‘City In Decline’ Report Skips Court Woes

Another example of how off-the-radar our civil courts crisis can be: The once-anticipated Los Angeles 2020 Commission report of “A City In Crisis” does not include those long lines at the courthouse or the slow dismantling of our juvenile and community courthouse system. Indeed, after reading the Los Angeles Times review of our city’s crisis, you realize that our “paper of record” has taken a harder look at the crackdown on jaywalking than on the civil courts.
Granted, that may be because you have to connect the dots. Superior Courts funding is a “state issue,” until it becomes a police issue, a landlord-renter issue, a business development issue, an economic recruitment issue – in other words, until it disrupts the stuff that forces headlines. Reviews of the 20-page report, actually billed as “part one,” have been harsh, with the L.A. Weekly calling it “a mess” and noting that the group complains that the city leadership “… suffers from a crisis in leadership and direction” before saying “… it’s clear that this report is suffering from a crisis in leadership and direction, as it bogs down in the same old thinking. Whether this condition also applies to the city’s leaders is impossible to know, as the report does not analyze, address or acknowledge anything that any particular city leader has done about any of these issues.”
The “independent commission,” chaired by former U.S. Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor, is comprised of 13 men and women and was set up after voters turned down a recent city tax increase. An L.A. Times opinion piece ran down the crisis list: “The city, according to the report, is afflicted with weak job growth; high poverty; bad traffic; underperforming schools; weak, inactive government; red tape that stifles economic development; crumbling infrastructure; unfunded pensions; budget gimmicks and a disaffected electorate… Los Angeles is sinking into a future in which it no longer can provide the public services to which our people’s taxes entitle them and where the promises made to public employees about a decent and secure retirement simply cannot be kept.”
It’s lively reading, but perhaps frustrating to anyone hoping that rationed justice can receive the same attention as the live-altering use of budget gimmicks.