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New courthouse dedicated

U.S., state and local officials and residents gather to dedicate and tour new courthouse building
The dedication ceremony drew a big crowd.

The new San Benito County Courthouse last week was dedicated and opened to the public to view for themselves behind the scenes the features of the new state-of-the-art facility. Though the courthouse has been open for business for the past several months, Oct. 10 was the official ceremony to acknowledge those who worked for the past decade to make the new courthouse a reality.

The ceremony was attended by many residents as well as current and former public officials, including Anna Caballero, the secretary of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency in Gov. Jerry Brown's cabinet.

Superior Court Judge Steven Sanders presided over the ceremony, introducing the speakers and praising the collaboration that led to the move of court business from the corner of Fifth and Monterey streets to the fomer site of Fremont School on Fourth Street. He spoke of the importance of the courthouse being a reinvestment in the city, county and state. He said it represented “a renewal of our faith” and the culmination of the efforts of individuals, organizations and government agencies.

The National Anthem was sung by Maribel De Alba, a teacher at the Dual Language Academy in Hollister. Congressman Sam Farr was introduced and said that he counted himself as a lover of San Benito County and that he saw the new courthouse as a symbol of a “San Benito County on the rise," reclaiming its history. \Farr called the new superior court building, “maybe the most beautiful in the entire region, maybe in the state.” He thanked people who voted for the bond issue, the civil servants and civic-minded people who participated in getting it on the agenda, and the law breakers who committed the crimes whose fines helped to finance the construction.

On behalf of Chief Justice of California, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Madera County Superior Court Judge Brian McCabe read a letter noting that the courthouse symbolized a commitment to “access to justice for all Californians,” which requires providing “physical access to safe, secure, functional and adequately staffed courthouses” and to “make it easier …..  to the public to access services remotely." McCabe noted that this was one of 16 courthouse projects that has been completed statewide recently, with 10 more in the process. He said that the construction funds came from specially designated court fees, despite a state budget crisis that caused $1.7 billion from the construction fund to be “swept into (state's) General Fund, borrowed, or re-directed into court operations.” He thanked members of the bench and staff of the Superior Court of San Benito County for their work and reported that more than 200 workers worked on the building.

In his address, State Sen.Anthony Canella spoke of benefits the building has been to downtown Hollister, while Assemblyman Luis Alejo, who helped obtain security funding for the courthouse, told the crowd that, while the building cost $33 million, that did not include paying for the personnel to staff security. He said that after working with the Superior Court and the county Board of Supervisors, nearly a half-million dollars has been added to will soon be available for the local security needs at the courthouse.

Supervisor Jerry Muenzer related his memory of the construction of the former courthouse building and agreed that the placement of the new courthouse downtown was a boon to the revitalization of the downtown area.

Hollister Mayor Ignacio Velazquez said he had recently viewed photos of the original courthouse and pointed out the historical ties between the structures and the value of keeping court facilities downtown.

After the presentations, tours of the courthouse were offered.

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About:
Bob Reid (Bob Reid)

Bob Reid is the former Content Director for BenitoLink. He is a local reporter/writer/musician/ horseman/videographer. He spent the past several years covering government meetings in San Juan Bautista and Hollister for the San Juan Star and Community Media Access Partnership. He is currently working to establish a Low Power FM radio station in Hollister to serve the Hollister/ San Juan area. Bob was appointed and served on the San Juan Strategic Plan Committee and the San Juan Bautista General Plan Committee.

Comments

Great, I am so glad the new courthose is downtown. Justice should be done in the most public arena possible and we also got rid of a rundown eyesore

The new courthouse is a beauty.

Now for a new library where the old Sheriff's building stands - oh, I forgot we can't even find the 33 percent needed for matching funds.  Perhaps if folks had helped the solar project along instead of suing them we would have that $1 million a year in the agreement ... never mind, it's more important to keep the outsiders outside, thinking may be catching.

Marty Richman

 

Our current City Manager Bill Avera worked very hard to secure this location for the new courthouse.  I will never forget the battle he waged. Thanks Bill it looks great!

Submitted by (Tod duBois) on

Bill Avera had no choice but to be involved; it was the community especially those of of us who wanted to make a big difference that forced the court house to be placed here through political action. Giving Avera credit is more of the same scratching each others backs that the union and staff do as a matter of normal operating procedure. Sad but true.

Unfortunately, Avera also let other critical economic development projects falter, causing Quiltners downfall and creating more poverty in Hollister by taxing the poor thru regressive sales taxes. Sad, but also true. Machiavelli would be proud!

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