Janice Rutherford

Sunday, December 5, 2010 – 09:30 a.m.
Last Updated: Deceember 5, 2010 – 01:00 p.m.

Incoming county supervisor Janice Rutherford, who will be sworn into office Monday at noon, has an early test coming her way next month.

The test being whether or not she will support former colleague Josie Gonzales for chairperson of the board. A two-year irrevocable term.

The way the tea leaves look right now Rutherford is the deciding vote. Her four colleagues appear split.

Yes, Gonzales can vote for herself on this one.

Gonzales, who has had her share of problems and missteps, is next in line to succeed chairman Gary Ovitt. That’s on a seniority basis of course. A pattern and practice usually, but not always followed by past boards.

However, primarily due to her cognitive abilities, Gonzales has been a disruptive presence as well. Often embarrassing the board and causing problems for county staffers.

Even her own staff has completely turned-over staff almost three time in six years.

What is even more problematic for Rutherford here is Gonzales appears to be a person who is a focus of the recent federal investigation into county-owned and operated Arrowhead Regional Medical Center.

A sitting board chair being implicated in a scandal would cause significant disruption.

Rutherford is under the heavy lobby of newly-elected Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren to stick with the “it’s her turn” scenario for her close friend and ally Gonzales.

While Rutherford has crossed paths with Gonzales on the Fontana City Council, the two aren’t really that close. After all, Gonzales who supported outgoing Supervisor Paul Biane, called Rutherford an “extremist” during the campaign.

At the same time there are others, who would like to see a weak board chair, because that person would be easier to control and manipulate. I’ll leave those names to the imagination. But they’re not hard to figure out.

One in particular is developer Lewis Group of Companies headquartered in Upland. Both Gonzales and Rutherford have had a long-term relationship with Randall Lewis, Richard Lewis, and the late David Lewis. Another beneficiary of a Gonzales ascension to the chairmanship is District Attorney Mike Ramos. Gonzales and Ramos have been strident supporters of each other, particularly over the past few years. Ramos has done everything in his power to shield Gonzales from scrutiny, and Gonzales likewise with Ramos.

Ramos, who has been frantically trying top convince federal investigators he’s clean, has a tough and unpleasant year ahead in the upcoming year.

District Attorney Mike Ramos

However the choice for Rutherford is pretty easy.

Sanity or circus?

Proper decorum or Mr. Rogers Neighborhood?

True reformer or all talk?

With federal prosecutors watching pretty much everything happening in the county it’ll be interesting to see her actions.

Enough said…..