Alameda County Family Justice Center publishs phnoy statistics on it's web page

The Alameda County Family Justice Center was using very phony statistics on it's web page. I believe, and make the case, that the stats were intended to mislead the public.

The Alameda County Family Justice Center is an agency set up two years back as "one-stop shopping" for victims of domestic violence.

It was started by a Federal program to centralize several different types of services, (prosecutors, counselors, emergency housing) to DV victims. There are about 15 around the US, the Alameda center has been open two years as of August 2007.

I have already published, on Indymedia, an account of how the ACFJC hiring of Nadia Lockyer, the wife of then Attorney General Bill Lockyer, a Executive Director of ACFJC was rigged by Nancy O'Malley, the Chief Assistant DA in the County.

Now, it appears the ACFJC is involved in other nefarious activities.

Recently, the ACFJC received another US Dept. of Justice grant, and the award was announced on their website.

The announcement gave several detailed claims for the achievements of the ACFJC, two of which seemed unlikely to me to be true:

1. That, "since it's launch" the ACFJC had reduced the rate of Domestic Violence, (DV) deaths from 26 to 6 in 2005.

2. That, "since it's launch" the ACFJC had provided help to "20,000 victims of domestic violence and their families"

Since I knew the ACFJC was only open a bit over four months in 2005, I knew there was no logical basis for attributing all the 2005 decline to their actions.

But more than that, the reduction from 26 to 6 in one year struck me as extreme and improbable. That is an almost 80% reduction, too good to be true.

So, I called the Alameda County Public Health Department to try to get DV death rates, and called the office of the County Supervisor quoted in the article, Alice Lai-Bitker, to ask about the number.

My conversations with Public Health and Supervisor Lai-Bitker's staff confirmed my suspicions. Too good to be true was exactly right. To get a death toll of 26 in the County, you have to go back to 1996, nine years before the ACFJC existed. There has been a steady long term decline in DV deaths since then.

The number for 2004, the year right before the ACFJC opened, was 11. Obviously, 6 in 2005 is a lot better than 11 in 2004, but there is a problem in the stats, in that Nancy O'Malley, the effective head of the ACFJC, is also the head of the DV death reporting team for the County, so she can fudge the figures.

I realize, one would not think deaths can be fudged. You are either dead or you or not. But, by using varying protocols for what the death was caused by, there is some maneuvering room for this. I am contacting the DV death reporting trainer for the state to try to nail this down.

All that aside, the point is, as far as attibuting the reduction in DV deaths to ACFJC, that was an extremely misleading claim, and I would argue deliberately misleading. It is very unlikely the folks in ACFJC who approved, probably wrote, the press release, do not know the death rates over the years, and this release was not just something thrown together for the web page, this was sent out to the public via local media. (which apparently published it, on the Web at least, without any questioning of the obviously unlikely claims)

2. My confirmation the death toll was false led me to look harder at the claim "20,000 victims and their families" were helped by ACFJC in just two years. (the announcement did not say ACFJC had only been open two years, so that a numerical analysis of how many victims per year were helped was not possible for most readers)

I immediately suspected they took every single contact with any possible victim, and the family members of any possible victim, and added them all together to get "20,000 victims and their families", a phony number. Although I have not been able to confirm this with any independent authority, because Public Health would not have the same statistics, ACFJC has changed the web page to say exactly what I suspected, that they have had 20,000 interactions with possible victims. They do not define what those interactiosn consist of, so it might be as little as answering a phone call or giving out a brochure.

Again, claiming "20,000 victims and their families" was deceptive, probabaly deliberately, and it is not likely they do not know their own stats, or that they were careless in writing a release meant for the media and public.

It seems much more likely they deliberately lied, to justify more funding in the future.

The County Administrator, Susan Muranishi, who was the highest paid employee of the County, a few years back, at $231,000 per year, is also quoted in the press release, expressing approval of the ACFJC and the grant.

I called her office to try to get documents to indicate what numbers ACFJC has been giving the County to justify the County's funding. The receptionist there claimed they did not have any figures, and I had to contact ACFJC. If this was true, it seems to indicate a severe lack of oversight. No reports to the County Admin from the Center? How does Ms. Muranishi know how the County's money is being spent? I doubt there are no reports, and intend to push them to release them, to see if there are any false numbers in the official accountings. Ditto for the Feds, who I have also requested info from.


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Put in PRA to Nadia Lockyer, and FOIA to the Feds

Steve White 22.Sep.2007 18:23

I have put in FOIA Freedome of Information Act requests to the Feds, and a Public Records Act request to Susan Muranishi, the Alameda County Administrator.

Waiting for a response now.

Steve White 16.Oct.2007 23:20

Well, they have not honored the requests yet. Law says they have to, but they just don't do it.