Welcome to the SBC Superior Courthouse …

How ’bout a latte with that legal brief? A Jamba Juice for your jury room wait?

William Vickrey, administrative director of California’s courts, conjured that very image Wednesday when he told a state Assembly hearing that the judiciary should consider “public-private partnerships? when building new courthouses.

Lawmakers were keen on hearing ways courts can get the most bang for the 1.8 billion bucks in bond money that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants for courthouse construction over the next decade. And while so-called public-private partnerships are more typically associated with new roads or redevelopment projects, Vickrey said there’s no reason the private sector shouldn’t have a role in new court facilities.

“We have to design a process that allows the most flexibility,? he said. His suggestions: Why not lease commercial space on the ground floors of new court buildings? Or perhaps law firms would like to rent out a wing or two?

The notion piqued the interest of Assemblyman Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, who called it “an innovative way to proceed.?

California is a long way from selling retail space and naming rights. Labor unions and Republicans are sure to spar if the GOP tries to relax some state bidding and construction rules favoring organized labor in big project construction. But the potential partnering raises some delicious possibilities ….

— Cheryl Miller


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