Democracy, Paul Jones and our favorite hockey puck

Posted on December 19, 2012

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We call Judge Rosenberg our favorite hockey puck because much like a hockey puck, he doesn’t seem to know what side he’s on. Today we’re in receipt of a second non-credible Paul Jones article featuring Dave Rosenberg. Paul Jones works for Daily Journal Corporation, the same Daily Journal Corporation that collects millions from the AOC every year to maintain Sustain. So when we see an article that looks a bit suspicious, we rely upon our media company’s guidance and take serious our obligation to gather more information and if it warrants we’ll either expand on the story or cry foul.

This time it will be the latter.

Unlike the Daily Journal Corporation, we have no connection to and therefore are not beholden to anyone in California’s judicial branch. Unlike other media, we don’t fear a loss of judicial access because we have direct rank-and-file access to the people that work with and surround our judges and justices on a daily basis.

Ever since the days of Amy Yarborough who did a few hard hitting pieces on the AOC, the Daily Journal Corporation appears to be selling out to the AOC. In an apparent effort to protect and preserve their income stream, they’ve released several one-sided articles of a questionable nature.  The ones we’re crying foul on today are two articles done by both Paul Jones featuring  ACJ  & Judicial Council  member Judge Dave Rosenberg.

In both of these articles, Dave is crying foul and complaining that the Alliance of California Judges isn’t a democratic institution and that they don’t practice what they preach. Paul Jones alleges in his articles for whatever reason that the Alliance of California Judges has no comment with respect to Rosenberg’s allegations. So we sent out a few emails seeking to find out more information about the latest Paul Jones article where Judge Rosenberg is complaining that he did not have the opportunity to elect the President, the treasurer or the secretary and that the ACJ does not practice what it preaches with respect to (Judicial Council) Democratization.

Without going further we would first question the merits of his argument.

A private organization promoting democracy isn’t democratic so why should a public entity be democratic?

Is crack cocaine a problem in Yolo county or does that argument come from smoking cow pies?

Nonetheless, we chose to pursue the story. Partly because we were afraid our hip-waders weren’t quite deep enough to trudge through that B.S. but mostly because the claim rings hollow. As you might already know, we’re real sticklers when it comes to hypocrisy and if we see hypocrisy we’re not about to brush it aside. It’s just too juicy for us to resist.

To become a member of the ACJ, Rosenberg sent an email. He wasn’t asked to pay any membership fees, he was just asked to send an email to become a member because that is all that is required. Judge Rosenberg has let one thing be clear. He’s made it abundantly clear that he wishes to preserve the status quo and his big fish in a small pond status. Now for our part, we already picked a few good articles and took a few goes at big Dave, most notably in our articles “Judge Rosenberg takes the point and is picked off” and “The Rosenberg Rebuttal – By Judge Robert Dukes” Having his big fish small pond opinion snuffed out twice, he took to hiding behind paid publications mistakenly assuming he is out of our reach.

Sorry Dave.

Well, not really.

In about three hours, we received all of the answers to our email. If only Judge Rosenberg or Paul Jones had sent an email, they might have likely got the same replies we did. We sought to clarify Judge Rosenberg’s allegations about the ACJ being a non-democratic institution with its members unable to vote, voice concern, choose members or steer policy.

Frankly, we would suggest that if he needs an organization to manipulate, he need only keep his dues paid at the CJA. (yeah –  low blow – sorry CJA)

In response to how the new executive positions in the ACJ came to be, we received this reply and frankly, it seems like a democratic process to us but hey, you be the judge and tell us if it makes sense and sounds like a democratic process of a private organization to you.

When we reviewed this reply, the first thing that popped in our head was a Nancy Pelosi wanting to join the conservative coalition or Glenn Beck wanting to join moveon.org.

Sure, you can join, but you don’t share the same views or values as the rest of them so you’re probably not going to be that big fish and it’s going to be an unfriendly pond.

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The Alliance of California Judges was formed on September 11, 2009. Thereafter, we became a private 501(c)(6) mutual benefit corporation.

Our original directors were chosen upon our formation. Since that time, several more directors have been added to increase the size and geographical diversity of our board. In each instance, this was by a vote of the board of directors. All of our directors have been elected from those who have expressed a willingness and desire to serve, and each has demonstrated a commitment to the goals of the Alliance. At this point, no one who has expressed interest in serving has been denied that opportunity, though of course private organizations are free to organize their governance structures in any way they see fit and in a manner that ensures that the goals of the organization are best served.

Fortunately, we have had no difficulty in identifying individuals who have a proven track record of speaking out against waste and abuse. Any active judge is free to join the Alliance, including those who who do not actively support the goals of the organization. However, those individuals would understandably not be likely to seek, nor be asked to assume, a leadership position.

We are a grass roots voluntary association, operated pursuant to our bylaws. We welcome all judges as members and we urge them all to become more involved in the organization. Directors are all full-time judges and justices, who work incredibly long hours at their jobs and then volunteer hundreds more hours each year on their own time. To this point, nearly every director has incurred considerable expenses for which no reimbursement has been requested or paid, as we do not have a mandatory dues schedule, though we do accept voluntary non-tax deductible donations. Unlike the Judicial Council, we are not a public agency and we are not able to establish and fund an administrative staff with taxpayer money.

The Alliance directors met at our annual meeting on December 11, 2012, and voted to install Judge Steve White as president. Judge Lampe was gracious enough to continue on as executive director. Directors may resign or be chosen to join the board, as needed, and the board has never failed to consider input from any member with respect to the leadership and direction of the association.