Courthouses Ain’t Feelin’ the Bonds of Love

When it comes to doling out bond money for public works projects, California voters like highways. They also like schools, levees, hospitals, transit, affordable housing, parks and ports. In fact, there’s not much they don’t like, with the glaring exceptions of courthouses and jails.

Those are the findings of the latest Field Poll released Wednesday. Conversations with 680 registered voters revealed strong support for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s $222 billion public works initiative. Asked about the various components of the governor’s proposal, however, those same voters offered widely varying degrees of support.

Seventy-six percent said they’d vote for a bond to fix and build highways. Seventy-one percent said bond money should go to retrofitting hospitals — an item not even included in Schwarzenegger’s proposal. But just 35 percent favored financing courthouse construction, a level of support that ranked dead last among a list of 10 projects. Prison construction ranked ninth with only 36 percent voter support.

The poll is just more bad news for Chief Justice Ronald George, who is lobbying lawmakers — so far unsuccessfully — to keep Schwarzenegger’s $1.8 billion court bond proposal in any final package sent to voters. George told a gathering of lawmakers Tuesday that fixing California’s crumbling courthouses is crucial to the state’s economy and public safety and to their constituents’ general satisfaction. But apparently, the only things George left the Capitol with Tuesday night were a polite reception and a framed legislative resolution honoring him for his 10 years as chief justice.

Cheryl Miller

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2 Responses to “Courthouses Ain’t Feelin’ the Bonds of Love”

  1. Kevin Wheelwright Says:

    Is a transcript of Chief Justice George’s speech available ?

  2. legalpad Says:

    Ah, Kevin, you shoulda left us your email … Our ace Supreme Court reporter Mike McKee dug up this link to a PDF file of George’s speech: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/reference/documents/soj022806.pdf … Enjoy. — Brian McDonough, Associate Editor

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