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Tribal Chief James Ramos Run for San Bernardino County Supervisor Ignites War of Words

"Third District residents won’t stand for a Leona Helmsley-style politician who believes that ‘taxes are only for the little people,’ ” Neil Derry writes after James Ramos announces his intention to challenge him for his county seat.

The battle for the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisor Third District seat officially began Monday following San Manuel Tribal Chairman James Ramos’ announcement that he intended to run against incumbent Neil Derry.

Ramos made the announcement before a group of friends and supporters, according to a written statement released by Ramos.

“Over the past several months, I have received numerous phone calls from leaders in our community asking that I consider running for the Board of Supervisors," Ramos explained through the written statement on why he decided to run.

And after Third District Supervisor Neil Derry was accused of felony perjury and filing campaign documents that failed to report a $5,000 contribution, Ramos said the call for his candidacy gained a sense of urgency, he said.

“After discussing the idea with many leaders who I respect, and with my family, I have decided to announce today that I am a candidate for supervisor,” Ramos said Monday.

On April 26, the Attorney General’s office filed a complaint against Derry accusing him of felony perjury and failing to report a $5,000 contribution from Arnold Stubblefield-Highland Town Shops. Derry is also accused of failing to report Stubblefield as a contributor, which is a misdemeanor.

"The people of San Bernardino County have been let down time and time again," Ramos said. "Public faith in our institutions and elected officials is crucial in our democracy. The people cannot have faith in their government when key government officials are being indicted and being forced to recuse themselves from important duties and votes due to legal problems."

Soon after the announcement, the Derry camp released its own statement.

Referring to Ramos as the San Manuel Casino Boss, Derry called for Ramos to release his personal income and property tax records. He challenged the tribal chairman to prove he’s has been paying state or local taxes, citing a Los Angeles Times report that that his tribal chairman predecessor did not.

“Is Mr. Ramos a tax scofflaw too?” Derry wrote.

“Third District residents won’t stand for a Leona Helmsley-style politician who believes that ‘taxes are only for the little people,’ ” the statement continues. “It’s time for Casino Boss James Ramos to show his financial cards and release his tax records for public inspection.”

Derry also questioned whether Ramos was eligible to serve as an elected leader of a ‘sovereign tribal nation’ with a separate court system.  

“An elected official cannot serve two masters,” he said. “How can Mr. Ramos be held accountable for his actions when he is protected by his own tribal courts and is receiving lucrative special interest tax exemptions that are available to almost no one else in San Bernardino County?”

Ramos is an elected member of the San Bernardino Community College Board of Trustees. He holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Redlands.

He has served on numerous boards and organizations promoting business, economic and social opportunities in the greater San Bernardino area.

Ramos claimed to have the support of several local leaders, council members and public safety officials, including former third District Supervisor Dennis Hansberger, Highland City Council member Penny Lilburn, San Bernardino Mayor Patrick Morris, San Bernardino Police Chief Keith Kilmer, Redlands Mayor Peter Aguilar, Redlands City Councilman Jon Harrison and Redlands Police Chief Jim Bueermann.

MANUEL J ARMENDAREZ SR May 10, 2011 at 06:16 PM
LOOKS LIKE NEIL DERRY IS RUNNING SCARED. CAN'T FIND SOMETHING BAD TO SAY ABOUT JAMES RAMOS. JAMES RAMOS IS NOT THE "BOSS" FROM THE SAN MANUEL MISSION TRIBE HE IS THE CHAIRMAN, NEIL DERRY. GOOD TRY NEIL BUT IT'S NOT GOING TO WORK IN YOUR FAVOR. MANUEL J. ARMENDAREZ SR.
Robert Ulibarri May 11, 2011 at 02:26 PM
Humboldt County 5th District Supervisor Ryan Sunberg also sits on the Tribal Council of the Trinidad Rancheria. He does so as a citizen of his Tribe. As Supervisor, he represents the constituents of the 5th District. He does so as a citizen of the 5th District. He also votes in State elections. He does so as a citizen of the State. Finally, he votes in Federal elections as a U.S. citizen. He does not serve 5 masters but his voice represents all people of this great Coountry.
MANUEL J ARMENDAREZ SR May 11, 2011 at 06:39 PM
GREAT TO HEAR FROM YOU RYAN SUNBERG, I CERTAINLY HOPE WE HAVE MORE PEOPLE RESPOND TO THIS ARTICLE. MANUEL J ARMENDAREZ SR.
true feather May 12, 2011 at 05:07 AM
I do believe that there is a conflict of interest in this matter with the Chairman running for this position. I know for sure that not all members of his tribe are supporting him.
The People May 15, 2011 at 05:17 PM
About the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924. "American Indians today enjoy full U.S. citizenship rights, and they may absolutely run for office". INDUBITABLY !!! INDEED Indeed, people in government should be reminded that, California's Constitution, Article II, Section 1 (Purpose of government) clearly states that "All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit, and they have the right to alter or reform it when the public good may require." AT-ISSUE The number of homeless in San Bernardino County grew from 5,270 in 2002 to 7,331 in 2007 to over 10,000 today, a 100% increase. The number of unemployed in San Bernardino County grew from 8.2% in 2008 to over 16% today, a 100% increase. The number of foreclosures in San Bernardino County grew from 3.5% in 2004 to over 14% tday, a 200% increase. The number of business and entrepreneurs that left San Bernardino County, due to high taxes, grew from 2,338 in 2008 to over 7,100 today, a whooping 300% increase. The re-assessment percentage of value for real property, particularly vacant land, grew to over unprecedented 400%, as of today. The unscrupulous Assessor's Office is at best. Excellent grow. The only thing that failed to grow is the value of real property. Example: Real property value in 2007 at over $150,000 vs. today's value at less than $15,000 (Want a proof - go and see it at the High Desert Estate, Barstow)
The People May 15, 2011 at 05:20 PM
LATEST NEWS: The Ex-Assistant Assessors, County of San Bernardino is released from jail on bail. ADDITIONAL ACCUSATIONS: Appraiser(s) from San Bernardino County Assessor's office are utilizing schemes, alleged as corruptive, by introducing comparable sales, absent of adjustments, e.g., comparing land parcels that have all infrastructure, with land parcels absent of any infrastructure, which schemes resulted in over 400% valuation increase [re-assessment] of parcels absent of said infrastructure and obviously in an increase of over 400% of the Property Taxes. [Infrastructure comprising (in place): electric power systems, municipal water systems, paved and maintained county's roads, natural gas systems, et al utilities] Several new charges are pending filings before the General Attorney, State of California, not limited thereto, that Howard Jarvis Proposition 13A is being circumvented by said County's Officials, in specific by the Appraiser(s) from said County's Assessor's Office, not limited thereto that said alleged corruptive schemes were under the direction of Dennis Draeger, San Bernardino County Assessor
The People May 15, 2011 at 05:21 PM
About the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924. "American Indians today enjoy full U.S. citizenship rights, and they may absolutely run for office". INDUBITABLY !!! INDEED Indeed, people in government should be reminded that, California's Constitution, Article II, Section 1 (Purpose of government) clearly states that "All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit, and they have the right to alter or reform it when the public good may require."
Ralph Ramirez, CLU, CFP, ChFC April 01, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Yes, I read the article and forwarded the article along with an invitation to a event at a private home in Yucaipa. I have had the opportunity to meet and get to know Mr. Ramos on several occasions and found him to be knowledgable about the issues that face San Bernardino County. His effort to market the county to prospective employers is right-on and very necessary if this county is to mature into a primary employer and provide the tax base for the future.

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