Budget Bludgeon

Kudos to the Board of Supervisors for finally asking Sheriff Brown some hard questions regarding his budget, the new jails in North County, and plans for the old jail in South County. As usual, the sheriff’s numbers don’t add up. His presentation was an embarrassment for anyone working in the Sheriff’s department. Watch the video yourself online.

I applaud Supervisor Lavagnino for saying he thought the board should not go forward with the new jail projects until they received some firm numbers and a real plan from the sheriff. And that was before he called the sheriff out for obviously misleading him and Chair Janet Wolf during a tour of the Sheriff’s Aviation program and facilities, about whether there was a full-time lieutenant at the facility. During the tour he said, “Absolutely.” Now the sheriff says he didn’t say that. Who do we believe? Two supervisors who adamantly remember the question and answer, or a sheriff who has misled this board for many years, on so many issues that it’s hard to keep up.

That was just one small part of the whole fiasco. When you watch the video from the April 6th meeting, you’ll see how many questions regarding staffing, funding, jail population numbers, operating costs, etc. could not be answered by the sheriff or his staff. This has been an ongoing problem with Sheriff Brown, and it’s time they put a stop to it. The supervisors will make the final decisions on whether to put the county (that’s us, the taxpayers) on the hook for the massive operating costs for Sheriff Brown’s two new jails. With the decline in jail population, maybe we don’t need the second facility. It’s my hope that they can assure us they have asked all the right questions. Whatever answers the sheriff gives them, I would hope that they would verify the accuracy of those answers, however they have to do that, because that, folks, is the elephant in the room … can we believe anything he says?

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