Friday, April 18, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Shoddy state court action

By
From page A4 | October 02, 2013 | 19 Comments

El Dorado County has been at the top of the list for getting a new courthouse. After looking at a number of possible sites, the Administrative Office of the Courts picked the site El Dorado County has wanted all along. That site, on county property, is next to the county jail and would include a tunnel from the jail to a holding cell in the courthouse.

At an Oct. 26, 2012 meeting of the Judicial Counci,l El Dorado County’s courthouse projects received the following  designation: “proceed with site acquisition and reduce hard construction costs additionally by 10 percent.”

One of the pieces of land the county has an option on includes part of property owned by the Briggs Family Trust. Supervisor Ron Briggs, in recognition of the conflict of interest, has recused himself from all deliberations and discussions relative to this matter and also relative to interchange construction at Ray Lawyer Drive.

Now comes an anonymous, unsigned letter to the Administrative Office of the Courts from a bogus outfit called El Dorado County Taxpayers Group. This phony outfit has nothing to do with the real Taxpayers Association of El Dorado County formed in the 1960s, and whose president signs all correspondence.

The July 25 anonymous letter accuses Ron Briggs of “corruption” and without any evidence claims the last grand jury disbanded because of it. Our reading is personality conflicts were at the heart of a number of grand jurors quitting and then being disbanded for lack of a proper quorum.

Regardless, an anonymous letter writer can make up his own facts, which he does freely. An anonymous letter writer can also take a few facts and twist them, which he does freely.

The real crime is the Administrative Office of the Courts got sucked in by this screed. Curtis L. Child, chief operating officer, sent a letter dated Sept. 6 to the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors and the county counsel in which he, based on the anonymous letter, changed the designation of the El Dorado County courthouse site plan to “controversial.”

“… the administrative director of the courts typically approves site acquisition terms before the proposed acquisition is submitted to  the State Public Works Board for acquisition approval. If a site is considered a ‘controversial site,’ however, the proposed acquisition must be approved by the Judicial Council before submission to SPWB.”

“The concerns expressed in the attached letter appear to warrant treatment of the site at 300 Forni Road as a ‘controversial site.’”

In other words, the Placerville courthouse project just got the kiss of death.

“In light of the significant cuts to courthouse construction funding over the last few years that have resulted in projects being canceled, scaled back, suspended or delayed, the Judicial Council will want to know that the Placerville project is cost-effective and reflects good stewardship of limited state resources.”

This letter from courts CAO Child came on the letterhead of the Judicial Council of California, Administrative Office of the Courts, and included the names of Steven Jahr, administrative director of the courts, and California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, who visited the downtown El Dorado County Courthouse and spoke to the local judges last year.

The courts would not accept an anonymous letter into evidence. Neither should the chief justice. We call on the chief justice to remove this “controversial site” label.

Mountain Democrat

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 19 comments

  • 1036-FrankSeptember 30, 2013 - 6:12 pm

    Sounds like a case of conspiracy to influence by false identification, by appearing to be a known legit group, so as to influence a public body negatively by use of a similar or known legit group's identity. I have a good idea where this came from, a certain "Gang" comes to mind that has tried their dirty tricks and illegal actions long enough. The very same ones who are always stating someone, usually a local public official, is under "investigation" without ever revealing the facts or by what agency or by whom which is all highly suspect to believe there is truth in any of it. This gang, after conviction, should join their leader and associates behind bars, this time for a long time.

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  • EvelynSeptember 30, 2013 - 7:23 pm

    Is the El Dorado County Taxpayers Group letter available to the public, and/or does the Mt. Dem. have a copy?

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  • SparkyOctober 01, 2013 - 5:16 am

    10-22 Frank loves a good false accusation to complement his frontier justice ramblings of guilty until proven innocent. It is mind boggling that the appearances of a multi-million dollar manipulation by a sitting Board member moves long with little fanfare, but a letter pointing out the obvious is conspiracy? Wow. Clearly, the hate is personal.

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  • spectatorOctober 01, 2013 - 6:15 am

    Boldly, the MDem writes: "Supervisor Ron Briggs, in recognition of the conflict of interest, has recused himself from all deliberations and discussions relative to this matter and also relative to interchange construction at Ray Lawyer Drive." Hmmmmmmm.

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  • Teresa Ruano, Office of Communications, Administrative Office of the CourtsOctober 01, 2013 - 10:16 am

    The AOC’s letter to the Board of Supervisors did not designate the acquisition as controversial. Instead, it asked the Board of Supervisors to respond to the allegations. If the site is deemed controversial, it doesn’t kill the project, it simply requires that the Judicial Council review the issues surrounding the site selection, preceded by a period of public comment, and approve the final site selection decision.

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  • EvelynOctober 01, 2013 - 11:08 am

    Teresa Ruano: Thank you for clearing up the misunderstanding arising from an anonymous opinion piece apparently taking a fact and twisting it. The Mt. Dem. should issue a print correction for readers who don't peruse online comments.

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  • Walking TallOctober 02, 2013 - 5:20 am

    OMG just because a person who happens to own a piece of real estate and years later that property is being considered for a court house site, certainly doesn't prove a thing. If Mr. Briggs had the good fortune to buy this land and now may see a return on his investment is just that a return. If he planned this years ago I would like to know what numbers he plans on picking in our state loto or who he picks to win the world series or or or. Obiviously he has had a windfall if it is built but aside from that, I say build it and be happy the site is available and let his investment be just what it is. They built the bridge long ago so get over it....

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  • RichOctober 02, 2013 - 6:30 am

    Former Senator John Briggs, Ron’s father first held the subject property under Santiago investments after carefully selecting the site forming the counties traffic master circulation plan around it in the 1980s. And has since used his influence, his son Ron and his son-in-law Judge Baileys influence to develop the site. Buy it and they will come. with a little help. I wonder how much government time has been used in the development to this point. How many more will be used to pay the cost of the infrastructure. I personally don’t care if the Briggs family makes a little money, but they need to pay their fair share if additional commercial property around the 25 acre court house site is developed.

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  • cookie65October 02, 2013 - 6:36 am

    I follow the use of the term "controversial". I make note of its use throughout the media. They use it in order to establish an impression in the minds of their consumers. They never use it in application to that which they support, only that which they oppose. It is used to arouse suspicion. They even label people with it that they don't align with politically. It is one of the most frequently used words in the media. This story illustrates how effective it is, for the simple reason that people have been trained to respond to it. Like racism, discrimination or hate. It allows the accuser to bypass providing any evidence. When ever I see it, my first instinct is to question the motive of the user.

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  • cookie65October 02, 2013 - 6:45 am

    A large portion of the $40 million harry reid and his two sons have amassed since his arrival in the Senate has come from land deals he had insider information on and the ability to direct increased value on desert land knowing future use of said land.

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  • SparkyOctober 02, 2013 - 7:11 am

    More rambling rationalizations from Talking Wall. Now, if his favorite BOS member was involved then frontier justice would be the only option. It is interesting that being a beneficiary of millions of dollars is just good fortune and a sound investment strategy, but a 5 figure grant split between two people over 8 years is a felony. Blind hatred is an ugly thing. @Rich has it exactly right regarding the courthouse property, come clean, pay the fair share of benefit and move along.

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  • RichOctober 02, 2013 - 7:13 am

    Now that Ron Briggs is termed out as El Dorado County Supervisor district #4, who will the Briggs family trust support to replace him and continue the development of the family 25 acre site next to the proposed new court house? I would guess when we find out the answer to that question, we will know who not to vote for.

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  • 1036-FrankOctober 02, 2013 - 8:34 am

    This land near the jail, which is in several names and ownership happens to be in the place the state needs for a courthouse and they will buy it. I wonder if next they will claim the Forni's knew that highway 50 would move North into their old ranch and that therefore their family is profiting because of it. The fact is this courthouse needs to be next to the jail and the state will need to buy up that land from whoever owns it.This site is also a logical one for a Sheriff's Department office as has been talked about since the new jail opened.

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  • RaulOctober 02, 2013 - 8:51 am

    A Editorial Column is also a unsigned Anonymous Letter. It is well known that the mt Democrat's Editorial Column is the playtoy for certain EDC politcians and their bootlickers. In this case its pretty obvious that someone with a personal interest does not want public scrutiny. Why?

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  • VicOctober 02, 2013 - 8:57 am

    Seems to be an issue of the Briggs Family Trust paying their fair share. Briggs senior had the foresight to buy a cheap piece of ground and with influence and no doubt some hard work makes it into an expense piece of ground. Every dollar of development/infrastructure costs the Briggs can get the tax payers to pay is another dollar that remains in the Briggs family trust, which could amount to millions.

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  • RichOctober 02, 2013 - 8:59 am

    “Now comes an anonymous, unsigned letter to the Administrative Office of the Courts from a bogus outfit called El Dorado County Taxpayers Group. This phony outfit has nothing to do with the real Taxpayers Association of El Dorado County formed in the 1960s, and whose president signs all correspondence”…... The real TAXPAYERS ASSOCIATION: A group of like thinking individuals mostly in or around Republican politics connected to the development industry whose main job it seems to be is to support Republican supervisors and to convince them to vote the “RIGHT” way in return for their support. My all time favorite experience with the group was when Jack Sweeney and his good friend, here, sit on my lap Helen, contacted the Association to help put down an issue they perceived was challenging their authority. During the Tax Payers Associations next meeting which I attended, after discussing Jacks issue and of course agreeing. The entire group begin chanting,” no buddy tells the Supervisors what to do, no buddy tells the Supervisors what to do.” it was hard to believe unless you witnessed it like I did. So, what makes the old tax payers group more credible than the new taxpayers group? Maybe it’s just as simple as, they are just not the right people in the eyes of the Mountain Democrat.

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  • EvelynOctober 04, 2013 - 3:00 pm

    Courthouse: MORE

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