The Board of Supervisors voted to close the Justice Court in Sonoita at the March 21 meeting. This was after numerous eastern Santa Cruz County residents not only spoke in opposition but gave a substantial numbers of valid reasons and facts to keep it open. This was the second board meeting as well as a working meeting where the egregious recommendation by the County Manager was discussed.

Many attendees said they believed that the decision had already been made and the board
proved them right by voting to close the court. The recommendation was lacking in fiscal responsibility as there was absolutely no research done on the actual savings estimated to be $200,000. There was no information provided as to what the added costs will be to have the cases handled by the Justice Court in Nogales and in having to hire new employees to address the increase in case load. Neither of the justices had been spoken to, at least that is what we were told, about the change. This was sprung on both Justice Keith Barth and the residents of eastern SC County long after the recommendation had been placed before the supervisors.

The total lack of responsible research into the recommendation and its lack of transparency flies in the face of professional management. The fact that the process was not transparent in any way and that the people affected most directly were ignored in
the process shows that neither the County Manager nor the supervisors cared what the residents think or what they need. There is a continued ignoring of the residents by the board and this decision supports the feeling that none of the three, Supervisor Bracker
included, are representing our interests and needs. They want our taxes, but in a government that represents the people, we should receive services. Santa Cruz County is not that government. I think, the Santa Cruz County Government philosophy is, “if it
ain’t broke, fix it until it is”. And that’s just what they did.

To add salt to the wound, Supervisor Ruiz, after the vote, said he appreciated our comments and wanted to work with us. He said that communication was important. They must think we are all stupid to have said those words after we were just ignored. That was
more than a slap in the face for all of us. Then, Supervisor Bracker, our supervisor, declined to make any comments. Inexcusable at best. Proof of the advance decision by the board was in the number of law enforcement called in for protection. They wouldn’t have called for them in advance unless they knew the decision before they even stepped into the room.

So, no communication with the courts; no research on the added cost to take over the services from JP2; no plan on how the services will be provided to the residents;
no real thought process other than get rid of JP2. And the supervisors unanimously passed it.

Shame on the entire board of supervisors. You did not do your job in a just and fair way and now proved that you do not represent, or care about, the residents of eastern Santa Cruz County. Maybe we need to give them a lesson in how the government is supposed to work
and suggest a recall is in order. A government of the people, by the people and for the people.