Saturday, January 22, 2011 – 11:00 a.m.

The month of January has proven to be a very entertaining month in San Bernardino County government circles.

The highlight, so far, was the election of Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales as Chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors.

Gonzales was elected on a 3-2 split vote with Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford the deciding vote.

Now that most people have overcome their disgust with the whole situation comes the behind-the-scenes chatter.

People are irritated.

Among the irritated is some of Rutherford’s donors.

Apparently several Rutherford donors are unhappy. Particularly those with ties to county-owned and operated Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC).

First, they (many physicians and staffers) don’t understand why Rutherford did what she did. They don’t buy her “past practice” excuse either.

Second, they know first-hand Gonzales’ involvement in the ARMC scandal that led to the ongoing federal investigation.

Third, combined the group can be a significant donor base if need be.

Staff at the hospital want the county cleaned up. They believed Rutherford’s campaign rhetoric about ethics and reform. However, with less than six week in office Rutherford has disappointed them all.

A careless move considering Rutherford was elected with a 2014 challenger already in the wings.

There are several upcoming votes which fall under the category of “Cleaning up the county” on the horizon for Rutherford.

The question once again is will it be “Go along, Get along” or “Time for a change.”?

On a side note: Apparently self-anointed power broker Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren wants a sit-down with Third District Supervisor Neil Derry.

Derry, apparently the only conscience on the board, publicly made a case for not appointing Gonzales, which wasn’t pretty.

Derry rightfully accused Gonzales of being in opposition to every reform measure he has proposed, and also disclosed her involvement in the ARMC fiasco.

Warren, a close friend and former colleague to both Rutherford and Gonzales is displeased with Derry’s statement. Even if it is true.

Interestingly, Press-Enterprise columnist Cassie MacDuff said in her Thursday column this week that Gonzales now supports Derry’s reform initiatives!