Mountain View Voice

News - June 8, 2012

Voters affirm 2010 county jail restructuring

by Daniel DeBolt

Voters decided to lift Santa Clara County out of a legal predicament over its 2010 restructuring of the county's jails. Measure A is passed handily with 77 percent voting in favor and only 23 percent opposed.

The measure was placed on the ballot by the county after several lawsuits were filed challenging the legality of a 2010 budget cutting move that saved $7 million in running the county's jails. County Supervisor Liz Kniss and the Santa Clara County Correctional Peace Officers Association said the restructuring violated a 1988 amendment to the county charter that established a Department of Corrections to run the jails and therefore needed a public vote.

The purpose of measure A was to "reaffirm the recent restructuring, ensure compliance with the law, and clarify and broaden the Board of Supervisors' discretion in determining how to most efficiently operate the county jails" says the argument for it, signed by all five county supervisors.

Shortly after the 2010 restructuring, San Jose lawyer James McManis sued the county "to make sure the county followed the law like the rest of us."

"We got exactly exactly what the lawsuit is designed to get," McManis said. "The supervisors are doing what they should have done a long time ago, which is putting it to a vote of the people."

There is no organized opposition to the Measure and Kniss said she was firmly in support of it.

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