A former three-term mayor of Twentynine Palms has entered the race to unseat County Supervisor Neil Derry in the June elections.

Jim Bagley, chairman of the San Bernardino County Airport Commission, said that his broad experience in government makes him the only candidate who can effectively secure state and federal funding for the district.

Bagley said that his years of public service showed that he could restore the public's trust in government.

Bagley served on the Twentynine Palms City Council from 1992 to 2004 and was elected mayor in 1995, 2000 and 2003.

Bagley said he understands the issues Barstow faces because he has served as the chair of the Desert Mountain Division of the California League of Cities and represented a district containing Barstow on the Bureau of Land Management's Desert District Advisory Board. He also has served on the Local Agency Formation Commission and San Bernardino County Associated Governments.

"It's important to have an assertive, effective supervisor looking out for the best interests of the communities," Bagley said.

Bagley said he would let Barstow residents decide whether to allow a casino to open in the city — a source of contention in the race between Derry and challenger James Ramos, the chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

Derry has said he supports the proposal by the Los Coyotes tribe to build the casino, while Ramos, whose San Manuel tribe operates a casino in San Bernardino, has said that while he supports the city's efforts to attract a casino, but would prefer a tribe with stronger ancestral ties to the area. The San Manuel tribe has actively opposed the project.

Bagley said he was troubled by the campaign's increasingly negative turn.

Derry emailed fliers to 11,000 residents last week calling Ramos a "casino boss" and accusing him of links to "gang members... drug dealers... killers for hire," the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported. Derry's charge stemmed from a 2008 investigation into criminal activity at the reservation that did not implicate Ramos.

"I believe my candidacy should be about offering constructive change to the Board of Supervisors," Bagley said, "not divisive rhetoric."

Four other candidates have filed paperwork to run for 3rd District Supervisor:

•Neil Derry, the incumbent 3rd District Supervisor
•James Ramos, chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
•Robert Wilson, of Colton
•Kenneth Hunter, of Redlands

The newly redrawn 3rd District includes Barstow and sprawls to the southeast to include Yucca Valley, Twentynine Palms, Yucaipa, Highland, Redlands, Loma Linda, parts of Grand Terrace and Colton, and the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms.
The supervisorial election coincides with the June 5 presidential primary. Candidates may file for the race between Feb. 13 and March 9, according to the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters.

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(760) 256-4126 or spearson@desertdispatch.com