Wednesday, January 12, 2011 – 11:00 a.m.
The problems plaguing San Bernardino County government were on display in plain view at Tuesdays board meeting.
County supervisors duked it out over the election of Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales to a two-year term as board chair.
Each supervisor had a role.
Third District Supervisor Neil Derry presented his reasoning for not supporting Gonzales for the boards top spot. Derry cited Gonzales continuous opposition to reform and her involvement in the scandal at county-owned an operated Arrowhead Regional Medical Center. A situation warranting a federal investigation.
First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt also voted against Gonzales’ appointment saying his reasons were different than those of Supervisor Derry, but swallowed his microphone and refused to elaborate.
Fourth District Supervisor Gary Ovitt tried to dupe his colleagues by telling them they had no choice but to appoint Gonzales. Basically a statement he knew to be false.
When Mitzelfelt challenged him on his assertion, Ovitt admitted as much.
Newly-elected Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford, who as of a few days ago told newspapers she was undecided on whom she would support for chair, actually at the time was indeed decided. Rutherford supported Gonzales citing her reason as 40 years of board tradition of seniority advancement
Rutherford apparently forgot all those campaign promises she had made about ethics and reform.
However, insecurity must have set-in after the the conclusion of the board meeting. Rutherford actually issued a statement trying to justify her position and vote.
State Senator and Republican Leader Bob Dutton, who has already formed a supervisorial committee for 2014 to potentially oppose Rutherford, is probably rolling on the floor laughing right about now.
Then we have Gonzales, who looked white as a sheet spouting talk of ethics and serving taxpayer interests, during her remarks after being elected. The only thing missing was a denial of Derry’s assertions.
All Gonzales would say is “As of yet these allegations have no foundation.”
“As of yet”? What does this imply?
A statement far from a denial.
Gonzales knows what’s up and it’s only a matter of time.
Interestingly, Derry made his public statements at yesterdays meeting based upon information given to him by hospital physicians and employees.
Gonzales responded to papers with information contained in a federal search warrant. Something she was probably admonished not to do.
What lessons will supervisors learn from Tuesdays meeting? Not much.
They’re too concerned about being embarrassed from the dirty laundry aired in Wednesdays newspapers. The standard phrase “Derry is making the county look bad.” comes into play here.
Even more so, they’re are pissed Derry went to the feds on the whole county hospital situation.
However, they have learned that when Derry says he’s going to publicly make a statement, he will.
Sources say Derry spoke with Rutherford before the meeting and informed her of his position. Rutherford apparently didn’t believe him.
During the meeting, when Derry indicated he had comments regarding Gonzales, Rutherford’s head snapped towards Derry in what looked like shock.
Lastly, newly-elected Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren was making her presence known at Tuesdays meeting. Warren, the self-appointed consort to Rutherford and Gonzales is making it clear she’s angry at Derry for laying out her friend and former colleague.
Does Derry really care?