By Molly Davis and Joe Nelson Staff Writers
Posted: 05/05/2011 09:23:20 PM PDT
MENTONE – San Bernardino County Supervisor Neil Derry didn’t waste any time getting to the question he knew was likely on everybody’s mind during a meeting Wednesday evening with the Redlands Tea Party Patriots at the Mill Creek Cattle Co.
“Let’s get rid of the big elephant in the room,” Derry told the group of about 100 people at the restaurant.
Though he said he couldn’t go into any detail about his pending criminal case, he made it very clear what his intentions were.
“I can’t discuss the facts with you, but I’m going to fight it. I will not resign,” Derry said.
He said the same thing to a group of about 40 members of the Big Bear Democratic Club in Big Bear Lake on Tuesday night, said Derry’s chief
of staff, George Watson.
Watson said Derry will not let the criminal charges stand in the way of him doing his job, and has no plans to cancel any public appearances or meetings.
Last week, the state Attorney General’s Office charged Derry with two felonies – perjury and filing a false record – and one misdemeanor count of failing to report a campaign contribution.
Derry stands accused of laundering a $5,000 contribution from Highland developer Arnold Stubblefield through a political action committee controlled by former county Assessor Bill Postmus. It is the same political action committee prosecutors believe Postmus used to conceal a $100,000 bribe he received in 2007 for voting in favor of the county’s landmark $102 million settlement with Rancho Cucamonga developer Colonies Partners LP.
Colonies co-managing partner Jeffrey Burum denies the allegations.
Postmus, on March 28, pleaded guilty to 14 felonies in the Colonies case and has agreed to turn state’s evidence in exchange for reduced charges.
Derry campaigned for supervisor in 2008 on a platform of ethics and government transparency, and pushed for a Sunshine Ordinance to make government records more easily accessible to the public. He’s proposed cuts in benefits and perks to county supervisors, district attorney’s investigators and Superior Court judges that have been met with controversy and criticism.
“I’ve pledged to cut benefit packages (for county officials). I figure we shouldn’t give big pay raises,” he said during Wednesday’s meeting. “We have to lead by example.”
He said all of his expenses are online and available for people to critique.
“Needless to say, I’ve made a lot of people angry (by posting that information),” he said.
He spoke in favor of small government and limiting public health care at the county level, and his goal to increase tourism dollars by taking advantage of the attractions in the third district that he represents.
He said the county needed organizations like the Tea Party to “kick the Republican Party in the butt.”
“I think he’s on the right track,” Terri Wimer said.
The event’s other guest speaker, former state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, talked to the group about state government and what he thinks is going wrong in Sacramento.
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