48 Applied But Only 5 Remain in the Running to Replace San Bernardino County Supervisor James Ramos

This November, San Bernardino County District 3 Supervisor James Ramos was elected to the State Assembly, leaving a vacancy on the county board until 2020. The bid to replace him became a virtual stampede, with 48 qualified candidates submitting applications for the District 3 seat. They included Ramos’ chief of staff; two former District 3 supervisors; the mayors of Barstow, Big Bear, Loma Linda, San Bernardino, and Yucaipa; a number of current and former city council members; former state legislators; San Bernardino’s GOP chair; and the head of the Inland Empire Taxpayers Association.

Talk about a crowded field!

To narrow the choices, the Board of Supervisors voted to have each candidate submit answers to a written questionnaire last week. A set of 10 questions were given to the interested parties, who had until Friday, Dec. 7 to submit their answers. Each supervisor has since selected their top 10 choices based on those responses. That yielded 13 finalists who were were interviewed on Dec. 11.

At the Dec. 11 meeting the Board narrowed the list down further to just five at recommendation of the counsel. The Board will reconvene on Thursday for a vote. The final five finalists are former Yucca Valley planning commissioner and councilwoman Dawn Rowe, Loma Linda Mayor Rhodes Rigsby, Big Bear City Councilman Bill Jahn, former congressional candidate Sean Flynn, and former State Senator Bill Emmerson.

San Bernardino’s 3rd District includes portions of San Bernardino City, Barstow, Big Bear Lake, Colton, Grand Terrace, Highland, Loma Linda, Redlands, Twentynine Palms, Yucca Valley, Yucaipa, and other unincorporated communities. The breadth of required knowledge for the next District 3 supervisor is therefore quite extensive and includes details of San Bernardino’s 2012 municipal bankruptcy.

Below is a list of the questions that were sent to all 48 candidates, courtesy of the County of San Bernardino. A list of the 13 finalists follows in order of which they were interviewed by the board on Tuesday.

District 3 Supervisor Applicant Questionnaire (Source: County of San Bernardino)

  1. What do you see as the most important priorities facing the County of San Bernardino?
  2. Please describe any unique policy experience you have in relation to County responsibilities/projects/programs/departments and provide a brief summary on your knowledge and understanding of budget and finance.
  3. Please share your thoughts on the current Countywide Vision and how it relates to issues/projects in the Third District.
  4. Relationships are critical to getting things accomplished in government. Please share what you would bring to this board in terms of your connections with community and elected leaders in the Third District, San Bernardino County, and throughout the State.
  5. If you were asked by your constituents/voters today, please share what would make you their ideal choice and describe your plans to address the needs/concerns of the Third District.
  6. Please elaborate on how you think the Endangered Species Act requirements impact Third District development projects and share your opinion on the quality of our Habitat Conservation Plan efforts.
  7. Please describe your familiarity with issues regarding utility scale solar development and your vision for renewable development within the Third District.
  8. Regarding San Bernardino International Airport, please share whether or not you believe this airport is poised to play a strong economic role in the region.
  9. The City of San Bernardino is the County Seat and shared between Third and Fifth Districts. With the County’s significant investment in the City, please describe your thoughts on the City’s recent bankruptcy and the importance of rebuilding its economic base.
  10. Recognizing you have not yet been required to fill out a State of Economic Interests for this position and, acknowledging the complexity of legal conflicts, please elaborate on any sources of income or gifts that you believe, at this time, would require you to recuse yourself from issues, agenda items or lawsuits currently in this Board’s purview

List of Qualified Applicants for San Bernardino Supervisorial District 3

  1. Janice Leja, San Bernardino County GOP Chair
  2. Dennis L. Hansberger, former District 3 supervisor
  3. Ronald Dailey, Loma Linda city councilman
  4. Chris Mann, founder of Inland Empire Taxpayers Association
  5. R. Carey Davis (Richard C. Davis), San Bernardino Mayor
  6. Jim Bagley, retired mayor of Twentynine Palms
  7. Rhodes L. Rigsby, Loma Linda Mayor
  8. Sean M. Flynn, former candidate for 31st Congressional seat
  9. Julie Hackbarth-McIntyre, Mayor of Barstow
  10. William E. Jahn, Big Bear councilman
  11. Dawn Rowe, retired Yucca Valley Planning Commissioner
  12. Tobin Brinker, retired San Bernardino city councilman
  13. William Emmerson, former state senator