40 Days – Legacy or Economic Catastrophe

Posted on August 7, 2011

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“He who fails to plan is planning to fail”

– Winston Churchill, WWII


We remain puzzled by the desire to move forward on the software boondoggle and court construction when several years of a bad economy have so eroded trial court funding. More puzzling is the leadership of the third branch that appears to be unwilling to authorize further offsets to fund the trial courts. On July 22, the JC, faced with serious budgetary constraints that impact the other two branches of government appeared to have ignored dire economic warnings, assuming another four billion in revenue would materialize in the next four months. They have, in fact assumed a rosier economic outlook during the entire financial downturn, advising trial courts to spend their reserves to keep their operations afloat. They’ve granted a few privileged classes of employees two raises and about a year ago granted everyone at the AOC a retroactive raise. Now we hear that the most senior amongst the AOC also gets free paid parking privileges at either of the two parking garages next to 455 Golden Gate. We also hear they these privileged few get 100% of their employee contribution of their pensions paid for by their employer, they all have smartphones and a majority now have iPads.

Even with the addition of a recently announced furlough day and announced future downsizing, the self-dealers in the AOC want you to know that not only are you in on the joke but the joke is on you.  Targeted are not the lawyer temps brought on board. Targeted not are any of the other high-priced consultants in Information Services.

Last week a few economic reports came out, one that said that job growth was anemic – but there was some job growth – more than what was expected and another that downgraded the U.S. national debt. It appears that in the judicial council’s planning for the next few months, they’ve also determined the ground floor of future cuts, unwilling to compromise any of those same programs to prevent those cuts from hitting the steps of trial courts.

Ground floor of future cuts?

Delayed was a decision to implement cuts of over 15% to the trial courts for next year. It’s pretty obvious where the judicial council priorities lie so it’s also pretty obvious than an even larger cut is a virtual certainty without legislative guidance on how these cuts are to be distributed.  We’re going to predict a mid-year adjustment of an additional 100 million in judicial branch budget cuts minimum. These additional cuts will be based on a revenue shortfall. By all internal reports coming out of the AOC, it is business as usual. Things have only changed with respect to a slight atmosphere of uncertainty amongst some of the lowest paid workers. For the privileged few and all of their pet projects, everything is full steam ahead as if there were no economic impact to the AOC whatsoever. The long-term overpriced consultants that have consulted for a half dozen years or more still consult. The AOC still relies on paying outside consultants to justify and provide cover for their decisions as if nothing has changed.

Was the June 22nd judicial council meeting planning for legacy or economic catastrophe in the third branch?

Was this the kind of stable funding source in the state that everyone signed up for?

Was it the “justice system” the voters signed up for?

Is this a plan to try to preserve King George’s legacy or a plan to fail so spectacularly that the third branch will need a bailout?

The California Case Management System was a project that was started in 2002. It has yet to be delivered and is not functioning as an all-case management platform in any one court anywhere in California.

The Boeing Dreamliner 7X7 project was commenced on February 29, 2003 and just yesterday, August 6th 2011 the first production 787 Dreamliner left the Everett, Washington production hangar.