If he were to win the June 3 race for the 1st District Supervisor's seat, Bob Nelson would already know his way around the meeting room better than many long-time supervisors.

The Hesperia resident has been attending San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors meetings since 1989, and by his own count, has attended hundreds of them.

He's run for office twice -- in two different districts, after the board changed voting boundaries -- and been taken out in handcuffs when he refused to leave the podium after three minutes during the public comment period.

A self-described gadfly -- in Greek legend, the stinger of sacred cows, as he noted in a recent letter to the editor of the Victorville Daily Press, Nelson makes no apologies for speaking his mind.

"If I want to take more than three minutes, I'm going to take it," he said. "The Brown Act, people misread it.

"The Brown Act says that [government] can impose limits on [public comments] when necessary. ... When there's just one or two people" wanting to speak at a meeting, "let them speak."

And for Nelson, it's often been land use issues that he's spoken on, starting with his first meetings.

"The system itself was corrupt. That much was obvious," he said. "If they make good land use decisions, we end up with a good community. If they make stupid decisions, we end up with San Bernardino County."

Unlike others in the supervisor's race, Nelson won't be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even tens of thousands of dollars.

"I've got my signs," he said. "I've figured out how to make them for $3 apiece."

Nelson acknowledges that, next to Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt and Councilwoman Rita Vogler, who are spending thousands upon thousands of dollars in the race, he's a long shot at best.

"I would like to win, yes, but my realistic goal [is to] make the public aware of the board of supervisors' long-standing unwillingness to collect mitigating fees."

The fees, paid for by developers, would be used to improve county roads and infrastructure. According to a study by the Southern California Association of Governments, the county could raise $1.1 million a week by requiring developers to pay the fees.

"We've had 880 meetings since those were authorized," Nelson said. "We were the poser child of why mitigating fees were needed in 1987."

And if the county government doesn't collect the funds for needed improvements from developers, they will take it from somewhere else, he said.

"If you don't have mitigating fees, you take it from the general fund."

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.