Wednesday, February 04, 2004

And we, the editors, opine that you are really, really bad.

Well the PD editorial board has chimed in regarding the recent revelation that the Annie E. Casey Foundation would like to help the court. (I mentioned the previous article here).

The editorial appears to clear up a detail that confused me in the original article: The Annie E. Casey Foundation contacted the Cuyahoga County Government about the local Juvenile Court, rather than contacting the court itself. Does that make any sense? Shouldn't the foundation have sought out the organization it wanted to help? The County Government is a separate branch of government with only the power of the purse to control the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court. Although that is a great deal of power, technically, the Court could compel the Commissioners to give it any funding it desires by court order (within reason of course--I doubt that the Court could require the Commissioners to provide ice cream machines in every courtroom...)

It appears that Lee Trotter, an administrator at the County Justice Affairs Department confessed that he failed to return calls to the Foundation. So the Court didn't refuse help offered? It was the County government once again failing to support its Juvenile Court? Well I'm not shocked. I've heard rumors that the Justice Affairs Department may be folded. Is this the public beginning of its end?

The editorial falls apart at the end by taking a shot at the current Administrative Judge at the Court: "Administrative Judge Joseph Russo said he wouldn't mind help from the foundation, but he maintains the court has done well on its own. He said all three studies are out of date, and he has his own reports showing that the judges are resolving cases faster, and that the number of youngsters in detention has dropped.

That show of progress would have more credibility if Lubow and his fellow Casey Foundation consultants could provide independent confirmation. "

The fact is that all studies are out of date. And even if the consultants do a new study, it will be out of date by the time it is released. I've got no reason to doubt the numbers provided by the judge. Basically the PD seems to say, "Don't confuse us with the facts, we have an agenda to promote." I wish I knew what the agenda was. Is it the downfall of the Justice Affairs Department? My guess is that it involves the new detention/intervention center. Lately, the PD has found a way to bring up the number of beds proposed in every article involving the Court. Are the commissioners backing out of the Quincy Avenue site? Or does the Juvenile Court no longer desire that site and the Commissioners are using the PD to tell the Court they better take what they can get?

I have a lot of questions after reading this editorial. I don't think they are the ones the PD intended though.

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