Saturday, December 29, 2012

Santa Cruz County Grand Jury 2011-2012 Responses Posted

by Grand Jurors, Santa Cruz Indymedia -

The 2012-2013 Santa Cruz County Grand Jury has published the responses to the Final Report of the 2011-2012 Grand Jury. These responses are required from the subjects of the individual investigations. The Grand Jury’s report included an inspection of the county’s jails, plus investigations into programs for English learners in our schools, fiscal transparency in the City of Watsonville, LAFCO’s oversight of special districts, prevention of gas line explosions in our county, and the identification of soil contamination during the building permit process. The full 2011-2012 report and responses may be found here.

Friday, December 21, 2012

CGJA's Mission & Purpose Statements


To promote government accountability by improving the training and resources available to California's 58 regular grand juries and educating the public about the substantial local government oversight and reporting powers these grand juries have.


1. To provide the general public with informational and educational materials and activities on the California Grand Jury system that will help increase public awareness of the valuable role the grand jury plays in our democratic system of government, and

2. To promote comprehensive training and orientation of all new grand jurors throughout the state, and

3. To promote adequate funding, office and meeting facilities, and other support as typically required by grand juries be provided to them in all counties throughout the state pursuant to fulfilling their lawful duties, and

4. To promote the preservation of all grand jury reports issued throughout the state during its history both in counties of origin and in a centralized state archival repository accessible to the public, historians, scholars, students and other researchers, and

5. To advocate publication of all grand jury reports and official responses to those reports in a public newspaper or other medium for community wide distribution to educate the public regarding the final grand jury investigative findings and recommendations and the official reactions to them, and

6. To advocate that social studies and history classes and texts in California secondary schools contain comprehensive information regarding the role of the grand jury in California, and

7. To publish a statewide informational newsletter to provide current information concerning issues, events and activities regarding the grand jury, and

8. To sponsor an annual statewide conference of grand jurors and others interested in matters pertaining to the preservation and enhancement of the California Grand Jury institution, and

9. To work toward the preservation and enhancement of the grand jury system by studying issues or legislation that specifically pertains to the grand jury and to make recommendations based on non-partisan analysis to the appropriate body or legislature, and

10. To undertake any other efforts consistent with the foregoing that will increase the public knowledge of the grand jury system and the contributions it has made, and continues to make, to California's citizenry and toward good government.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

(Monterey Co) Marina to Grand Jury: "respectfully disagree"

By LARRY PARSONS, The Herald Staff Writer -

About 10 days before the November election, the Monterey County civil grand jury took a shot at Marina's political leadership.

On Tuesday, the Marina City Council, led by newly re-elected Mayor Bruce Delgado, will craft its formal response to the blistering grand jury report.

In an interim report released Oct. 26, the grand jury criticized an unidentified council member, widely seen as being Delgado, for interfering with city business on the staff level.

And the grand jury said an ad hoc city committee dealing on issues with the Marina Equestrian Center hadn't been forthright with public requests for committee documents in violation of the state open meeting law. It also criticized the city for not having a plan to make the equestrian center a public park, as required by the initial donation of the land to Marina by the National Park Service.

At the time, city officials were split along political lines about the accuracy of the grand jury report and its release so close to the Nov. 6 election.

Under state law, the city has 90 days to formally respond to the grand jury, and a proposed response has been drafted by Councilmen Frank O'Connell and David Brown.

Their response "respectfully disagrees" with the grand jury's finding that at least one council member acted in an administrative capacity and interfered in negotiations for potential business developments.

"The council is not aware that any of its members have violated any such laws or policies, nor have any ... made any promises, representations or commitments," the draft response says.

As for the ad hoc committee, the draft response said the group has done its work and should be dissolved by January. A delay in providing a member of the public with a copy of a PowerPoint presentation to the committee was a minimal violation of the state meeting law and was "cured" within 30 days, the draft response says.

The council will consider a grand jury recommendation to enact an ethical code for city officials, the draft response says.

Also Tuesday, the Marina council is scheduled to:

· Hold a public hearing on a request by Carmel Marina Corp. to raise waste disposal rates for residential and commercial customers by 1.5 percent, excluding senior citizen rates.

· Consider changes to the project approvals for the The Dunes on Monterey Bay to defer impact fees for the low-cost housing project, the University Villages Apartments.

Developer South County Housing is seeking deferral of about $350,000 in impact fees until building permits are issued and another $350,000 until final building inspection.

Friday, December 14, 2012

(Monterey Co) Sheriff's overtime excessive, grand jury says

By LARRY PARSONS, The Herald -

The Monterey County civil grand jury issued four interim reports Thursday, including one targeting "excessive" overtime costs in the Sheriff's Office.

The other reports examined issues dealing with the Salinas Valley Solid Waste Authority, Carmel Area Wastewater District and progress on medical trauma care in the county.

The reports, which are separate from a final report to be released in January when the grand jury finishes its term, brought the number of interim reports to six, an unusually high number.

The grand jury said overtime pay in most county departments is reasonable, but found "an excessive level" in the sheriff's and emergency communications departments.

"We also felt there was a degree of apathy regarding this excessive overtime," the grand jury said.

It recommended the Sheriff's Office impose a cap of 56 hours of work per week and replace deputies on workers' compensation leave with "on loan positions" to reduce overtime costs.

The civil grand jury, which examines operations of local government, also said the county should use more part-time workers to reduce overtime and should highlight overtime costs in budget documents.

County department heads, the grand jury said, should be required to explain overtime costs when they exceed 8 percent of their quarterly payroll.

On the Salinas Valley Solid Waste Authority, an agency exploring two alternate technologies to reduce landfill dumping, the grand jury said the agency should cease research and analysis of "any type of conversion technology."

The grand jury said the agency's Sun Street transfer station in Salinas raises "social justice issues."

The county would be better served by a single agency making "long-range strategic decisions ... rather than having competing agencies," the grand jury said.

The Peninsula and Salinas Valley have individual solid waste agencies.

The grand jury followed up the 2010 grand jury's investigation into county trauma-care planning. It said there should be no further extension of the planning timeline, and if neither Natividad Medical Center nor Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital go forward as "Level II trauma center(s)," the county should designate a center with a lower level of care.

The grand jury said the Carmel Area Wastewater District is addressing employee morale issues raised by the 2010 and 2011 hirings of a general manager and facility superintendent. It said the board of directors should "make every effort" to consider internal and outside applicants for senior positions.

But the grand jury said the district is "run efficiently and managed effectively."

The reports, as well as previously released interim reports, are available on the county website ( or the Superior Court website (

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

(San Diego Co) Muckrakers wanted for civil grand jury

by Fox5 Web Staff -

San Diego court officials are looking for dedicated citizens willing to spend a year studying local government and recommending fixes as part of the county’s grand jury for 2013-14.

The 19-member civil grand jury, to be chosen in June, looks at the functioning of governmental agencies, often in response to allegations of wrongdoing, and serves in a “watchdog” capacity. They will work four days a week and meet at the Hall of Justice downtown.

Applications can be downloaded at from the San Diego County website. They also are available by calling 619-450- 7272, or going to Jury Services offices downtown courthouse or jury lounges at the North, South and East branches of the court.

Jurors are expected to work for about six hours a day, starting July 1 and continuing through the fiscal year, which ends June 30. Jurors are paid a daily stipend and reimbursed for mileage. Parking is provided.

Applications are due by Jan. 11. Qualified candidates will be nominated for a random drawing tentatively scheduled for June 7.

Candidates must be U.S. citizens, at least 18 years old, have sufficient knowledge of the English language and have lived in the county for at least a year prior to selection. All candidates will be required to pass a criminal background check.