Editorial: The Daily Journal missed the boat

Posted on October 31, 2012

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Was this an assignment or roaming off the range?

by Special Contributor, Yen Interactive Media, Sacramento

Was this an assignment or roaming off the range? That’s the question we’ve been asking ourselves about a recent article in the Daily Journal written by Emily Green. In that article titled Alliances critics say group doesn’t practice what it preaches, Ms. Green starts off the article with a bold section that opines that the Alliance of California Judges, which is a private member association, argues for greater transparency without practicing what it preaches. She further pushes the AOC theory that the list of grievances has grown so long that the association is eroding their credibility in the legislature and with other judicial branch members.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

From day one we have followed the Alliance of California Judges and their fine work. It is our opinion that the Alliance has been incredibly focused and consistent with both their message and a series of milestones achieved that not too long ago would have never been possible.

Emily completely discounts the history of the branch and how all of the power concentrated in one person has perverted the administration of justice in California by allowing that person to pick favorites – and to even designate judicial appointments – and to speak with one voice. She misses the boat on the fact that this speak with one voice is what caused a “favorites list” of courthouses that needed to be replaced at mindblowing costs that would be periodically revised to accommodate political deals and horsetrading. She misses the boat on the fact that speak with one voice is what caused CCMS to turn into a ten year, half of a billion boondoggle. She misses the boat that all of the grievances can be tied back to a serious flaw in governance that needs to be addressed – way too much power in the hands of one person – the Chief Justice.

We’ve made no observation whatsoever that the ACJ’s list of grievances has grown. The Judicial Council and the AOC’s blatant cover-ups and obfuscation has increased, which has only served to provide additional evidence of the dysfunction supporting democratization and maybe people are confusing the two issues.

Throughout american history, the struggle for the democratization of american institutions has always been that – a struggle for democratization. In California, it has typically been scandal that caused greater democratic participation in our various institutions. We have a ton of evidence now and an inability to investigate or prosecute. Do we really need to blow all the bond money before we democratize this institution?

On one side of this coin are a group of people that want you to believe that everything in the judicial branch is just fine, that there is no problems with the branch that a few billion dollars won’t cure. On the other side of the coin is another less influential group that is righteously ringing the alarm bell and pointing out the issues in an effort to head them off at the pass, to keep the courts open to the public and trying to avoid scandal befalling the branch through democratic reform.

It’s time that the legislature listen to the alarm bell and democratize this institution.

Yen Interactive Media is the principal sponsor of Judicial Council Watcher and is not affiliated with, endorsed by or underwritten by the Alliance of California Judges or its members.