Letters: What are the standards for fire and police to attend a funeral service?

Dear Editor,
I have a question: What does it take for me to have police and
fireman at my funeral?
Over the last few months I have read two articles about two very
different individuals who were honored with police and fire
personnel at their funeral. The first tragic funeral was last
December for 15-year-old Sarah Botill, the daughter of a local
fireman who died
– possibly from alcohol poisoning – after attending a sleepover
at ex-councilman Roland Velasco’s home.
What are the standards for fire and police to attend a funeral service?

Dear Editor,

I have a question: What does it take for me to have police and fireman at my funeral?

Over the last few months I have read two articles about two very different individuals who were honored with police and fire personnel at their funeral. The first tragic funeral was last December for 15-year-old Sarah Botill, the daughter of a local fireman who died – possibly from alcohol poisoning – after attending a sleepover at ex-councilman Roland Velasco’s home.

The second funeral was for Army Sgt. David Gutierrez who was killed in Afghanistan Christmas Day by a hidden roadside bomb while on patrol. As the daughter of a veteran, I have no problem with my tax dollars being spent to honor a local veteran like Mr. Gutierrez who served our country with honor. But I do start to question things when the same fire department which had to shut down services at the Sunrise Fire Station due to lack of funding, is using their time and our tax dollars to attend the funeral of a teenager.

I am sure the families of Sarah Botill and ex-councilman Velasco would like to heal and move forward from the tragedy that took place last December, but I think this incident underscores a bigger problem in this community that shouldn’t be put behind us so quickly.

I still haven’t heard whether either Velasco or 18-year-old Kayla Dunigan, who allegedly brought vodka to the Velasco home, are being charged with any crime.

I know for certain there have been many tragic deaths of young Latinos in Gilroy that have not received the same honor of firefighting personnel at their funeral as Sarah Botill did. I sense a double standard here and I hope the Dispatch continues to cover related events to uncover the real issues at hand.

Theresa Ruiz, San Jose

A world filled with atheists would make the planet safe for air travel

Dear Editor,

Any proposed ordinance allowing for the sale of marijuana is in direct conflict with California’s Compassionate Use Act and Medical Marijuana Program. City Councils have no authority to amend state law or Prop. 215.Those who stand to profit from the illegal sale of marijuana or want it conveniently available for recreational use would like it sold on every corner. Evidence-based research shows that increased availability will increase usage and, in turn, increase harm.

Nationally marijuana is the most prevalent cause of drugged driving, and seven times greater than drunk driving. Marijuana use contributes to California’s 24.2 percent high school dropout rate, which costs roughly 46.4 billion according to a UC Santa Barbara Study. Alcohol use is approximately six times as prevalent as current marijuana use. That differential is due to the illegal status of marijuana.

Increased marijuana usage by our adult and youth populations will result in declines in work production, compromise academic achievement, increase traffic and job accidents and will trump any economic benefits. But whether it’s a billion or a half billion (dollars in tax revenue), that number will be swamped by the cost to the state of dealing with all the consequences.The state of California takes in $318 million in alcohol tax revenues. It spends $38 BILLION on alcohol-related abuse.

Joel Hay, professor of pharmaceutical economics and policy at the University of Southern California noted the tremendous carnage due to alcohol and tobacco use and asked, “Why would we would want to increase the use of another product that creates this kind of damage?”

There are unscrupulous physicians willing to write a recommendation for marijuana, most of the time without the required thorough medical history and good-faith examination just as there are unscrupulous physicians who will inappropriately or unethically prescribe narcotic drugs. Californians do not have a constitutional right to smoke pot. Prop 215 provides for an affirmative defense in court. Prop 215 did not legalize marijuana because a state cannot legalize a drug that the federal government classified as Schedule 1. Voters were duped. It was never about the seriously ill. It was about passing Prop 215.

California law does not allow the sale of marijuana, under any circumstances, which eliminates the “tax-the-sale” revenue scheme. In San Diego, police investigations of marijuana dispensaries have found them to be illegally selling marijuana and violating various laws. Ending the retail sale of marijuana out of storefronts will NOT remove any of the protections granted by voters to qualified marijuana patients or their caretakers.

The bottom line is that legitimate users and their “primary caregiver” are permitted to grow pot for medical use. Period. So grow your own if you need it.”

Katie Hall, public health practitioner and alcohol and drug prevention specialist

SHARE
Previous articleRalph Duarte
Next articleDavid Alan Roberts

Leave your comments