Supervisor Rowe no longer acting as supervisor
San Bernardino County's appointed Third District Supervisor, Dawn Rowe, has noted she is no longer acting in "an official capacity," after an appellate court denied the county's request to stay an earlier Superior Court ruling that found Rowe's appointment was "null and void," and violated state law.
Superior Court Judge Janet M. Frangie ruled in September that the appointment process, which appeared to have predetermined Rowe's appointment, violated the Ralph M. Brown Act, the state law governing open meetings for public officials. A political advocacy organization, I.E. United, had filed suit over the illegal appointment of Rowe, a former field representative for Rep. Paul Cook, after her appointment in December, 2018. Cook, retiring from Congress, is now seeking the First District Supervisor position.
The county is planning to ask the California Supreme Court to allow Rowe to remain as supervisor while it appeals the court ruling. According to I.E. United, San Bernardino County has allocated up to $500,000 of taxpayer funds, to appeal the case. On January 8, the appellate court ordered Rowe's appointment must be rescinded. This would allow Governor Newsom to appoint a supervisor for the remainder of the current term.
The remaining members of the Board of Supervisors could vote to formally rescind Rowe's appointment at their upcoming meeting on January 28. It is unclear if Rowe, who is running for Third District Supervisor in the 2020 elections, will be listed on the ballot as "incumbent," which provides her an advantage, despite it technically not being accurate.
The governor could reappoint Rowe to the supervisor position, which some local politicians endorse. Town of Yucca Valley Mayor Jeff Drozd went as far as creating a petition on Change.org to ask the county and governor to keep Rowe as supervisor. Drozd seemingly dismissed the court ruling and the $500,000 of taxpayer money that has been reportedly allocated for the appeals process when it was brought to his attention. I.E. United has its own petition to call on San Bernardino County to abide by the court's ruling and to stop the spending of taxpayer funds to appeal it.
The Court rules as follows
1. The process by which Dawn Rowe was selected to the San Bernardino County
BOARD of Supervisors violated the Ralph M Brown Act
2. Respondents failed to cure and correct their violations of the Brown Act
3. The appointment of Dawn Rowe as Third District Supervisor is null and void. Respondents and each of them shall rescind the appointment of Dawn ROWE as Third District Supervisor Pursuant to BOARD s Charter the appointment of the Third District Supervisor shall be made by the Governor and
4. Petitioners are entitled to reasonable attorney s fees and costs
Read the full court ruling HERE.