Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Yes, I speak government

SSTOL regulars will recall that I spent two days last week on jury duty. Law-abiding citizen that I am, I'd had no occasion to visit the Sonoma County judicial offices in many years, though I've been to the sheriff's station across the street on business (to interview officers for a marketing project) fairly recently. For this reason, I hadn't seen the new signage in the administrative complex parking lot.

The main directional sign points the way to the following: "Hall of Justice (Courthouse)" and "M.A.D.F. (Jail)." For the benefit of the acronymically impaired, "M.A.D.F." stands for Main Adult Detention Facility.

Here's my question: If you know the terms "Hall of Justice" and "M.A.D.F." are sufficiently vague and/or confusing that you're going to have to append clearer parenthetical language to explain them, why not save everyone some grief and simply call the courthouse "Courthouse" and the jail "Jail"?

Why? Because this is civil government, after all. Nothing is ever that simple.

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