Public comment needed on new courthouse location
Quincy Supervisor Lori Simpson called a meeting Tuesday, Sept. 21, to let the public comment on the factors they want considered in site selection for the new courthouse.
Throughout the meeting it was apparent Simpson’s impression coming into the event was that no consensus could be reached among the public because “a lot of people have different wishes.”
“The merchants want it close. The legal community wants it close. The sheriff wants a jail.”
She also indicated she didn’t believe the Board of Supervisors would take a stance on the issue because “there’s five board members and some have other interests.”
She argued other supervisors looked at Quincy as the county seat, not their home, so they didn’t care where the new courthouse ended up.
At one point she told the audience of 20, “I’m one board member, there’s five, and let me tell you, (Robert) Meacher doesn’t care, Sherrie (Thrall) doesn’t care, Terry (Swofford) doesn’t care, Ole (Olsen) cares about the armory and I’m just trying to listen, OK?”
One citizen argued the supervisors should care where the courthouse went because at the very least the county could make money by selling the state land if a county site was selected.
Another asked if there had been any dialogue between the supervisors and the state.
Simpson said there hadn’t been “because they’ve never, we haven’t been approached or anything.”
“They didn’t even tell us, they didn’t ask us for land, we just saw the ad in the paper and go ‘Oh wow, they’re looking for land.’ We jumped on it. I mean they haven’t contacted us.”
Simpson also said she spoke with Plumas County Superior Court Judge Ira Kaufman at one point and he told her he didn’t care where the courthouse ended up.
Local attorney Michael Jackson, district attorney-elect David Hollister and sheriff Greg Hagwood all assured her that wasn’t the case.
They explained Kaufman was very influential at the state level and was part of a group of judges who preside over the administrative office of the courts, the group that oversees these construction projects.
Hollister thought giving Kaufman a collection of signed statements with random thoughts would be meaningless, but if he heard a strong consensus among the community and the Board of Supervisors behind three possible locations, that would definitely factor into his decision-making.
Those assembled made it clear throughout the meeting that they found it unacceptable the county would even consider not taking a stance on the courthouse location.
By the end of the meeting, Simpson agreed with them, promising to schedule another meeting in the next few weeks when a decision could be made on three locations to recommend as the public’s preferences.
For basic information on the new courthouse, visit plumascourt.ca.gov.