Supervisor says new shape could leave rival out of race
James Rufus Koren, Staff Writer
Posted: 05/21/2011 08:27:17 AM PDT

Supervisor Neil Derry and his campaign manager say challenger James Ramos, chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, might not live in Derry’s district once the boundaries of county supervisorial districts are redrawn later this year.

And Derry, along with the other four county supervisors, will have a say in shaping the new districts. Ramos’ campaign said removing the San Manuel reservation from Derry’s district would amount to gerrymandering – the practice of drawing a district to benefit a particular candidate or party.

“It would be a gerrymander to exclude it,” said Ramos campaign manager Dave Gilliard. “We feel the majority of the board will do the right thing and draw the lines in a fair manner. That means not drawing the lines to cut someone out.”

Derry campaign manager Chris Jones said last week that the union representing San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies has not endorsed Derry in part because the election is more than a year away and the new district lines have yet to be drawn.

“Redistricting hasn’t even taken place,” Jones said. “There’s a strong possibility Mr. Ramos won’t even live in the 3rd District.”

Jones later said that he has no particular knowledge or insight into what the county’s new supervisorial districts will look like and that he was only making a prediction based on the county’s shifting population.

Derry, who faces felony and misdemeanor charges for allegedly failing to report a $5,000 campaign contribution that prosecutors believe was laundered through a political action committee controlled by former county Assessor Bill Postmus, said Jones “is not involved in the policy issue” of redistricting, but he also said it’s clearly possible that the San Manuel reservation will be drawn out of the 3rd District.

Derry’s district includes Grand Terrace, Loma Linda, Redlands, Highland, northeast San Bernardino, Yucaipa, Yucca Valley, Big Bear Lake and other mountain communities. He said he expects the district to shift east, picking up more desert communities and dropping its piece of San Bernardino.

“I moved from my north end house in San Bernardino because I saw the very real possibility that my house in San Bernardino was very likely going to be drawn out of the 3rd district,” said Derry, who now lives in Redlands.

He said the San Manuel reservation is surrounded by the city of San Bernardino and would therefore be part of another district if the 3rd District doesn’t include any part of the city.

Maps show the reservation borders the city of San Bernardino to the south and west, but borders the San Bernardino National Forest to the north and east.

Gilliard said the county population numbers he has seen indicate that the San Manuel reservation, where Ramos lives, will remain part of the 3rd district. But if the reservation gets pulled into another district, Gilliard said Ramos still will face Derry in 2012.

“Not only would it be a gerrymander (to exclude the reservation from the 3rd District), but it would be an exercise in futility,” Gilliard said. “James owns several homes in San Bernardino County.”

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