21 Aug 2014
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Grand Jury Critiques City Practices, Again

The annual citizen report came out late Wednesday. English Language Learners programs were also in the crosshairs.

Grand Jury Critiques City Practices, Again Grand Jury Critiques City Practices, Again

For the second time in as many years, the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury criticized Watsonville city government practices in its annual report.

The report was released late Wednesday and the Grand Jury, a group of county residents who volunteer to be empaneled on the committee, will present its findings at a press conference Thursday morning.

How city staff handle finances—particularly the Strawberry Festival funds—and the ongoing saga of were again investigated by the Grand Jury.

The Grand Jury recommended the city develop an across-the-board cash-handling policy to mitigate many of the problems identified. It also suggested city staff improve the accuracy, completeness, and timeliness of information provided to the City Council and the public.

The in the county, including:

  • English language learner programs are losing information in translation, the Grand Jury found. The issues range from a lack of centralized statistics about the number of students involved to variations in the name of the programs on school district-produced literature and websites.
  • Special districts, such as the Lompico County Water District, need more oversight and LAFCO is not fulfilling its responsibilities on that front.
  • Building departments at the county and in each city should establish procedures to with Environmental Health Services to identify known soil contamination sites during the building permit application process, then create a database to store and share the information.

The Grand Jury explored what lessons the county could learn from the San Bruno natural gas pipeline explosion in September 2010. To do so, the Grand Jury recommended Board of Supervisors should request periodic updates on the condition and safety of PG&E gas pipelines in the county.

The report also included a review of the county jail system, a review done the Grand Jury each year, and two responses from last year's Grand Jury investigations.

The full report is attached at the left, and Patch will have updates on these issues after the press conference.

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