This past Saturday, October 25th marks our 4th year of tracking the most corrupt institution in state government.
You’ll note that this is not an event we’re celebrating. We had hoped that by now the other two branches of government would have used their considerable wherewithal to exercise their respective roles of checks and balances. What little they have done has been woefully misdirected at the trial courts leaving the most corrupt institution in state government unfazed and virtually untouched.
While the other two branches have exercised the power of the checkbook to try to bring this rogue organization to heel, nothing meaningful in the sense of reforms have transpired. Indeed, in the four long years we’ve been tracking this rogue organization only one person has been held accountable for anything and even that was passed off as an innocuous reorganization.
Instead, all we’ve witnessed this organization do is to clamp down on what people can say about them with rogue ethics opinions and new rules of court designed to silence critics and to prevent them from lobbying the other two branches.
We’ve also borne witness to many of the most talented and conscientious leaving the most corrupt institution in state government to find other employment outside of that institution of their own volition as the stench of corruption has gotten progressively worse.
We’ve stood by and borne witness to twice as many courthouses being shut down as are being built. Today, many citizens must travel over three hours in one direction just to have their day in court.
In an effort to cull court cases before them, we’ve witnessed many courts raise bail amounts for the incarcerated, ensuring that those who were previously able to get out on their own recognizance to appear now must stay in our county jails until they choose to plead guilty or make bail. In San Francisco alone, over 1,800 criminal defendants who would have been previously released from jail on their own recognizance no longer qualify for O.R. release due to new bail guidelines.
If they would just plead guilty, we could save the people the trouble, time and expense of a trial and clogging up our under resourced court system they reason.
We’ve witnessed the most expensive courthouse in the United States being built in Long Beach, effectively serving to cancel ten other courthouses across the state that probably should have been built in its place. We’ve witnessed lavish perks being showered upon those that occupy the Ronald George state office complex such as the proliferation of government paid for ipads, government paid for parking for supervisors and above, top-loaded pension benefits that permit a select few to make zero contributions to their calpers pensions and the broad use of consultants to do the work that they were hired to do, be they in information technology or legal services or facilities maintenance.
We’ve witnessed foxes patrolling the henhouse trying to keep other foxes away because this rogue entity is self-policing with predictable results.
We’ve witnessed a number of stunning audit conclusions that leave us all with no confidence in the appointees of the chief justice. Two and a half years after the surprising results of the Strategic Evaluation Committee’s recommendations we’ve only seen minor cosmetics in place of a major overhaul.
And throughout all of this, the most corrupt institution in state government has remained unfazed and virtually untouched.
Four years into this battle for transparency, accountability and democracy we can see that we do have some minor influence. We can see that some movers and shakers in government are actually subscribers to this blog. We can see that there are 497 people concerned enough about the direction of the rogue entity that they subscribe to get updates on the next governance farce. We can see that millions have visited and hundreds have commented.
Yet precious little has changed in all that time and the changes that have been made have amounted to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. When that didn’t go over well, they explained to us earlier this year that this ship is not the Titanic but is actually the bigger sister ship the Britannic and always has been,
At the start of this month we witnessed one of the board of directors (Darth Huffman) decry the use and proliferation of IT consultants while another member of the other board of directors (Mark Dusman) basically indicate that the first director doesn’t know what he is talking about.
The Judicial Council remains the only judicial entity in the entire U.S. that has its own construction arm. They’re the only judicial entity in the entire U.S. that owns (and neglects) all of their own real estate. About three hundred jobs in the agency that we previously knew as the AOC are funded by and have absolutely nothing to do with court construction.
After four long years, we continue to not only wait for change, we are waiting for federal criminal indictments because it appears that nothing will change in Sacramento until that happens. While audit after audit has painted a picture of a rogue government entity totally out of control and accountable to no one, Sacramento has been leery of acting because of a perceived separation of powers while fully discounting their responsibility provide checks and balances to bring this rogue government entity to heel and actually serve the people.
We sincerely hope that four long years from now, there is no reason for us to exist. But today is not that day and this year is not that year.
As of today we have 497 subscribers to our blog. Our 2015 goal will be to double our amount of subscribers so we’re reaching out to you to ask you to inform every legislator and legislative aide about us and get them to subscribe.
We ask that you vigorously lobby your representatives to restore funding to the trial courts and redirect funding away from the judicial council and relegate them to their constitutional role of surveying the courts. To move court construction away from the hands of crooks and to put it in the capable hands of the department of general services where it belongs along with the entire real estate portfolio. To demonstrate to Sacramento that case management systems can be developed locally with the aid of established vendors and that it will save money over letting San Francisco control the funding or the process.
We ask that you vigorously lobby your representatives to re-open those courthouses and staff them. We ask that uncollectable penalties and assessments be permanently cut so that hundreds of thousands of Californians can move on with their lives. We ask that the courts be funded by vehicle registrations as well as business and professional licensing and that not one dime of court funding relies upon a conviction. We ask that you vigorously lobby to cut the size and scope of the entity whose sole constitutional responsibility is to survey the courts and report to the legislature. Finally, we ask that you vigorously lobby to democratize the judicial council and make it representative of the people they serve.