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Lunch With Candidate James Ramos

By   /   October 31, 2011  /   3 Comments

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Yucca Valley, Ca.- James Ramos, candidate for 3rd District Supervisor and his campaign manager, Betsy Starbuck, met with me for a bi-partisan lunch at the Rib Co. restaurant to discuss bi-partisan issues of the Morongo Basin and the 3rd District.

It was a very lively and informative meeting as we discussed common goals and unemployment problems in the San Bernardino County.  Ramos feels education is the key to prepare citizens with new job skills when the economy bounces back.  Unemployment does not have a (D) or (R) next to the person seeking a job and both sides of the aisle need to work together.

James Ramos has received several bi-partisan endorsements to include Congressman Jerry Lewis in his bid for Supervisor of the 3rd District.  He will be facing incumbent Neil Derry in the upcoming election if Assemblyman Paul Cook decides to run for Congress.  It is still not known if  Lewis will run again for office even though his lovely wife is encouraging him to consider retirement.

Some of the local issues we discussed included the mandated sewers for Yucca Valley, the abandoned Golf Course and the gaming casino proposed for Joshua Tree.  I also informed Ramos of my concerns for the proposed animal shelter to be built jointly with SB County funds at a controversial site which will not be suitable in the long term.

Ramos would like to talk with our community at a “Meet & Greet” to hear from our local citizens about their concerns.  Running on a Bi-Partisan endorsement platform, he feels this is the only way to find solutions to our “bi-partisan” problems.

To learn more about James Ramos, please visit his website: James Ramos for Supervisor


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About the author

Margo Sturges

Yucca Valley Editor

Note: Margo Sturges has written many articles for Cactus Thorns and is the founder of Citizens4Change.info. Email contact: MargoSturgesYV(at)aol.com "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."- George Orwell


  1. desertrider desertrider says:

    Nice post Margo, you say you discussed some key issues but do not relate what his answers were.
    You say you “also informed Ramos of my concerns for the proposed animal shelter to be built jointly with SB County funds at a controversial site which will not be suitable in the long term” is that the consensus or your opinion, do you have a suggestion as to a more suitable and less costly location? How about the abandon golf course? The current proposal (and mind you I have not been following it closely) seems suitable and fiscally responsible, what is your issue with it?
    You say Mr. Ramos “feels education is the key to prepare citizens with new job skills when the economy bounces back” how does he plan on making that work is more government his answer? What is his opinion of the past and present County Off-Road Vehicle Ordinance and related regulation, What is his stance on Johnson Valley OHV area and Marine Base expansion.
    You mention bi-partisan several times, from my experiences bi-partisan to a (D) means (R)’s take it in the shorts. You say unemployment doesn’t have a (D) or an (R) next to the person seeking a job, but mostly people with a (D) next to their name are the reason those people are without a job, unless of course you listen to OWS crowd
    Are you planning on doing an interview with Mr. Derry or are we to take this post as your endorsement of Mr. Ramos?
    You concern me as of late because while you claim “Republican” you seem to do “Democrat” The way you have attacked Mr.’s Haggerman and Nuami, now this and I see you have a new site “citizens4change” sounds really close to what the current administration campaigned on, and I don’t know about you but I’m none too pleased with the change he has forced upon us.
    My apologies if I offend, not my intention. But if so you would not be the first.
    PS. Again if you have more on the interview, please post it.

    PPS. I eagerly await the peanut galleries deriding remarks about how all problems are the cause of George W Bush or Wall Street fat cats.

    • Hello Desertrider, Thank you for your thoughtful comment and I am not offended. The questions you ask are very valid and I have provided a detailed response to each one. I will keep to the format of your comment and address them in the same order with complete honesty on my part.
      1. Lunch with Candidate James Ramos-This first meeting was just to get acquainted and was not an investigative interview on my part asking the tough questions. Ramos met with some folks at Copper Mountain College earlier in the morning to familiarize himself with the area. I did not ask who he met with because I did not feel it was any of my business, I am that way.

      2. Ramos did not have any answers to some “key issues” that I brought up because he was hearing about them for the first time. It is up to him to do his homework; I just gave him an overview of some of my concerns.

      3. Animal Shelter-I have written five or six stories on this blog about the proposed $3.5 million dollar animal shelter to document the “challenge” stated by six architect firms regarding this unsuitable/challenged site of a 5 acre parcel where only 1.2 acres are usable, among other problems. The proposed site is in a residential area with no room to expand to meet the future needs of our area. The question was asked of the YV Planning Commission, “Do you see this shelter meeting our needs 30-40 years from now at this site?” Their answer was no and it was voted down 5-0. Parties much closer to the issue have informed me the town manager turned down a more suitable site that was offered at a very, very low price located next to the proposed Youth Sports Park. There was a payment plan proposed to this $3.5 million dollar debacle of “no payments for five years” and then Yucca Valley will begin to make payments. This proposal from a town manager who may not be around when all of this kicks in. An investment of $3.5 million dollars should be long term and not an overpriced Band-Aid, in my opinion, and that of six different architect firms.

      4. Desertrider, I do not know which current proposal you deem suitable for the golf course because there have been many suggestions. The most recent was for the gaming casino to be built there instead of Joshua Tree. Presently the Hi-Desert Water District is trying to purchase the “note” not the “trust deed” to control the water rights. The Bank of Nara is the holder of the note and has not been successful in foreclosing on the Korean investors that borrowed the money. The Bank of Nara is a Korean Bank. I had lunch with Bob Bihr, Vice President of this bank around three years ago, to discuss the best use for the property. He contacted me through the internet to get a read on the situation from a common citizen. Since I was a Yucca Valley Planning Commissioner at the time, I cleared the meeting in advance with Town Manager Andy Takata and turned in a report of my meeting to him the following day which I also disclosed to the Bank of Nara representative. The HDWD has spent thousands of dollars with attorney fees in pursuit of this note and was about to sign on the dotted line to shell out $750,000 when I pointed out to them there was a parcel missing in the proposed transaction. They did not even do a simple title search on the property which would have caught this error. Recently, the town of Yucca Valley hinted they may be interested in purchasing the property for a “water shed” project. No one has the millions of dollars needed to rehab the golf course with a questionable profitable future that will not pencil out, especially since the course would have been stripped by the HDWD of the rights to purchase water below wholesale prices.

      5. Ramos mentioned the importance of education and it must have been imprinted on him if you have a chance to read his education background. He did not propose any “government plan” nor did I ask him if he had one.

      6. The important issues of County Off Road Vehicle Ordinance, Johnson Valley OHV or the expansion of the Marine Base were not brought up by me because I am not keenly knowledgeable in those areas. Ramos should be contacted directly with these questions and possibly arrange to gather 30-40 people to meet with him. He wants to meet with the citizens in our area to be brought up to speed.

      7. I mention bi-partisan several times because it is the only way anything is going to get done with this dysfunctional government. Our country is going down the toilet and there are enough D’s and R’s that are complete jerks, in my opinion. Bi-partisan is not a four letter word unless someone is far left or far right unwilling to do the right thing for our country because their own party has them in lock step. There are many citizens from both side of the aisle that have lost their job and have lost their homes. I am only one major illness away from being in the same boat. In the meantime, our country is on life support and each party is trying to pull the plug in the name of politics.

      8. Neil Derry- I would love to have lunch with Neil and Alan Rasmussen for an “interview.” Neil swore me in at my installation dinner as President of the Yucca Valley Republican Federated two years ago and I see both of them often at several different functions on a monthly basis. I think Neil should meet with the citizens of Twentynine Palms since he is now their Supervisor and Brad Mitzelfelt is not due to the recent changes in the district boundaries. It would be prudent to ask Derry direct about his positions on the Off Road Ordinance, yes? Assemblyman Paul Cook will be swearing in the new Republican Women slate this month.

      9. My casual lunch with James Ramos was not an endorsement and I was very careful in my post to stay neutral. I am contractually obligated in my position NOT to endorse anyone from any party, period. ( I think I could have brokered a three way Candidate Forum with Derry, Ramos and Cook to inform the citizens.) Their offices are following Cactus Thorns and I have forwarded this story link to them. This Blog has really impressed the readers with the professionalism in following local politics and there are journalists with the Los Angeles Times checking out this blog. I think Dan O’Brien has worked very hard on his blog to reflect his own personality while allowing for freedom of speech.

      10. My beef with YV Councilman Isaac Hagerman and YV Town Manager Mark Nuaimi are about the stupid things they say and do when they attack me personally. This has nothing to do with any “R” or “D” behind their names. Their hang-ups appear to be gender related in their zest to bully an older lady when I post a story. Often, they are unable to address the issues. The same can be said of Yucca Valley Planning Commission Chair Tim Humphreville who was appointed by his fellow crony.

      11. My new site, Citizens4Change.info, is an index site to link back to the stories posted on Cactus Thorns in an organized fashion which was okay with DanO. For example: Cora has posted some excellent articles about Twentynine Palms…..where are they now? One click on Twentynine Palms will have links to the archive posts. The tag line for this site is Citizens4Change for Responsible Government. A citizen advocacy through education and voter registration to rid the cronyism that exists on our local level and restoring transparency in government. I wanted a name that was short and catchy but is NOT the mantra of our present government. (Thanks for the heads up- I will focus on dispelling that myth.)

      12. Citizens4Change.info-This site will promote government transparency and should have a slogan like…..Crooked Politicians and Dirty Diapers should be changed often for the same reasons, yep, that should work out fine…..

      13. Desertrider, thanks for asking all these questions. I too will wait for the peanut gallery to blast me for thinking bi-partisan, but I feel that is the ticket to saving our country. Our country is going down the toilet headed for the cliff and I am really ticked off as are most Americans…..there is enough blame for both sides of the aisle for taking the wrong turns….we need leadership to take hold of the steering wheel. That’s my two cents on the National level.

      On the local level of government in Yucca Valley…..don’t get me started….

      • Mark Nuaimi Mark Nuaimi says:

        Regarding the Animal Shelter, there is ample room to grow the shelter in the future. I have responded each time to the assertions that this site is unsuitable. The facts are simple: the architects hired to professionally design this shelter have arrived at a design that meets the needs of a replacement shelter, provides adequate ability for future expansion, and mitigates the impacts of the current facility on the neighboring properties.

        When the item was taken to the Planning Commission, none of the technical work had been started, no site plans were developed, no CEQA process had been launched. While the Planning Commission asked for other sites to be examined, that was not their role in the process and the item was brought to the Town Council in January of this year. The Town Council provided direction to move forward with the proposed site, work with the neighborhood to address their concerns, and see if a proposal could be brought forward that meets the needs of the Town/County and addresses the concerns of the residents to the best extent possible. We believe we have done just that.

        Concerning the assertion of only 1.2 acres of “usable” land — the current site plan actually uses 330′x300′ of the site — or roughly 2.25 acres by simple Town Manager calculations. This 2.25 acres still provides expansion capacity.

        Here is the link to the staff report that includes the site plan:


        Next there is another assertion “the town manager turned down a more suitable site that was offered at a very, very low price located next to the proposed Youth Sports Park.” No such site has been identified. No such offer has been made. No such offer has been rejected. The “Parties much closer to the issue …” are fabricating stories.

        Next there is the criticism (I think) of a repayment plan that defers payments for five years. Actually, what has been proposed in cooperation with County staff is a 20-25 year repayment plan for the Town’s share of the project. Since the Town has already contributed $437,500 in cash and additional contributions of land, in-kind services, etc., we can either reduce the debt amount and spread the payments over the term of the loan OR consider those contributions as a pre-payment on the loan. Our preferred approach is to defer the start of payments until 2020.

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