By most accounts our systems are so broken on such a wide scale that they are unsustainable. Both our judicial branch leadership and the AOC who both remain accountable to no one are a part of that unsustainable system. As citizens united towards a common good, we simply cannot afford to invest in excess of ten billion dollars into CCMS and new courthouses, knowing that the money backing these endeavors is unsustainable, contributing greatly to California’s sizable long term debt, placing our state economy in peril and putting millions of citizens at risk of running even more afoul of the law.
No government ever fined its way to prosperity. They have however fined and taxed their way towards collapse.
The citizens, for example never voted on courthouse bonds or agreeing to pay hefty surcharges so that their services could be cut and someone would have the benefit of occupying a $1200.00 per square foot office. The citizens never voted to spend up to three billion dollars on CCMS. Yet we allowed the judicial branch of government to assume all of the roles normally reserved for the executive and legislative branches of government and in doing so, we permitted the judicial branch to expand its field of jurisdiction into one of the most controversial software developers in America and into three of the largest unlicensed contractors in America.
Let me remind you of a warning issued by of one of our forefathers that is prevalent thought this site…
“The germ of destruction of our nation is in the power of the judiciary, an irresponsible body — working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief over the field of jurisdication, until all shall render powerless the checks of one branch over the other and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.”
–Thomas Jefferson (1821)
Guess what? We’re here now.
Thus far, leadership has only poured out accolades, promotions, hefty raises and lavish benefits and otherwise REWARDED this mismanagement to the detriment of every court, every court worker and the public at large. (Well, except for the 41 or so benefactors of new courthouses…even they have had to cut employees and services to the public….)
The public by most accounts is straddled with over SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS in debt for fees and fines and with a U6 unemployment rate of 21%, (21% of Californians do not make enough money to make ends meet, yet we expect our courts and then the tax collector to jump to the very front of the line for payments…. ) that amount just grows every year, year after year because people simply cannot afford to pay these fines and fees. So our solution is to hit them with larger fines and fees after we suspend their professional or drivers licenses that they rely upon to actually pay these fines and fees.
This system too is unsustainable. It is this unsustainable system that is funding courthouse construction.
Our judicial branch leadership refuses to recognize this growing amount of outstanding fees and fines and refuses to acknowledge the fiscal reality of 38 million citizens, choosing instead to boost collections activity and make citizens lives more miserable by taking food off the table, by confiscating peoples transportation and by badgering them with collection agencies when they simply don’t have enough to make ends meet.
It is this fantasy money that is partially fueling AOC and Judicial Council waste but what is the human toll? To what end do we try to tax and fine our way to the prosperity of empty but shiny new courthouses? What is the goal of spending continued development money on a case management system that you cannot afford to deploy, operate or maintain?
When does the state legislature bring an end to this madness?
More about our unsustainable systems and some of the roots behind the occupy movement and “world revolution.” Note: We don’t endorse the zeitgeist world revolution, nonetheless they do an excellent job of explaining about what is currently wrong with our systems and how and why they are unsustainable. While their solution is a resource based economy, this is only one view. What it does make clear is that when safety nets are removed, when systems become imperiled, either crime spikes dramatically or people take down institutions of government and reconstitute them – or both. Unless we change course, both is our destiny.
The Occupy movement recognizes the challenges we face with these unsustainable systems, encourages the expansion of safety nets and getting the 1% paying a greater share to sustain the other 99% because you cannot throw people out of work and then tax, fine and bill people, throw them or be the cause that gets them thrown out of their homes or take away what little they have on such an unprecedented scale. Something has to give.