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City adopts resolution opposing courthouse closure
Barstow urges state officials to stop inequitable funding of county courts statewide
BARSTOW • The City of Barstow adopted a formal resolution opposing the closure of the local courthouse, claiming that the money for county courts is unequally distributed statewide.
The City Council approved the resolution, urging state officials to provide equal access to the judicial system for all.
“The City of Barstow is extremely concerned about the operational service cuts to the courts in San Bernardino County and negative effects the Barstow courthouse closure will have on the Barstow community,” a portion of the resolution states.
The resolution opposes any further budget reductions to the courts. It outlines nine major impacts the closure will have in Barstow, including transportation hardship for the community and increased costs to the Barstow Police Department in man-hours, fuel, vehicle maintenance and loss of productivity.
According to the document, 21 percent of the population in Barstow lives below the poverty level and 46 percent are on some form of government aid.
“Many households do not own vehicles and must rely on public transportation and there is no public transportation for accessing court services in other communities,” City Manager Curt Mitchell said.
Mitchell also said in the City Council meeting on Monday that the closure would impact mutual cooperation between the Police Department and District Attorney’s office and court judges with the decrease in proximity.
Local attorneys, the probation office and the local drug court program — which has a remarkable success rate according to the resolution — would also all be impacted. Domestic violence victims would have to travel further to obtain restraining orders, and service organizations would be forced to provide funds for services outside of the community.
“We’re just trying to do everything we can,” Mayor Julie Hackbarth-McIntyre said. “You just have to do everything possible and hopefully they’ll listen.”
The formal resolution will be forwarded to California Governor Jerry Brown, the State Legislature, the California Judicial Council and the Superior Court of California, County of San Bernardino.
She said the city is also working with other High Desert Mayors to adopt the resolution.