In our last post about the County Counsel, we admit, we were just darn tired. Turns out tree bark isn’t very nourishing, and rabble rousers such as ourselves have very high energy demands.
Now that we’ve rallied our strength with some kombucha and a McDonald’s side salad, let’s get back to talking about how large Humboldt’s County Counsel department is, relative to the number of people living in Humboldt.
In our “study” a.k.a. tree-bound bender, we focused primarily on counties in California with populations similar to that of Humboldt County. We threw in a couple of outliers, but hey, we were the ones that looked all this up. Don’t like it? Do your own damn study! (Seriously, we think it would be great if you did. Did we mention that we give out free stuff for participating?)
Anyways. Ready, numbers? Go!!
Ratio of County Counsel attorneys to County Population
(All population info straight from the US Census Bureau)
- Humboldt County (population: 134, 493):
1 attorney : 12,227 people
- Imperial County (population 176,584):
1 attorney : 17,658 people
- Kings County (population 150,960):
1 attorney : 15,096 people
- Shasta County (population 178,980)
1 attorney : 22,373 people
- Madera County (population 152,389):
1 attorney : 30,477 people
- Napa County (population 140,326):
1 attorney : 10,794 people
- Yolo County (population 204,593)
1 attorney : 29,228 people
All of this is to make just a few points: that with the exception of Napa County, Humboldt County has the highest ratio of attorneys in the County Counsel office compared to county population than any other county of similar size in California. THC is of the opinion that the Napa outlier can be easily accounted for because Napa has way more money than we do, so keeping some extra lawyers around ain’t no thing.
So, why the hell does Humboldt need so many lawyers on the County payroll? Well, an easy answer (if not a very satisfying one) is that the movers and shakers in this county are so freakin’ idiotic that they open themselves to legal attacks on the regular. On top of that, we spend a significant chunk of change on all of those lawyers. We are talking at least $100k for the lowest paid Deputy Counsel as of 2013. They aren’t cheap, and I have a feeling that compensation levels aren’t going down. Let’s also add in the fact that the County regularly seeks outside legal counsel as well. Seems like our Counsel stable isn’t always up to the task, despite their numbers.
Now, to link this back to our newly activated County Counsel, Jeffrey Blanck. We are putting him in charge of a bunch of lawyers and staff – at least 17 – when his prior legal setting required him to look after a total of 2 people, none of them attorneys. That’s a ton of money, talent(?), and responsibility for ol’ Jeffrey to keep an eye on.
Now, it’s time for THC to go on record about something we feel really bad about: our last post about Mr. Blanck’s activation as County Counsel came off much harsher than we intended. Let’s be clear – we have nothing against the man. We were just a little cranky.
We really, really want Blanck to succeed as competent legal representation for the County. It’s desperately needed, and what we’ve seen from him so far seems promising. At least he isn’t blatantly lying to the Supervisors and County staff like previous Counsels. Maybe he’ll even cut down on the amount of Deputy Counsel’s in the county – might be more to his comfort level to have less people, and if he can handle all the responsibility, more power to him.
Let’s hope (seriously!) that Jeff is up to the task, and not just another band-aid that the Stupidvisors slapped onto the Counsel Department after the previous two appointees (Carolyn Ruth and Wendy Chaitin) screwed them, and the Humboldt public, over so badly.