Tuesday, May 14, 2002
‘Better Form of Justice’ Vowed as Chatsworth Courthouse Is Dedicated
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A new courthouse in Chatsworth promises northern San Fernando Valley residents a “better form of justice in the 21st Century,” county Supervisor Michael Antonovich said yesterday.
Antonovich and board Chairman Zev Yaroslavsky joined Superior Court and City of Los Angeles officials in officially dedicating the county’s newest courthouse, which will officially open for business June 3.
The 300,000-square foot courthouse will be staffed initially by four judges and four commissioners, with Judge Michael Knight serving as site judge. It will hear limited jurisdiction civil cases, misdemeanors, and traffic and small claims cases.
The building, located at the southeast corner of Winnetka Avenue and Plummer Street, will have 10 courtrooms, with the potential for adding up to eight more, Antonovich noted, relieving some of the pressure on overcrowded facilities in Van Nuys and San Fernando.
Speaking at the 35-minute ceremony, whose brevity was openly welcomed by those who listened in 90 degree-plus heat, Yaroslavsky praised the building’s aesthetics.
“As long as you’re going to be in the building business, you might as well make it beautiful,” he said, adding that the county had “built a lot of junk over the years.”
The $96 million project was developed by the Alexander Haagen Company, Inc. Mosakowski Lindsey Associates was the architect and Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company was the general contractor.
The building features two large sculptures which were commissioned by the county Arts Commission. The sculptors, local artists Michael Amescua and Michael Davis, attended the dedication and were presented with certificates.
Superior Court Presiding Judge James Bascue also spoke, promising that the facility will be “a true neighborhood court.” Following up on a comment by master of ceremonies Lee Kanon Alpert, a Valley attorney and member of the county’s Judicial Procedures Commission, he promised to send only “the best and the brightest” judicial officers to Chatsworth.
That prompted the next speaker, North Valley Supervising Judge William McLaughlin, to jokingly remind the audience he was staying in San Fernando. His remarks were followed by comments from San Fernando Valley Bar Association President Lyle Greenberg, who noted that his organization was founded in 1926 with the initial purpose of seeking a courthouse for the Valley.
Other dignitaries sharing the platform included U.S. District Judge Ronald S.W. Lew (once the Los Angeles Municipal Court supervising judge in San Fernando), District Attorney Steve Cooley, Public Defender Michael Judge, and Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company