The Chief’s Three Year Blueprint is Dead On Arrival

Posted on January 16, 2014

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The Chief Justice recently released the AOC’s three year blueprint for California’s judicial branch. I say it is the AOC’s three year blueprint because the chief herself credits the AOC for all of the hard work they did in coming up with this plan. Incredibly short on specifics, the three year blueprint outlines the desire for an additional 1.2 billion dollars worth of judicial branch funding. Unfortunately, the blueprint does an incredibly poor job of telling you about how specific investments will be made if the money is granted and how the public will benefit.

In this CalChannel video that must have been produced by The Ministry Of Truth & Public Enlightenment our chief justice managed to cobble together a handful of legislators who all advocate for a better funded branch and regrettably, appear to have bought into this blueprint. Others include speakers are advocates for litigation reform and a cadre of legal aid non-profits that have their hand out every year to the Administrative Office of the Courts.

Despite years of gross mismanagement that would have sent those in private industry to the unemployment line or worse, prison, there remains zero acknowledgement of any problems or even the slightest hint at contrition.

After over three years, the Strategic Evaluation Committee report and the promised reforms are dead in the water, with the AOC now contracting with a private entity to derive a predetermined result that the AOC’s current structure is sound and that the management is woefully underpaid compared to Robert Rizzo who only had citywide responsibilities. These fine administrators are responsible for a whole state the report will say.

What it probably won’t say is that our state courts operated far better without a thousand bureaucrats running it into the ground while setting afire public funds. Unchecked embezzlements, over a half billion dollars wasted on a software program that was sold as “we own it” when we clearly didn’t own it and worse, it did not work as intended anywhere. We will spend well over two billion dollars to rent one courthouse. We hire unlicensed contractors and then file sham lawsuits against them so we can control the litigation because if they are found guilty of operating without licenses, then we are guilty of the crime of hiring them ignoring the fact that we were paying them substantially more than they should have been getting.

Yes, please Sacramento, please sign up my hard earned tax dollars to go to the muppets of the judicial council and be wasted by some of the least competent, least transparent and least accountable entity in all of state government.

Or do what I would do and target the reopening and staffing of courthouses so that the money actually goes to boots on the ground providing access to justice without having to drive three hours in one direction. Because when you analyze the three year blueprint without the beer goggles, not one courthouse or courtroom will be reopened. Not one position will be restored. There are no specifics about how additional money will serve the public and that my friends is where this “blueprint” is dead on arrival.

As for additional judgeships: While many judges might not appreciate the workloads they have, that workload is fed into the system and worked by non-existent staff. Someone needs to explain to us how funding any judgeships will result in a courthouse or courtroom being adequately staffed for business and reopened, not to mention that each judicial position comes with a permanent budget increase, ergo a permanent state investment. They’re not just funding a judicial position this year, they’re committing to funding it for years to come with absolutely no assurance that the position itself will solve any of the most vexing issues, like a lack of facilities and a lack of staff.

In the private world we might refer to the AOC blueprint as a poorly written business plan looking for angel investors to which we say if you can’t sell it on Sand Hill Road, don’t bother with trying to sell it to Sacramento.

And last but not least, we’re being primed for two additional impending trainwrecks. One is the branch technology blueprint by that fine bunch of people that brought us CCMS that will be released in a few months. The second impending trainwreck? A Blue Ribbon Commission comprised of all (or at least a majority) of the usual suspects that will study the impact of cuts and demand more money to do it.

Oy Vey.