Stevie Wonder could figure out who they are. Two of the five were Supervisor Paul Biane and Mark Kirk, Chief of Staff to Board of Supervisors Chairman Gary Ovitt.
Ramos has repeatedly made it clear the un-named parties could be charged.
Third, Ramos accuses county supervisors of threatening to cut his departments budget. Ramos hasn’t figured out the county budget is shrinking due to the bad economy. Ramos instead wants another $3 million.
Fourth, Ramos was quoted in a local newspaper article last week as having said he will look closely at the political contributions made to any challenger to his re-election. Clearly a threat meant to intimidate.
Fifth, in a column in yesterday’s Press Enterprise newspaper, Assistant District Attorney James Hackleman made it clear Supervisor Paul Biane could still be charged for failing to properly disclose travel with local businessmen in 2008, even though Ramos had directed the matter be referred to the Fair Political Practices Commission for investigation.
Rumors are now circulating that Ramos has directed his investigators to search for anything they can find to charge or at a minimum politically damage Third District Supervisor Neil Derry. Derry is viewed by Ramos as an enemy and not supportive of his agenda.
Additionally, there is unconfirmed reports that outside investigators have been making inquiries throughout the county. The focus of the questioning has not been the “ongoing” corruption investigation. The focus being Ramos himself.
Combine all the above with the fact the lead legal counsel to county supervisors couldn’t keep a secret if her life depended on it, and you have understandable concern.
It will be interesting to see if a surprise challenge to Ramos emerges before the March 12 closing deadline.