Don Bauder 4:30 p.m., Dec. 9
On Opportunities for the Governator to Get Things Right: Prison Overcrowding, California Cadet Corps, and Pardons for Hazardous Heroic Duty
Certain things have to get done by the Governor of California today at the latest to have done the right thing for state prison overcrowding. At least that's the opinion of a juxtaposition of judges at the federal level who are ordering that the state prison population be reduced to alleviate unconstitutionally harsh conditions in those California penal institutions.
At a certain level, all of this has to appear rather silly in a serious, legal sort of way, but if for no other reason than to have something better as a response, the Office of the Governor needs to have something “dignified and effective” to address the potential hazard of a federal order that arbitrarily dumps unsupervised inmates on the streets with no real way of integrating them into an economy with historic near-term highs in unemployment already.
I mean, the Governator is too bright to let this bureaucratic bungle turn into a detrimental disaster as his last scene of his governatorship. He really is brighter than that.
Fortunately, Arnold Schwarzenegger is assisted by several hand-picked field-grade officers in the state Military Department, colonels trained in the methods and techniques of staff planning for any and all types of contingencies, and I know that senior staff officers are at this moment preparing effective contingency plans for the Office of the Governor of the sovereign State of California. It's either that, or there are a few somebodies who aren't earning their pay in Sacramento right now.
These senior staff officers read and understand the California Military and Veterans Code forward and backward like their polished silver ornamentation stapled to their epaulets depends on it, because it does or the Governator does not have the power by statute to commission somebody else by saying “I appoint you to my personal staff” to do the job right.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has some last action hero-like powers as the Commander in Chief of the state militia. He even has some getting-around-the-bureaucracy tricks that are legally sanctioned as emanating from his powers in times of crisis, disaster and catastrophe, especially if those powers are employed by the Commander in Chief through the Adjutant General's office. He needs to use them, and the staff needs to prepare the orders for his signature ten minutes ago.
OK, here's where wishful-thinking silliness meets federal judicial silliness.
The Governor has power to reach findings for reasons of military necessity whenever there are hazardous incidents, disasters, or catastrophic events of state-wide significance. These findings are final (meaning that only the Governor can reverse them) and enable the Adjutant General to issue appropriate orders, instructions, and military-relevant curricula in the Governor's name, all pursuant to relevant chapters and sections of the Military and Veterans Code. The Governor can even confiscate schools as state property pursuant to the state defense force chapter and populate classes with cadet corps officers as instructors without school board approval pursuant to the cadet corps sections.
The Governor may find that an immediate release of prisoners as part of an unfunded federal judicial mandate to threaten the state with potentially hazardous conditions, so that there is a need for hasty work battalions. Battalions need to be trained, and that is where the Military Department may be directed by the Adjutant General in the name of the Governor to prepare for the expansion of the California Cadet Corps, for the purpose of training enough work battalions to accommodate all volunteering prisoners interested in obtaining Governor's pardon for heroic service to the state.
Once the battalions are trained, the Governor has power to accept the service of volunteers in the State Defense Force as part of the state militia that cannot be called into federal military deployment someplace outside California – even though the Governor could ask for state defense volunteers to be of humanitarian service in Haiti, for example, or in coping with disaster here at home. There are less prisoners in the prisons, prisoners are earning pardons in a righteous way under the supervision of the Governor's state defense forces, and the judges can put their gavels down, at least about this matter.
What's there not to like about this?