[AC Martin's sketch for the planned Madera Superior Courthouse; this development, now in schematic design, precedes the list of SB 1407-authorized projects]
Funding authorized by SB 1407 was supposed to be used to replace and repair of dozens of courthouses, including numerous courthouses in LA County, but now the state wants to use that money to pay for court operations and avoid layoffs. Calling for a compromise and a better allotment of court funds, an editorial in today's Los Angeles Times urges movement on the courthouse work. "Today's court operations funding problem could well be severe, but so is the need to replace or repair dozens of ramshackle, outmoded, unsafe and just plain inconveniently located courtrooms in many of California's 58 counties, including Los Angeles. The funds -- authorized by legislation known as SB 1407 -- should finally be allowed to do their work."
A piece in Capitol Weekly last week also argued the work should go on and even argued that people are dying because of poor design. Gulp.
"First, delays in implementation would prolong security risks. In March 2009, a defendant in a Stockton courtroom was shot to death after he attacked the judge with a handmade weapon. No barrier separated the witness stand from the judge’s bench, illustrating the direct relationship of security to courthouse design and construction."
And while the Capitol Weekly piece doesn't specifically mention architects, the piece points out all the work that would be generated by courthouse construction. "What better time than now to move forward with important state infrastructure when construction and site acquisition costs are at a low mark and construction industry unemployment is at a high mark?"
· Rebuilding California's courts [LA Times]
· Bad idea: Using court construction funds to cover operational costs [Capitol Weekly]