Sunday, October 15, 2012 – 07:45 p.m.

HIGHLAND— San Manuel Tribal Member James Ramos appears to be on the defensive these days.

The Board of Supervisors candidate, who has already ducked out on two forums in Lucerne Valley and Yucca Mesa, is now giving Loma Linda the cold shoulder.

After two dismal performances, in candidate forums in Joshua Tree and Highland, Ramos appears to be running away from any events that might contain hard questioning from attendees. Instead Ramos is focusing on so-called pre-planned ”meet and greet” events, containing more friendly audiences.

Ramos’ defiance is a new wrinkle that has frustrated many local business and community leaders.

To further complicate matters, Supervisor Neil Derry, whom Ramos is challenging, is raising serious questions related to Ramos’ claim that he’s a successful small businessman.

In another new development, Ramos, in an interview carried in The Press Enterprise newspaper published October 13th, when confronted, admitted he had permanently closed two of his four businesses, and his remaining two restaurants, located in San Bernardino and Highland, were struggling.

Yet, Ramos insisted he knew how to bring jobs to the county.