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So I mocked the grand jury this morning and how does it respond? Apparently, it was exactly what they wanted.

But we still don’t get any word on whether the downtown library is financially feasible, which was, of course, the purpose of the grand jury’s investigation in the first place:

Dear Mr. Lewis,

We are happy to see the public interest your column has generated in the Grand Jury, even if its role is somewhat misrepresented. 

The Grand Jury’s operation is mandated under California Penal Code Sections 888 et seq.  Our mandate includes not only San Diego County, but also municipal agencies within the County, such as the City of San Diego.

But that’s the boring legal part.  Our job is actually much more interesting.  We are a body of 19 County citizens who volunteer to serve for one year.  We select issues to investigate based on internally-generated ideas and from citizens’ complaints that are submitted to us in confidence throughout our term.  Investigations may or may not result in a published Report.

The scope of the 2006/2007 Grand Jury Reports covers a broad range of issues: from an analysis of the complex financial operation of a public pension board, to highly technical infrastructure issues such as water, wastewater, emergency water storage, and many things in between.  We initiated investigations on probably twice the number that resulted in issued Reports.  This term we reviewed more than 70 complaints submitted by citizens.  Many lead to investigations that did not result in a Report.

To date 14 Reports have been released to the public with more to come (www.sdcounty.ca.gov/grandjury/reports.html).  The power of the Grand Jury is that issued Reports include formal Recommendations that are addressed to specific agencies that are then required by law to submit a public response within 60 to 90 days of the Report’s issue.

One of the more important tools we have is to bring issues to the public’s attention and, hopefully, stimulate public debate.  Judging from the comments in response to your article, we are succeeding.

We encourage the public to bring matters of interest to the Grand Jury using the citizen complaint process.  A complaint form can be found on the Grand Jury’s web site at: www.sdcounty.ca.gov/grandjury/forms/complaint_form.html.

Sincerely,

David Higgins

On behalf of the 2006/2007 Grand Jury

By the way, the best reader comment so far, I think, came from Point Loman, who wrote, in part:

The County Grand Jury just rendered itself completely irrelevant. That is the most useless report I think I’ve ever seen come out of a government commission. Do these people not have anything better to do with their time? Their next report is going to tell us all we should be donating our cars to the city to recycle so it can build a new city hall.

Fact: That made me laugh.

Finding: I’m going to have to read all of these reports now.

Fact: Oh yeah, I guess that’s their goal.

SCOTT LEWIS

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