When plans for a new court building in Inyo did an about face a year ago, most got the picture that the long-time project for Independence would go to Bishop since the State and local judges wanted it that way. With the Bishop recommendation, the California Judicial Council made it a done deal at a meeting last week in San Francisco.
The website account of the action said that the Judicial Council approved the recommendation to build the $30 million courthouse in the Bishop area “because that location would improve access to justice for the majority of Inyo County residents.” The statement also says that given the limited funding available for more than one courthouse in Inyo County, the Administrative Office of the Courts recommended locating the courthouse in the Bishop area.
Inyo’s Superior Court Presiding Judge Brian Lamb held meetings in each town. The view of those who attended the meetings was to build the new courthouse in the County Seat of Independence. Members of the public said it seemed clear to them that the judges and the AOC wanted it in Bishop and that’s where the new building would go.
The statement on the decision does say that the court plans to continue providing full services in Independence. The statement also says that the new courthouse in the Bishop area “will be funded by court user fees as set forth in SB 1407 and will not involve use of the state’s general fund.
The current courthouse building under construction in Mammoth Lakes was also not without controversy. Local officials objected to many aspects of the building design which stands out as a modern, angular structure very different from the general alpine look of Mammoth Lakes. State bureaucrats refused to talk to local officials about a change in design to make the building more like the surrounding look.