Wednesday, July 29, 2009

AIA: $347 Million Court Tower Boondoggle Drama Continues

$347 Million Court Tower Boondoggle Drama Continues
We emailed you on Tuesday about the Maricopa County $347 Million Court Tower Boondoggle and the scheduled meeting that was to take place on Wednesday. Well, we want to give you a bit of an update on what actually went down (or better yet, what didn't go down) at the meeting.
Just prior to the meeting and responding to grassroot reactions, the agenda item on the $347 Million Court Tower Boondoggle was removed from discussion. From what my sources tell me, it was because of the pressure we put on the Board of Supervisors. But what does this mean for the future of this extravagant expenditure?
At this point, the budget-busting project is still moving forward so we must do whatever it takes to pressure the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors from allowing this project to continue. We have stated before, Maricopa County has a HUGE budget shortfall even after laying off employees at the Superior Court and cutting law enforcement budgets by 15%. Sheriff Arpaio is even having difficulties finding deputies to transport inmates to the courthouse.
This is a critical moment for Maricopa County and the taxpayers. We need to stand up to the Board of Supervisors and remind them that they are accountable to us, not to the contractors making political contributions. BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE...
Nathan Signature
Maricopa County Board of Supervisors In Their Own Words
We also wanted to let you know about some research we conducted that we find very interesting in light of this excessive spending. We told you about the political contributions that may be influencing the obstinacy of the Board of Supervisors but we thought you might be interested in what some of the Supervisors have said in the past about the satellite court houses throughout Maricopa County.
Let's take a look at the Special Meeting Minutes from July 19, 2002 from the Dedication Ceremony of the Superior Court NW Regional Center in Surprise:
"Chairman Stapley stated that he was pleased to see this facility, serving the northwest valley, become a reality. The goal of regional services is to meet the needs of the outlying areas, and he predicted that this center would become the heart of judicial services for this community."
"Having formally represented the area, Supervisor Wilcox stated that the City of Surprise had worked for many years toward obtaining a regional center, and she was happy to have been a part of the initial planning as well as completion of the project."
"Completed planning and have begun building five new regional court centers to expand access to the Court system in localized areas throughout the County. This eliminated a 10-day delay for preliminary hearings and arraignments....Two additional RCCs are planned for the Northwest and Southeast regions, to be operational before the end of 2001."
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors continued to comment. In 2002, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors submitted the "Regional Court Centers for Felony Case Processing" for a NACM 2002 Justice Achievement Award. Here is the description they submitted for consideration of the award:
"Benefits include tangible cost savings, such as jail housing and transportation costs."

Finally, we have yet another quote that we would like to draw your attention to coming from the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in the "Maricopa County Justice System Annual Activities Report - Fiscal Year 2000-2001":

"The Justice Courts and Superior Court greatly streamlined front-end felony processing, by coordinating early court proceedings at Regional Court Centers which expedite case processing, and reduce jail overcrowding and inmate transports."

We are left with confusion about the Board of Supervisors - do we believe the words and evidence from recent times, their comments of today, or the political contributions from contractors involved with this lavish and unnecessary spending. Our take is to listen to their words of the past and then follow the money.

Will you please do two things for us today?
1. Contact all of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors today and demand that this project be stopped immediately. Tell them that you are forced to reevaluate your personal spending and that they have a responsibility to the taxpayers not to be engaged in excessive and frivolous spending. Fix the courts that we have already in place!
2. Please forward this message on to your friends and family and ask them do to the same.
Thank you for your help. Please forward any responses that you receive to us!

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