Written by Administrator
April 26th, 2010 at 12:55 pm

It is expected that the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors will discuss the California Attorney General’s request that the county waive its attorney-client privilege regarding the $102 million Colonies settlement in closed session during their April 27, 2010, regularly-scheduled meeting. Second District Supervisor Paul Biane and Fourth District Supervisor Gary Ovitt have both recused themselves. Third District Supervisor Neil Derry and Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales have suggested they will vote in favor of waiving privilege. Only Supervisor Mitzelfelt has not committed one way or another.

In a strongly-worded letter, Senior Assistant Attorney General Gary Schons threatened county supervisors with legal action if they did not waive their attorney-client privilege. However, the supervisors’ duty is to the citizens of San Bernardino County, not an Attorney General grandstanding for political benefit.

It is easy to argue that if there was nothing criminal about the Colonies Settlement, then supervisors should not hide behind attorney-client privilege. It certainly would be good public relations for a board that is anything but transparent. But there is more at stake here than simply determining wrongdoing. The county at this point is out $102 million but it has a significant chance to recover some of that money. It would be short-sighted if the three remaining supervisors did exactly what former chairman Bill Postmus and former vice-chairman Paul Biane did and ignore legal advice. Derry, Gonzales and Mitzelfelt need to look at what is best for the taxpayers of San Bernardino County for a change, not what is best for their re-election hopes.

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