Feb 232015
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Think back to August.

You may remember that way back in August I got a speeding ticket.  Six weeks later I received a Courtesy Notice from the friendly folks at Superior Court in Solano County.  Although it was helpful in terms of what to do, the notice was inexplicably vauge on the details of the services that I was paying for.  At first I was perplexed and annoyed.  But then I told myself.  This is California the greatest states in the USA.  They will be happy to explain.  So, like any red blooded American I asked for an explanation.  Living in a democracy where public employees are supposed to serve the public, I sent back my ‘bail’ with a letter requesting more information and questioning how speeding on I-80 should incur charges for medical airlifts and court security among other things. Well, the wait is over. I got my reply from the Court.

I have to admit being disappointed.

As you can see, it’s not even a form letter. There are 9 check box responses under a heading that promises that response to my inquiry will be found in the statements below. None are checked and when I read them, I don’t find anything resembling an answer to any of my questions. I appreciate Marilyn taking the time to type my docket information and her name in the memorandum. I know she must be busy.  Still it would have so much more satisfying if she had responded to any of my points. How could she possible believe that a meaningless piece of paper satisfies her obligation as a public employee to answer the questions of a taxpayer? What about response is so hard for her to understand?

I have been on the other side. 

What makes this more dismaying for me is that for nearly 35 years, I worked for the public myself at the municipal level. In those days, any letter received by my agency received a reply tailored to the issues raised in the letter. It was usually a nuisance, even a pain in the butt,  but we were careful to reply to each point even when the issues were ridiculous because the authors were voters. We might not be able to make them happy, but if they took the trouble to write us a letter, they were damn well going to get a letter back from us. These days, maybe they do it with emails but I bet they still make a response and anyway the court only gave me a mailing address.

It could be worse, I guess. 

I have to admit that the Court does seem to get part of the program. They sent me a written reply to my email. It just failed to provide any response to my questions. Since I still don’t have answers to my questions, I have to decide what to do next.

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Ralph is the inspiration for Cantankerous Old Coots and is our Grand Duke of Cantankerousness

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  9 Responses to “Superior Court of California, County of Solano responds to my letter”

  1. Toy with them. Send them a courteous response thanking them for their response. Then ask, “My original question was “_”. Please explain to me how your response answers my question.

  2. It’s close enough for government work.

  3. Frank,
    That is definitely a good idea. I guess I was ready to give up on them and move up the food chain. Dogged persistence used to be one of my strengths. I guess maybe I’m losing it.

  4. Hansi,
    Maybe your government but not the one I used to work for.

  5. I think what she is trying to tell you is that she has no idea except that once the violation is given a #, the bail is set by statute.

    I tried to research you issue and found a reference to lasuperiorcourt.org – misdemeanor/infraction Bail Schedule that shows the fee based on violation #.

    What I couldn’t find out was how this fee was determined. There must be some traffic tribunal that sits around and decides what the fees should be.

  6. Judy,
    Thanks for doing that research. Maybe you are right and she flat our doesn’t know and government work being what it is, she can’t confess to ignorance. I may try Frank’s suggestion or I might just bump it up to my Assemblyman. You would thing that somebody can answer my questions.

  7. Why am I not surprised? it’s always like this – what’s new?

    • Shahar,
      I am not sure that it has always been this way. I think we have allowed the government to get arrogant.

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