Opinion: California needs an Inspector General over all branches of government

Posted on August 2, 2013

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Maybe it’s not readily apparent but generally, private industry does a better job at regulating costs of products and services than California government does. You don’t generally see private industry spend hundreds of millions of dollars on software development to run their businesses. Unless you’re in the tech industry and building a data center, semiconductor fab or other high-tech facility, the prices for construction being paid for by California government is outlandish and the AOC’s court construction is the poster child in that department.  If the Judicial Council had the least amount of common sense, they would walk across the street and ask the GSA feds to build them courthouses because they get it done for about half the price of the AOC.

Figure that one out…

Yesterday, CNN concluded a three part series on drug medi-cal abuses that appear to total to somewhere around a half billion dollars of fraud over a number of years that went unchecked. By all appearances, when something in California government goes south, all anyone does at any level is stick their heads in the sand for the most part and play the see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil and barely glossing over any of these troubling recurrences or holding anyone accountable.

Indeed, California government has the general appearance of closing ranks across the board making what we all believed would be checks and balances non- existent. Nobody wants to be held accountable so there’s no accountability under a do unto others unspoken rule. Politicians will at best hold a hearing or commission a no-fault investigation. People remain employed regardless of how troubling any occurrence might appear. Nobody, least of all Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye as well as Governor Brown, can seem to come to terms with the notion that maybe the people chosen aren’t being effective in their appointments. And the legislature has better things to do than to effectively hold checks and balances over the other two branches of government in any meaningful form.

One of the Chief Justice’s pet projects is diverting judicial branch resources for the purposes of convincing 977 school districts and 6.7 million students into talking about the judicial branch as it applies to a civics education curriculum. Notably, these people will be voters in ten years when she will be up for reelection… and who says that the people desire the judicial branch to violate the separation of powers doctrine, something they hold so dear to their hearts and go educate children? Isn’t the state department of education tasked with that role? How about disbanding this committee and sending all of this money out to the trial courts to really serve the public? How about sending your army of judicial council lobbyists over to the department of education instead of spending oodles figuring out how to convince 977 individual school districts and 9,700 classrooms to talk about you? How about using the medium  they are familiar with – social media – to get their attention CHEAPLY. Oh, wait. We’re on the net and in social media. There goes that idea…

What I am getting at here is that a whole lot of people want to do something OTHER THAN their jobs. And it appears that no one in government really cares one way or the other.

Why did the Chief Justice give preferential full-boat pension packages to 15 AOC executives and yet no one else in the branch has that perk? Just that money alone could have spared a few jobs in the trial courts.

Investigative media in general has been decimated to a shell of its former self. As a result, there is little government accountability. So the thought of an elected inspector general dedicated to ferreting out and prosecuting government fraud, graft and corruption that exists outside as a constitutional officer with oversight over all three branches came to mind and it seems that treble damages from false claims would fund such an office well. This would also be the place all government funded whistleblowers could report to without their chains of command even knowing about it so you don’t have state government branches like the UC system declaring sovereign immunity. Furthermore, an inspector general could warn and then prosecute people for not doing their job.

Why do I think it is needed? Because it is obvious that our political leadership in all three branches of government is intentionally asleep at the wheel when it comes to fraud, waste and abuse.