When you can’t maintain the buildings you have, build more of them.

Posted on August 16, 2012


Sounds like an absurd premise and yet in California’s judicial branch it is an absurd public policy.  While California is mired in debt and has an unfunded pension liability that’s about half of the states’ annual budget, while draconian cuts directed at the house of (George) fraud, waste, abuse and public corruption that is the AOC have been passed down to the trial courts, while a few dozen perfectly suitable courthouses have been shut down across the state with a corresponding courtroom count that exceeds all of the courtrooms being built everywhere, while the AOC’s Office of Court Construction & Management has demonstrated beyond any rational argument that they can’t do anything affordably, while the unfunded maintenance liability grows by an additional 250 million over last year (see link, page 7) while the total stands at a staggering 1.5 billion dollars – and nearly 2 billion dollars when you factor in unfunded renewals.

How many millions of dollars were spent on courthouses the local courts closed because they couldn’t afford to staff them?

Yet we’re building more of them of a far more sophisticated design that be much costlier to operate with their living roofs, flat roofs in snow country that rely on roof heaters and mid-rise buildings identified as being the most prone to collapse in earthquakes being built between two fault lines. (San Bernardino)

In the great scheme of things, we have to believe that all of this money not spent on current courthouses is to force them to degrade and shut down so that the OCCM can take images of courts in a poor state of disrepair . This permits them to hold their hand out for more money and more power in the form of new trial courts – for those that march in lock step like good little soldiers. Meanwhile, the AOC has apparently limited its expenses to the court facilities payments it receives and whatever it can bill to other 1732 or 1407 projects – or the local court – or others.

The point of all of this is that court construction and maintenance is and always was the larger albatross than CCMS, it’s just that CCMS was more easily identifiable as such. For years, most promised courthouses never thought to ask if the price was fair, reasonable or even a suitable public expense.  The Ministry of Truth wants you to believe it – but when several courthouses shut down for every one multi-million dollar courthouse built, when O’Malley is touting the benefits of court construction while our court system is gutted, is that responsible advocacy?

Do you really think Brad Hill knows shit about building courthouses or what they should cost – or even cares? 

Is it fair to ask taxpayers to drive 150 miles round trip to take care of a traffic ticket and then slam them with court construction fees and court security fees?  Is it fair that counties continue maintenance of effort payments when the AOC makes no efforts to maintain?

When does the madness end?

Please comment on court construction as vigorously as you did for the SEC report. The courtroom you save by doing so could be your own.

Related Articles

OCCM affected projects list

Construction Proposal Invitation to Comment

Annual Report of the Trial Court Facility Modification Working Group for Fiscal Year 2010–2011 (Page 7 is of particular interest)