It’s a new month and with it come some significant changes. For the past eighteen months or so, we’ve covered less of the story ourselves and have relied upon both our own aggregation of judicial branch news as well as aggregation with your invaluable assistance. The reasons for this was that our resources were redirected elsewhere to support what is termed “revenue operations”. By a charter we’re hoping to change, our primary sponsor has prohibited us from accepting donations of any type other than information because they (and we) want to make it clear that our efforts have nothing to do with either money or notoriety of any type. We’re not interested in being the news, only reporting it.
With that being said, investigative journalism that covers a statewide story is an expensive endeavor – and getting the story from an entity that wants to ensure you don’t get the story makes it all the more expensive. Our efforts here at JCW have been underwritten by comparatively small media companies. Mr. Carrizosa might refer to both media entities that both operate internet news sites as being blog-like and should not be afforded the same level of media access as someone whose sole job is printing or broadcasting a story.
Arguably, we’ve broken as many stories here on JCW as some of the largest media companies. We all have one belief in common, which is why we all continue to cover this story going on four years for some….three years for others. Many of you have also identified the issue we’re about to discuss and that issue is racketeering conducted by the untouchable insiders, followed by a series of rule changes that makes the information that we all seek all the more difficult to collect. What better way to screen requests for information that might prove incriminating than to forward all such requests to an appellate court justice insider as well as the legal services offices of the AOC? If it is incriminating, the data would need to either be redacted much like the deloitte contract with the AOC was or the request needs to be quashed with declarations that for some reason is not a public administrative record because they’ve chosen to recast the request in another light.
It’s pretty clear that proposals introduced by both the Assembly and the Senate both add about a hundred million to the judicial branch budget. However, the devil of that hundred million dollars is in the detail. Failing some last minute trailer bill or some gargantuan lobbying effort by concerned parties, it looks like the criminal organization that is accountable to no one that runs this operation and hides behind the robes of the judiciary will continue to be a problem because it appears that their own budget will be preserved so that they can embark on new and more creative boondoggles. We’re going to make some predictions for the next fiscal year.
The Phoenix financial program was a big data endeavor that the AOC undertook in parallel with CCMS and is considered a failure due to problems with the program and due to problems deploying the product affordably to a variety of courts. Before it was the phoenix financial program it was called something else and that program bit the dust with cries of it being too expensive to implement and operate. So they pulled out the mythical bird that rises from the ashes (of abject failure) and renamed the program after that mythical bird so that you could see that the AOC took a new bold direction. As I recall, it is still used by only seven courts.
Just because you call a turkey that does not fly a phoenix that rises from the ashes doesn’t make it so. Nonetheless, this repackaging of yet another boondoggle diverted the attentions of many while an even larger boondoggle with CCMS unfolded. Many thought the issues with Phoenix were solved by simply renaming the program. We expect this tried and true strategy to be employed on CCMS before the ink is dry on the state budget. Hey, it diverted your attention once, let’s try it again.
For the past couple of years we’ve witnessed the AOC and the judicial council being called to task over their spending decisions. For the past couple of years, they’ve been able to piggyback off the invaluable support and lobbying provided by the Building & Construction Trades Council only for the BCTC themselves to wake up last December to the political equivalent of a short-sheeted bed when a whole slew of courthouse construction projects statewide were canceled so that some long beach developers could get rich. What makes this story all the more interesting is to find out that most of the city council pushing the long beach courthouse has an interest in one of the entities involved in the transaction.
We’re all in unanimous agreement that someone needs to follow the Long Beach money and follow the CCMS money because we all feel, and this is not just you dear reader but this belief is also held by all media organizations that have covered these debacles, that following the money will lead us all to the promise land of answers and indictments. This is why they’ve stuck with the story for so long, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Instead, we’ve been witnessing an unprecedented crackdown on dissent, the strangling of public information and business as usual over at the JC\AOC.
By the words of many that work at the AOC, “little has changed at the AOC” other than new titles and new business cards. “The same incompetent people that brought you the boondoggles remain firmly in charge after a brief game of musical chairs”.
The changes we noted in the first paragraph that come to you starting this month is a return to our own investigative reporting of the issues that concern you most due to resource reassignments. If there is not legislation forthcoming that legislatively reduces the mission and role of the AOC in more finite terms, if there is not legislation forthcoming that sets the legislative priorities of keeping our courts open and making those who are accountable to no one accountable to the people via checks and balances, by this time next year we commit to showing you why that is and where your money went.
- The Arrogance of Unchecked Powers (judicialcouncilwatcher.com)
- Alliance Budget Updates & Judge White speaks to legislators (judicialcouncilwatcher.com)
- The boondogglers relent….. for the time being… (judicialcouncilwatcher.com)
- What Will It Take to Kill The Beast? (judicialcouncilwatcher.com)
- Time to press ahead and secure the future of journalism (irishtimes.com)
- Does Society Want to be Informed? (jrmbw3.wordpress.com)
- Why are we so afraid of democracy? (judicialcouncilwatcher.com)
- World-Herald editorial: Separation of powers (omaha.com)