Time to do the honorable thing

Third DUI arrest for Councilman Charlie Morales shows a serious
lack of judgment and a willful disregard for the law
Councilman Charlie Morales’ tale, at this point, is a sad one indeed. The 56-year-old Gilroy public representative has been arrested at least three times for driving under the influence – the last arrest coming June 29 on one of the most dangerous roads in the area, Highway 25 which connects Gilroy and Hollister.

We’ve consistently endorsed Morales in his quests for a seat on the City Council, and having supported him, we expect him to do the honorable thing now.

Morales has admitted to a serious problem. His latest arrest comes while he was on probation from a prior DUI offense. Thus, he may – and probably should – spend time in jail.

Thankfully, it is not his obituary that we are printing nor has he maimed or killed an innocent motorist or passenger. But Morales, clearly, has not grasped the seriousness of driving while impaired. That demonstrates a clear lack of judgment and, as importantly, a willful disregard for the law.

Though he has not been convicted of the latest offense, he failed the roadside sobriety test on Highway 25 where he was arrested. A CHP officer stopped Morales after observing him repeatedly hit his brakes and cross the white edgeline of the road by as much as a foot and a half.

Morales admits to “having a serious problem” and in his 1999 arrest the blood-alcohol level measured .18, way beyond the legal .08 limit.

Through the newspaper, Morales has publicly asked for the community’s forgiveness. That most assuredly will be given. His contributions to our community have been many.

But while we forgive, we should not forget. We should not forget that Councilman Morales is a youth probation officer – by profession a man we expect to set an example for wayward youth. And we should not in the least dismiss the fact that the public relies on him to routinely make decisions that affect the lives of Gilroyans. That requires sound judgment skills.

To be frank, had this been Morales’ first offense – and he had only been slightly above the legal limit – it would have been ugly but understandable.

Neither is true in this case. Morales, though apologetic with his words, has demonstrated a reckless disregard for the personal safety of himself, other motorists and the law.

Morales can list many positive contributions to our community. He can add another to that list by doing the admirable thing. As a leader, Morales should know he must take the necessary and difficult steps to confront and control his substance abuse problem.

Morales may very well end up in jail for an extended period of time. He also knows he should not embroil the governing body of Gilroy in his personal difficulties.

Now, before the November election, is the time for Morales to do the honorable thing.

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