Friday, June 29, 2012

MCSO Law Enforcement Assn. call for Civil Service

Click image for a larger and more clear view of the document
Agenda and ballot placement requested

Association Secretary Dwayne Montigny confirmed the item is on the McLennan Commissioners Court Agenda for Tuesday 

Waco – In a pre-dated memo, Precinct 4 County Commissioner Ben Perry called on the Court to place a presentation on Civil service by the Sheriff's Law Enforcement Association of McLennan County on Tuesday.

None of the parties involved were available for comment at the time The Legendary received the material a few minutes before 11 p.m. on Friday, June 29.

Watch these columns for future developments. - The Legendary

European economic doom, gloom and crisis at a peak

U.S. credit posture precarious in crunch

Brussels – Representatives of the key PIIGS nations – Italy and Spain – blew up and blew out of the European Union economic summit on Thursday.

Their demand: A lower cost of credit charged by the European paymaster, Germany.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and his Spanish counterpart, Mariano Rajoy, refused to sign off on a $149 billion growth package until Germany in turn approved short-term measures to ease their cost of credit, according to news reports.

What is the source of that stability to be?

A Government Accountability Office released the figures in July of 2011 after an amendment to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Law forced the audit.

Said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt), the amendment's sponsor, “This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you're on-your-own individualism for everyone else.”

A few samples of the type of favoritism and under-the-table double dealing uncovered:

  • The CEO of JP Morgan Chase served on the New York Fed's board of directors at the same time that his bank received more than $390 billion in financial assistance from the Fed. JP Morgan served as one of the clearing banks for the Fed's emergency lending programs.

  • On Sept. 19, 2008, William Dudley, the present New York Fed President, got a waiver to let him keep investments in AIG and General Electric at the same time AIG and GE were given bailout funds. The reason: Making Mr. Dudley sell his holdings may have created an appearance of a conflict of interest.

  • The Fed outsourced most of its emergency lending programs to private contractors, many of which also were recipients of extremely low-interest which were made in secret at the time.

  • The Fed outsourced all of its emergency lending operations to JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo. The same firms also received trillions of dollars in Fed loans at near-zero interest rates.

  • Nearly two-thirds of the contracts that the Fed awarded to manage its emergency lending programs were no-bid contracts. Morgan Stanley was given the largest no-bid contract worth $108.4 million to help manage the Fed bailout of mortgage insurer AIG.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Poodie's Hill Top Roadhouse in July 4 "smoke-out"

Poodie’s Hilltop Roadhouse, located in Spicewood, has decided to initiate a smoking ban for restaurant and bar patrons beginning July 5.

The venue, which was opened in 2002 by Willie Nelson’s stage manager of 34 years, Randall “Poodie” Locke, had allowed smoking inside the roadhouse for the past 10 years. Poodie’s is known as one of the last great roadhouses in Texas and is reported to be a frequent of Willie Nelson and other notable country music figures.

“I’ve been thinking about this over the whole last year,” Poodie’s owner Sharon Burke said. “Everyone’s pretty supportive of the change. Most of my patrons are so happy to see this bar alive and honoring the tradition Poodie left.”

The smoking ban was initiated because of health concerns for Poodie’s employees and musicians.

“My staff just became so sick after the weekends,” Burke said. “Musicians wouldn’t come in because of the smoke, so patrons won’t come in.”

While smoking will no longer be allowed in the restaurant, there is a two-tiered deck outside to accommodate smokers.

Poodie’s will celebrate “The Last Smokeout,” an event to commemorate the last day of smoking, with bands performing throughout the day July 4. The following day, Poodie’s will introduce the policy with headlining acts Larry Joe Taylor and William Clark Green. Poodie’s is located on 22308 W. Hwy 71

Supreme Court leaves Obamacare standing

Washington – In a surprise move, Chief Justice John Roberts joined his colleagues in holding the Affordable Healthcare Act of 2010 constitutional.

Mr. Justice Roberts – who was appointed by President George W. Bush - joined the Democratic Party nominees to the Court in a divided opinion in which the Republican nominees dissented.

He wrote, in part, “The Affordable Care Act is constitutional in part and unconstitutional in part. The individual mandate cannot be upheld as an exercise of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause. That Clause authorizes Congress to regulate interstate commerce, not to order individuals to engage in it. In this case, however, it is reasonable to construe what Congress has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income, but choose to go without health insurance. Such legislation is within Congress’s power to tax.”

The law – most of which has yet to take effect in 2014 – has been called “breathtaking” in its requirements for individuals to purchase health care plans or pay a tax, and its penalties for states refusing to participate in an enhanced form of Medicaid for indigent and poor people.

In immediate reaction to the announcement, computer screens froze nationwide as conservatives poured out their outrage and vitriol on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, calling for repeal or nullification of the act.

To read the full text of the ruling, one need only click here.

A number of states have already taken steps to nullify the ObamaCare law through the provisions of the Tenth Amendment. To learn more about how to best influence state legislators to take action, click here.

Courthouse war is nasty, brutal, lingering

Hostilities played out in churches, schools, jails, courts, hiring lines and hospitals – psychological 

When you raise your kids, you're really teaching your grandkids how to behave. - something I read somewhere or the other

A Big Chief Tablet Tale
By Son of Obituary, The Legendary Jim Parks

I came by it honest, this business of writing up courthouse wars.

It was what was going on that summer – forty summers in the past - in the heat of cotton season.

They had disbarred the DA; the Sheriff's race was dirty, hateful; the Democrats were evenly split between the Dirty Thirty faction in the Legislature, Governor Preston Smith and his cronies in the insurance biz, and the conservative banker candidate for Governor, Dolph Briscoe.

The boss was a boozer from Chicago, Kansas City - points mid and west – an old time Hearst man with ties to liquor, guns, women - and cars, flashy, fast, long, low-slung cars.

All the stuff no well-rounded man of the world would think of leaving home without.

The war was carried out in the courtrooms, the council chambers, schools, hospitals and personnel offices – all the places where small town prairie dwellers meet, greet, and then haul off and kick the shins of the competition in a good-natured exercise of the American dream.

Second place is first loser, and the prize for that lackluster performance is a set of steak knives.


But the old Yankee knew a story when he saw one, and the idea was to sell newspapers.

“Anybody accuses you of just trying to sell newspapers, you agree with them most heartily. Tell them 'Thank you, sir,' and urge them to write that down.”

He took a sip at that sour mash he drank, and added, “Offer to let them write it in your notebook.” Stashed the jug back in the bottom desk drawer.

Black Irishman grown old, the kind with two jet black eyebrows that looked like caterpillars crawling over thick, black hornrims, a red potato nose, and a full head of fluffy white hair.

Like most who hail from the west side or the neighborhoods Back of the Yards, he said he was from “Chi-caw-go” - not She-cah-go – Chi-caw-go.

Dude knew how to write a story, too. He put it this way.

“This is a story newspaper. Hey, never let the facts get in the way of a good story, guy. It just isn't done that way around here.”

Around here.

Black land covered with cotton that looked like someone spilled an even coat of popcorn across the landscape. Gaudy sunsets, moments somewhat sublime on foggy mornings when you catch a mama fox and her pups nosing their way out of the woods along the creek bottom or a hawk circling lazy and raptor-like in a sky so blue it hurts to look at it.

In the afternoons, the sun passed its meridian with a vengeance and began to bake the brick veneer of the old building; the only breath of air stirring was that of the old ceiling fans in their lackadaisical, slow turning.

And then Mr. Bob came in the door and called my name where I sat beating on a cast-iron manual typewriter, trying in hundred-plus degree heat to make subject, verb and modifier agree in tense and conjugation at a grimy old oak desk with the dust of nearly a hundred summers worked into its grain.


He knew me.

The High Sheriff, he was, the one who made Raymond Hamilton give up in the woods near Jack's Branch when Bonnie and Clyde came to break him out of his jail – back in the bad old days, when there was no money and people got a secret kick out of reading all about a bunch of badasses raiding the coffers of the ones who fixed their wagons and dried up the money.

Wore a spotless silver belly Stetson square on his silver head like a crown, its brim turned up all the way around like Mr. Sam, Truman or Johnson – or Big John Connally.

Wore a suit and never carried a gun. Said he didn't need one. Made his “boys” wear suits and keep their hog legs inside their jackets.

Think of the news pictures of Capt. Will Fritz or Chief Jessie Curry on November 22, 1963.
He held out his checkbook the way the old timers used to do it, said, “I need you to fill out my check for another year's subscription to the paper, Jimbo.”

Waited while I filled it out, then signed the check with a flourish while I wrote out a receipt.

I thanked him.

“You didn't know Willie and I were next door neighbors for 40 years, did you?”

I knew that. Knew it well.

Willie. My grandfather - farmer, mechanic, merchant – drove a Lincoln limo with a V-12 in it, chewed cigars, played dixieland blues on clarinet. Squinted out of photos with a well-chewed cigar and a newspaper folded up and thrust into a side pocket of his jumper.


“We never had a harsh word, me and Willie,” he said. “I think he'd want me to tell you what I'm fixin' to tell you, boy.”

I nodded, looked him right straight in the eye.

“You don't put your feet on higher ground – son – you're going to the pen...”

Held up his hand and arched his brows to stave off any remark – the one I would in no case have dared to make – and continued.

“Right or wrong, son. That's just the way it's done. You shook these people up, and they will have their innings.”


The expression brought back the crack of the bat, the moan of the crowd following the fly ball through the sky, the chatter of the infield, the hustle and pop of the ball socking into the pocket of a well-oiled glove.


Then he told me the strangest tale. The most electrifying and impromptu interview I have ever been given.

“You can't outdo the law, hoss. Just can't be done.”

Said he didn't want any of this printed until he was long gone and forgotten, but he wanted me to remember what he was going to say.

“This bird named Barrow? They caught him a'stealing cars in Waco when he was about 14. He wasn't big as a minute – never weighed much more than 135-40 pounds. Shoot, he wasn't much bigger than his girl, Bonnie.”

As the story developed, it became very apparent what the old time lawman was talking about. He was explaining what classification of prisoners in jails is all about, and how it is used as a weapon – for good or evil.

Like the classic Jim Thompson character in “The Getaway,” “It does something to you – in there – It does something to you,” said Carter “Doc” McCoy.

“They put him in a high power tank down there at Waco – on one the floors where everybody had been in the pen before...It was hard times, Jimbo. Mighty hard times.” He let that sink in. “And he wasn't but 14 years old. Get it?”

So Clyde Barrow went back to Cement City and the West Dallas world of Singleton Avenue wrecking yards with a new moniker. They called him School Boy – from then on – in the underworld of cops and robbers.

“You know what those old boys did to him in that jail house, Jimbo. He never was right – after that. The girl was just for show, you hear me? They always traveled with another young man.”

Another meaningful silence.

“When they killed Lloyd Bucher, I said I was fed up. I said he was going to have a seat in that electric chair, and I was going to be a witness.”

Then he told the story about the robbery and killing of the pawn broker, jeweler, and suspected fence who had a shop out in the country on the old Ft. Worth highway – Lloyd Bucher.

The Barrow gang always traveled as if they were string banding, playing at dances in houses and halls and blind pig beer joints. They had guitars and fiddles – Clyde had a saxophone.

They came in the middle of the night and told Mr. Bucher they needed guitar strings. He didn't believe them, but finally they persuaded him to let them in, according to his wife.

Something went wrong, once he got the safe open. Crouched down, going through the money and valuables stashed there, he may have struggled, or he may have gone for a hideout gun he kept in the safe.

It was the Barrow gang's first killing, before the deputy at Atoka, before the two highway patrol motorcycle officers near Grapevine – the first one, before any of the rest.

Mr. Bob Wilkerson, then Chief Deputy, had thrown down the gauntlet. Clyde Barrow and Raymond Hamilton would face execution.

He passed the word.

When School Boy heard it, he said there was no way he was going to just haul off and take a seat in Sparky. He would fight to the finish.

It was on.

By the time they were finished, it was Bonnie and Clyde 13 – nine of their victims were police officers – and The State of Texas 2.

Ex-Ranger Frank Hamer and a posse of Dallas deputies of Sheriff Smoot Schmid, the Harley-Davidson dealer in Big D, gunned them down with Browning Automatic Rifles at Arcadia, Louisiana, for the killing of the riding boss at Eastham Prison Farm the day they broke Hamilton out of that joint.

Mr. Bob finished his story this way.

“The night they executed old Hamilton, I had a word with him. I said, 'Son, have you got anything you want to tell me before it's too late?'

“He said, 'The one who done this killing isn't here tonight.' That was all he would ever say. I asked him for that name, but he wouldn't give it up.”

Bob Wilkerson turned on his heel, put one well-polished wingtip ahead of the other, and walked away.

It was the last time we ever spoke to one another.

Finance of greed nets politics of numerical reality

Lone vote of nay points out the pointless

Waco – When the time came to tally the votes, the closed-door negotiations had gone on for months – and a couple of tense days.

Preparing to cast the lone vote of dissent to a deal that would make a bad deal worse for those who must pay the piper, service the debt - rob Peter, pay Paul - McLennan County Commissioner Joe Mashek said, “The white elephant in the room no one is talking about is that the taxpayers are paying the bond debt.”

Here's how it breaks down.

As of Wednesday, there were 238 “overflow” prisoners that would ordinarily be housed in the County Jail on Highway 6 doing their time at the Harwell lockup at the rate of $45.50 per day.

With a bond debt staring them in the face the New Jersey-based corporation, CEC, Inc., drained the downtown jail of prisoners and closed it a year ago while McLennan County spent $1.1 million on new door locks, smoke detectors, escape alarms, skylights – the works – at the old lockup in the Courthouse Annex.

Mr. Mashek recited the numbers that make the measure of the white elephant.

With 238 prioners housed at $45.50 per day, the figure computes to $10,829 every day, multiplied by an average monthly rate of 30 days – equals $324,870 per month.

The tax payers are ultimately responsible to meet that obligation, or the bond rating of the County of McLennan will suffer and the points charged by financiers to underwrite municipal bonds will skyrocket in uncertain economic times.

The bottom line: It all adds up to $3,898,000 per year.

Do you know what we could do with $3,898,000 per year?

The question hung in the air like blue smoke viewed in the reflection of a mirror in the proverbial room of blue smoke.

It wasn't supposed to be that way.

At the time the corporation rushed the Jack Harwell deal through the Commissioners Court, corporate representatives, County Judge Jim Lewis, and assorted bond attorneys loudly proclaimed the feasibility and hard-headed business sense of such a deal. Why not run government like a business? 

They said the proceeds of the deal itself would pay the debt service. Taxpayers, they said, would never be bothered with such a pittance in a future so bright, you had to wear shades to ward off the headaches attached to figuring what to do with all the money.

It ain't necessarily so. The taxpayers who support the corporation known as McLennan County, Texas, the Public Finance Corporation created to erect the Jack Harwell Detention Center, are the ones who are responsible to pay the debt service.


The corporate welfare chiselers have moved heaven and Earth with the cooperation of certain elected officials, County Sheriff Larry Lynch among them, to make the numbers come out right.


There is an entire wing of the County Jail on Highway Six that stands empty, filled with unwanted storage items of some value – plumbing fixtures, building supplies, furniture – but nothing of the value that the stuff should be stored in a high security wing of a lockup built of high density concrete reinforced with hard grade re-bar, tool steel bars, and equipped with the robotic locks, alarms, and other sophisticated electronics and closed circuit video equipment it takes to run a modern prison. This is no warehouse for old commodes and filing cabinets. No way.

That's 24 tanks that hold 10 prisoners each – 240 total. Do the math.

And so, the moment passed. Mr. Mashek voted nay to the extension of the contract for another six months – six months in which the New Jersey corporation will now pay $10,000 per month to not house prisoners at the 300-some-odd bed jail in the Courthouse Annex, unless it begins to repopulate and a “threshold” of 90 percent occupancy of the Jack Harwell Detention Center occurs for any two months in a row, a condition in which CEC, Inc., will pay not less than $40,000 per month to not house prisoners in the Courthouse Annex Jail.

If anyone understands numbers, it's Joe Mashek, a veteran of the wholesale merchandising of a very high mark-up item - spiritous beverages distilled from various grains and other sources of carbohydrates.

Mr. Mashek holds his cards very close to the vest; he has declined to discuss his future plans, political or otherwise.

County Judge Jim Lewis, Precinct 2 Commissioner Lester Gibson, and the Precinct 4 seat formerly occupied by Ray Meadows, now represented by insurance man and former police officer Ben Perry, have split the 5-man vote on the side of the bankers and bond lawyers – right down the line.

There was one note of change in the air. When first-term Commissioner Perry made a motion to extend the CEC contract, he inserted the stipulation that the Court be allowed at least 90 days in which to evaluate and negotiate any subsequent dealings with the corporation.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Kelly Snell, who overcame opposition to be renominated by a wide margin in the GOP primary, chose to abstain.

He said he was out of town last week at an ongoing training session for County Commissioners, missed a closed-door negotiation session with officials of CEC, Inc., and could not bring himself to vote on a question about which he has so little information.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

If you ride a hawg, get ready for this one...

The CDC – yeah, the Center for Disease Control – in Atlanta – isn't satisfied playing dumb about HIV and Hep C, Ebola and weaponized bird flu.

No way.

Now, they've taken on the study of motorcycle crashes and made the case that there is an epidemic of crash-related deaths caused by – you guessed it – not wearing a helmet!


There's the Florida study that says fatalities increased 63.4% from 2000 to 2009.

It's true, but it's equally true that motorcycle registrations increased more than 100% during the same nine-year time frame, according to the foundation.

"More imaginary numbers hold that helmets save money." The claim: In 2008, the U.S. Saved $3 billion because of helmet use - and then the study claimed that the U.S. could have saved an additional $1.8 billion if mandatory helmet laws were on the books.

The evidence that all this is true? Got to be around here somewhere, but don't look in the Center for Disease Control's study, because it's not there, said Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation.

“They provide absolutely zero evidence of this supposed financial burden.”

On the other hand, the foundation has some positive figures of its own. Take rider education. In New Hampshire, said Robert Le Tourneau the state's motorcycle education specialist, there have been 15 fatal motorcyle accidents of rider who tookk the class since 1990 – out of 44,000 students trained during the same time period.

That adds up to 0.34% of fatal motorcycle accidents - with no mandatory helmet law.

CDC uses the highway traffic safety administration's base year for motorcycle fatalities – 1997.

With 2,116 deaths for 3,826,000 registered scooters, 0.055% were killed.

In 2010, there were 4,502 fatalities for 8,368,000 motorcycles registered. That factors out to 0.053%.

“So we have more than doubled the motorcycle population and we have actually reduced fatalities,” said Mr. Hennie.

Then there's the graphic novel about a pandemic of zombie virus that attacks an unsuspecting world – published by you know who.

The solution?

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that people distance themselves from anyone displaying these symptoms. They are also recommending that families gather emergency supplies and start making plans in case they are asked to evacuate...”

Evacuate? Asked to evacuate? Say what?

So, you can grab your flashlight and your crank radio, bottled water and get on the bus, Gus – or you can type in Motorcycle Riders Foundation and read up on the latest news on how to join ABATE and other organizations that are, like the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, “in the business of freedom.”

That's because it's there to keep the inmates in – so they call them inmates?

I give up. Stop me before I hurt myself...And the floggings will continue until morale improves!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

CEC contract extended 6 months – fee cut 75 percent

Waco – McLennan County Commissioners negotiated an extension to the contract with CEC, Inc., to operate the Jack Harwell Detention Center and the Downtown County Jail for an additional six months.

In a 3 to 2 vote, the Court accepted a pay cut from $40,000 per month to sustain the contract on the 329-bed downtown lockup to $10,000 per month, plus one dollar per day for each non-county federal inmate housed at the Detention Center.

The contract addendum will run from July 1 to December 31, “provided, however that should the population in any calendar month for the duration of this Agreement average more than 450 prisoners then the original terms of the...agreement shall instead determine the payments due to the County.”

Commissioner Kelly Snell abstained in the vote; Commissioner Joe Mashek voted against the agreement. County Judge Jim Lewis, Commissioner Lester Gibson, and Commissioner Ben Perry voted for the contract extension.

Payments after December 31 will be based on a threshold monthly average per diem rate of $52.00 and 90% capacity at the Detention Center for a period of two consecutive months. If that threshold is reached, the operator, CEC, Inc., will reopen the downtown jail.

For the first 180 days in that event, “the...fee revenue received by the County from the Downtown Jail shall not be less than $40,000 per month after re-population regardless of population...”

Shaggy dog story ends court security hassle

Bogus budget bingo buck stops here, now

Six Shooter Junction – When the sturm und drang finally arrived, the fat lady didn't sing, no one jumped off a cloud, and the orchestra didn't even play loud.

In fact, the end of the great Visiting Judges' Courtroom hassle was even prefaced by a shaggy dog story that ended on sort of a happy note.

The McLennan County Commissioners Court opted to be reasonable and do things the way Sheriff Larry Lynch requested they do things.

They agreed to pay for part time help with manning security stations on the east door of the Courthouse and an entrance to a new Visiting Judges' Courtroom in the Courthouse where jurors may be received, pre-qualified for jury duty, and wait out of the sight and sound of witnesses, complainants, defendants, and defense attorneys.

Police officers from outside agencies such as the Hewitt Police Department have been scanning people and their baggage for metallic objects such as guns, knives, handcuff keys – anything that would help the bad folks make a break or spill the blood of innocent bystanders, whichever bad act might present itself first.

Problem: These officers had already done the work during the months of April and May. Today, the Court needed to find a way to pay the bill for their services. It was the third Tuesday running in which a solution was sought in the absence of any wise counsel from the wheels at the Sheriff's front office.

An extra added feature of the drama included finding the money in the Sheriff's Department budget to pay officers who work for the department to perform the work henceforth.

And so, Court convened this morning at 9 a.m. with no one from the Sheriff's office present to answer questions, representatives of the rival organizations that ride herd on the interests of deputies, and a few members of the public – all of them just waiting to see what would happen next.
As usual, before anything else can happen, the Agenda compelled everyone to stand and pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, etc...

Having done that, the next order of business is to hear the complaints, comments or questions of members of the public.

The old boy who came forward wore a camoflaged ball cap and jeans, a clean work shirt; he had a reserved, oddly unemotional manner, in which he spun a tale of a very large, obnoxiously friendly and unwanted Great Pyrenees dog someone dumped off in the country near his place.

This critter had a welcome home act for his new neighbors, the people who owned the house on the edge of town he had chosen to homestead.

He put his paws on the windowsill of the driver's door of the pickup truck the old boy drove home from work, and then he refused to move.


When a man returns to the castle and keep, he needs some quality time with mama and the kids, not someone else's unwanted shaggy dog, size extra large, like a Shetland pony.

“He obviously staked out his territory at our house,” the old boy said, deadpan.

He called the Sheriff's Department after his County Commissioner, Lester Gibson, told him that would be the thing to do.

They said they couldn't get to it unless the dog was “aggressively violent.”

It seems the Sheriff's Office has a problem with the number of dogs they can check into the homeless shelter for wayward animals with which McLennan County contracts for services in that department.

Chief Deputy Randy Plemons called out the helicopter, a bunch of deputies, trailers, volunteers, the news media – everyone but the SWAT Team – when he investigated the mistreatmet of some dogs and goats at an alleged “puppy mill” back there last month, right before the Republican Primary Election.

That blew the County's budget for picking up stray dogs, it seems.

They suggested the old boy with the problem call the animal shelter. They said, sure thing. Just load him up and bring him on in.


Have you checked out the size of a Great Pyrenees dog? Nevertheless, the old boy didn't shoot the Great Pyrenees dog. He wasn't exactly aggressively violent, it seems, and neither was the dog.

Things didn't improve the next day, either. His wife came home and got the paws-on-the-driver's-door-windowsill treatment when she wheeled in from a long day abroad.

End of story.

He started making some calls and wound up with both Deputy Plemons and Sheriff Larry Lynch on the phone. Somebody came and got the Great Pyrenees, took him away to greener pastures to stake out new territory for himself.

“In this economy, people are starting more and more to drop off dogs they don't want,” he reminded the Court. Dogs gang up and turn into packs – packs of dogs gone wild. Not good.

The detail has been manned by Sheriff's Officers since the 15th of the month. Where did the money come from to pay the officers? The Jail Medical Department swapped some positions for medical assistants the doctor can't fill for some for nurses for which there are people available.

The difference will pay the salaries of security officers staffed by the Sheriff's Department to man the new security station in the Courthouse Annex.

Curiously, not a word was spoken about the $50,000 in forfeiture funds the Sheriff "recorded" under "personal services" on May 8, or the $239,641 in court cost and forfeitures collected by the District Attorney and recorded on Oct. 25, 2011.

The remaining $11,184 needed to staff the side door to the Courthouse Annex Visiting Judges Courtroom, which is called the IV-D security station in budget parlance and the jurors' assembly room anywhere else they hold court, is included in the $52,250. This way, jurors can come into the Courthouse without mixing with defendants, witneses and complainants in criminal and civil trials, where security is crucial to maintain a pristine record as to the exclusionary rule. The newly remodeled courtroom, part of a $1.1 million project, seats about 350 prospective jurors.

In other business, the Court committed an estimated $700,000 to complete the contract with Johnson Roofing, a move that will waterproof the third and fourth floors of the Courthouse.

Up there, according to the company foreman, you can still find gaps between the masonry and the metal that are big enough you can put your hand through them.
“There's this lady, I don't remember what she does, but her office is on the fourth floor? That water just gushes in up there, every time it rains,” the foreman said.

This will push the project from $1.8 million already spent to an estimated $2.4 million on completion, which is expected some time in October or November.