Monday, May 23, 2011 – 11:40 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 – 09:45 a.m.

You can really tell when Mike Brossart has a problem these days.

Mr. Brossart is the Opinion/Editorial Page editor for The Sun and Inland Valley Daily Bulletin newspapers.

Lately, Mr. Brossart has been taking the wood to anyone or anything with any connection to the Colonies criminal case and incumbent Third District Supervisor Neil Derry.

Don’t fool yourself into believing some altruistic editorial board actually meets on a daily basis and decides the content of opinion pieces written by Mr. Brossart.

They don’t.

Last Monday the paper ran to the defense of San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Chairman James Ramos.

Ramos, who the previous day had announced his candidacy to unseat Derry, was met with a pointed response to Ramos’ announcement from Derry’s campaign.

A response Mr. Brossart apparently didn’t care for. Thus came the publishing of “Derry deflects with cheap shot” editorial.

Then on Sunday Mr. Brossart tee’s up a new piece attacking Jim Erwin, Jeff Burum, Neil Derry and the San Bernardino County Safety Employees Benefit Association (SEBA).

What a shocker!

The same Jim Erwin who left SEBA employment over four years ago.

Yesterday’s diatribe was triggered by a proposal from Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales. The proposal in question is to cap campaign contributions to county politicians and candidates.

Yes, a proposal from the same Gonzales who sports more than $800,000 in her campaign coffers.

Laugh out loud!

I bet she would like to cap any challengers contributions.

In his latest piece of scholarly design, Mr. Brossart is crying about Colonies Partner’s contributing $550,000, over a period of years, to SEBA’s political action committee; SEBA spending $400,000 on Derry’s campaign; and SEBA spending $660,000 on three supervisors who supported the Colonies settlement, while spending money opposing two supervisors who opposed the settlement.

Thus the need for campaign finance reforms in San Bernardino County.

Conspiracy theorists of the world unite!

Mr. Brossart overlooked the $225,000 in contributions that Ramos’ San Manuel Band of Mission Indians donated to the SEBA PAC, or the thousands of dollars donated by other Southern California Tribes.

Mr. Brossart also overlooked the hundreds of thousands of dollars Colonies Partners donated to the SEBA Children’s Charities Fund.

In all fairness, it should be noted San Manuel and other tribes also support the charity.

Mr. Brossart must have also have forgotten about U.S. Supreme Court decisions determining that independent expenditure committees have no spending limits.

A concept that is routinely used to circumvent campaign finance restrictions.

Of course, you never know, the Supreme Court Justices might also be involved in the Colonies conspiracy.

Well it’s possible.

So with all this in mind let’s ponder a few questions.

Of the two county supes that opposed the Colonies Settlement, Dennis Hansberger and Gonzales specifically, SEBA opposed Hansberger and help defeat him. On the other hand SEBA initially supported John Longville over Gonzales, but has continuously supported Gonzales since her election.

Did Mr. Brossart mislead his small audience of readers on this point?

On the issue of the legal contributions to the SEBA PAC.

SEBA members pay some $400,000 per year into the committee. A formidable amount even without any other donors.

Meaning outside contributors may have some impact, but are not determinate of what the union’s board of directors does.

Was the San Manuel money used to aid Derry?

Was it meant to buy off the union’s board to support Ramos when the time came?

Or, was it just a show of support for the union?

I’m sure SEBA members will make their feelings known in regards to what direction the union takes in the election.

Frankly it’s times they do.

It’s no wonder the size of the Monday through Saturday editions of both of the newspapers is now the logistical equivalent of less than a roll of toilet paper.

Here’s the contributions from the San Manuel Band of Mission indians to SEBA:

DATE         AMOUNT
11/01/2005   $50,000.00
04/26/2006   $50,000.00
11/01/2008   $25,000.00
06/26/2009   $50,000.00
03/02/2010   $50,000.00

It should also be noted that Mr. Brossart was instrumental in assuring the suicide of real estate executive David Lewis was barely mentioned by the newspapers.