New supervisor

Dawn Rowe leads the pledge of allegiance at the Basin Wide Foundation's 22nd annual awards dinner Thursday, Aug. 23, in Joshua Tree.

SAN BERNARDINO — After its second marathon meeting in a week interviewing viable candidates, the county board of supervisors appointed Dawn Rowe, of Yucca Valley, as supervisor for the 3rd District Tuesday, Dec. 18.

Rowe replaces James Ramos, who was elected in November to the state Assembly.

The board began its search for a new supervisor on Dec. 11 by interviewing 13 of the 43 eligible candidates who applied.

The interviews filled five hours and at the end of the day, the supervisors chose five contenders: Rowe and four others from outside the Basin. The board was scheduled to meet again on Dec. 13 to pick a new supervisor.

However, due to complaints that the process violated state law on public meetings, the board canceled its Thursday meeting. The complaints stated that the process was not open and transparent because the initial narrowing of the candidates was based on standards not released to the public.

Some speaking in the public hearing also noted that the top candidates all appeared to belong to the Republican Party.

The board came back on Tuesday and again looking at the original 43 candidates, each supervisor nominated two or three candidates to interview.

Just six candidates were asked additional questions — the top five and Chris Carrillo, who was championed by a group of people from the Morongo Basin.

Carrillo worked as the chief of staff for Ramos from 2012 to 2014 and again for the last six months of his term. When he came back to the county office, he said, Ramos encouraged him to use the time to train for the opportunity to take over the position.

While several Joshua Tree residents spoke in his favor during the meeting, Carrillo only received support from one of the board members, Josie Gonzales.

‘Certain ideologies but an open mind’

Rowe is a former Yucca Valley Town Council member and mayor who until Tuesday was the field representative for Congressman Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley. She worked for Cook’s office for the past 10 years.

During her interview, she said while in office, she would focus on keeping the desert community the rural sanctuary that it has always been for its residents. She also wants to add affordable housing.

Rowe was asked if she would be able to separate her politics from Cook’s office and her political party.

“I bring with me certain ideologies but an open mind,” she replied. “My party and my affiliations are insignificant when it comes to fighting for what is right for this district.”

With their questions answered, the board was ready to appoint Rowe. She was voted unanimously into office and quickly resigned from her position with Cook and took the oath of office.

Rowe will serve for at least the next two years.

“It’s an honor to be selected by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors for appointment to represent the 3rd District. Dozens of well-qualified candidates applied for the position, and I know the decision wasn’t an easy one for the members of the Board,” Rowe said in an email.

The 3rd District office will get new staff over the next few weeks. Residents can get constituent services during the transition by phone at (909) 387-4855 or by email at

“It’s a privilege to serve the people of the 3rd District,” Rowe said via email. “I encourage constituents to contact me directly with any ideas or suggestions on how to improve our county government.”

(1) comment


James Ramos was of no value to this area whatsoever. He didn't understand us and had no interest in learning. Ms. Rowe and I have different ideologies, but I can't help but think having someone local on that board will improve our representation.

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