Saturday, June 23, 2012

Local Government Counts

With the latest happening in Washington regarding Fast & Furious, it just drives home the importance of starting locally making a stand for issues that come up in city and county government and doing my homework on those that represent my community. 
When I lived for a short while (4 years) in San Luis Obispo County, I worked for the county as a clerk.  During that time, the Superior and Municipal courts merged and became a part of state government. Oh, it was a wonderful time!  California had a surplus and we could get anything we asked for.  Ergonomic chairs were given to every employee in the court to the tune of $800 a piece, for example. 
But here is the deal, both hubby and I worked for the county and we saw the waste of not only buying expensive items (those same chairs were half the price at a well-known office supply chain) but the time wasted by everyone.  See, it does start locally.  I am not saying all county offices were wasting time because some of them like the District Attorney's office and Family Court Services were over-whelmed and could never get caught up.  But certainly, money was wasted. Here is an example, one courtroom had to be completed gutted and re-done for a certain criminal trial due to the defendants being opposing gang members.  Not only did it take months to do, but everything from the electrical, paint, jury box, spectator section had to be re-done to the tune of thousands of dollars. Meanwhile, the defendants were cooling their heels in the county jail, mind you, on the county dime. This is the stunning part: just days prior to the start of the trial, all of the defendants took a plea bargain.  So all of that money spent and resources used was for nothing. 
This kind of thing happens all over the state, in all the counties and I would bet in most of our cities and towns.  I know some of it can't be helped but, as a tax-paying citizen, I need to know what is going on and see how I can educate my neighbors, family and friends.
The truth be told here is that I really didn't pay all that much attention to local government until the last ten years. I am not proud of that. Something woke me up.  Maybe it was 9/11 or maybe it was the presidential election of 2000.  I am not sure but awake I am and I hope that my little piece of the blogging world will open other's eyes too.

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