Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Created: 03/12/2010 08:38:30 PM PST

A dozen candidates will be running against incumbents or appointed San Bernardino County officials on the Board of Supervisors, in the Sheriff’s Department and the offices of district attorney and assessor in the June primary.

In Los Angeles County, there was little apparent county-wide interest — with one exception — in running for office. In the assessor’s race, 11 candidates filed papers by Friday’s 5 p.m deadline.

San Bernardino County Supervisor Paul Biane, who represents the county’s Fourth District, faces the most competition. Five people are vying for his seat.

“I got the best seat in the county I guess,” Biane said Friday.

Biane’s opponents include Fontana City Councilwoman Janice Rutherford, Rancho Cucamonga resident Arthur Bustamonte, Crestline residents Dennis H. Labadie and Peter “Scott” Markovich and Rancho Cucamonga resident Greg Warner.

Despite the heavy competition and some reputable candidates running against him, Biane says he is confident that his record of providing his communities with essential services and programs will speak loudly to the voters.

“I have a proven track record of delivering, but I also have a record my opponents can attack,” said Biane. “But I think when they sift through the information they will see all the good I’ve brought to the county and give me another four years.”

Two of Biane’s biggest challengers are Rutherford, a Fontana councilwoman of 10 years, and Bustamonte, a former police officer who has served on the Chaffey Joint Union High School District’s board of trustees for the last 14 years.

“We have a lot of very important issues facing the county – serious budget problems, job losses, families facing foreclosure – and yet our county is distracted from addressing those issues because of the cloud of ethical problems,” said Rutherford, who also works as a taxpayer liaison for state Board of Equalization Second District representative Barbara Alby.

“I’m running to help restore the taxpayers’ trust in their government and to increase the transparency of that government . . .”

Board of Supervisors Chairman Gary Ovitt, who represents the county’s Fourth District, has two challengers: Ontario residents Ron Wall and Richard Galvez.

Sheriff Rod Hoops is being challenged by two of his deputies, Mark Averbeck and Paul Schrader, and Rancho Cucamonga resident Alfred Palazzo will run against Assessor Dennis Draeger.

District Attorney Michael A. Ramos has two challengers, San Bernardino attorney Frank H. Guzman and Barstow attorney Bob Conaway.

Conaway, a Barstow lawyer of more than 20 years, has made unsuccessful runs for Congress, county supervisor and the Barstow Community College District.

Guzman, an attorney of 25 years, is a former Riverside County prosecutor and trial attorney. He ran unsuccessfully against Ramos in 2002.

“It’s going to be a good campaign. We’ll run on Mike’s record, and I think the community will respond favorably,” said Ramos’ political consultant, David Ellis.

He said Guzman appears soft on corruption and has a weak platform.

As to Conaway, Ellis said, “I think he might be confusing his community college and congressional campaigns with the D.A.’s race this year.”

Ellis said he and Ramos were surprised to see that former San Bernardino County District Attorney Dennis Stout was bowing out of the race.

“We were all locked and loaded on Stout,” Ellis said.

Stout, who served as district attorney from 1994 to 2002, said in a statement Friday that there “is no place for politics in a district attorney’s office,” and that the only reason he considered another run is because Ramos “has violated every principle that I consider important for a public prosecutor.”

Stout said he couldn’t “threaten the contributors of my opponents with criminal investigations” or “arrest people who are presumed to be innocent under our laws,” referring to the district attorney’s and attorney general’s ongoing corruption probe of the Assessor’s Office and the county’s $102 million legal settlement with a Rancho Cucamonga developer in November 2006.

Ellis said Stout’s allegations are like the pot calling the kettle black, alluding to a 2002 controversy Stout had been ensnared in.

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