As early as today the State Assembly may be asked to vote on AB 1208–The Trial Court Rights Act. This legislation, if enacted into law, would return some local control to our local courts. My hat is off to the 400 member Alliance of California Judges for sponsoring this measure and to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association for their support.
The Chief Justice and her handpicked Judicial Council have allowed the San Francisco based court bureaucracy to waste public dollars, intended for our local courts, on their pet projects including a disgraced computer system, pension spikes for their highest paid workers, court construction costs that far exceed what even the Federal government spends on new courthouses and the massive growth of the bureaucracy itself.
Consider these facts:
The Administrative Office of the Courts has grown by 70% since 2004 and continues to hire notwithstanding a “hiring freeze”. Judicial Branch leaders have doled out pay raises on two occasions over the past three years while our local courts were shut down a day a month. The former Chief Justice spiked the pension benefits of the top AOC executives such that the tax payers pay the entire personal contribution—the employee pays nothing. The AOC has made the federal government look thrifty by comparison, building courthouses at $1700 a square foot while comparable federal courthouses have cost less than $850 a square foot.
Just last February, the Bureau of State Audits released a scathing report on the central planners’ statewide computer system “CCMS”. The Auditor found that this system which was initially pegged at $250 million would ultimately cost the tax payers $1.9 to $3 billion dollars and the technology would likely be obsolete before it was fully deployed. The auditor found gross mismanagement and incompetence in the structuring of the contract where over 100 amendments were made. To date over $500 million has been spent and close to $1 million a week continues to be spent on this boondoggle.
AB 1208 mandates that monies appropriated by the Legislature to the Trial Court Trust Fund be apportioned to the local courts without reserves or hold backs by the San Francisco bureaucrats. It is clear that the only way to ensure that our local courts remain open is to take this unfettered and unchecked power away from the unelected bureaucrats. AB 1208 is the only bill designed to do just that.