June 28, 2007
Your Honor Judge Almquist and Citizens of Santa Cruz County,
We respectfully offer our report to the citizens of Santa Cruz County with the hope that we have contributed to the transparency of government and a deeper understanding of our county services. We have researched each report as thoroughly as possible and gathered a depth and breath of knowledge that could not have been gained in any other way. In so doing, the Grand Jury has followed a tradition that dates back to medieval England’s King Henry II.
The practice of overseeing local government was included in the formation of the colonies and incorporated into the writing of the U.S. Constitution. In California, the Grand Jury system has existed in every county since 1850. It has the charge to examine local governmental agencies and effect change by producing findings, recommendations for improvement and commendations. The title “Grand” refers to the seating of a panel of 19 members instead of 12 in the criminal jury system.
Santa Cruz County is one of the few remaining counties to select their jurors from the list of voters and vehicle registrations. The jurors are selected in a drawing after going through a selection process to assure representation from each of the supervisorial districts and interviews with the presiding judge. Now that the work is completed in the Santa Cruz Grand Jury Report of 2006-07, we will pass the torch to the next year’s jurors.
Each of us as jury members gained new and unexpected insights that greatly helped us meet the challenges that we faced, and I would like to offer my sincere thanks to each member for being willing to work diligently and professionally to the end of our term of service.
We would also like to thank those who provided material during
our investigations, thereby helping to set a higher degree of accountability
and endeavor to benefit our County. Due to the fact that an average citizen has
limited time to observe and ask questions of their governing body, we, the
jury, sought to be the ears, eyes and voice in your quest for excellence in
2006-2007 Grand Jury of Santa Cruz County