Marijuana Increased in 2014 as a Factor in Deadly Crashes


Here is a bit of information about this so called “safe drug” everyone wants to use these days:

Newly released data from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) shows that marijuana is increasing as a factor in deadly crashes. The number of drivers involved in deadly crashes who tested positive for marijuana increased 48 percent from 2013 to 2014.

“We have seen marijuana involvement in fatal crashes remain steady over the years, and then it just spiked in 2014,” said Dr. Staci Hoff, WTSC Data and Research Director.

From 2010-2014, nearly 60 percent of drivers involved in fatal collisions were tested for drugs. Among these tested drivers, approximately 20 percent (349 drivers) were positive for marijuana.

However, just testing positive for marijuana doesn’t necessarily indicate if a driver was actually affected by the drug at the time of the crash since marijuana can be detected in a person’s blood for days (possibly weeks) after a person uses the drug. This new data is able to distinguish between drivers who test positive for THC, the impairing substance in marijuana and those who have residual marijuana in their system from prior use which may have occurred days ago.

The number of drivers testing positive for active THC increased, from 65 percent (38 of 60 drivers) in 2013 to an alarming 85 percent (75 of 89 drivers) in 2014. Approximately half of these THC-positive drivers exceeded the 5 ng/ml THC per se limit (A “per se” limit is the amount of a substance in a person’s blood that according to Washington law makes the person DUI notwithstanding other evidence.)

“With this data we are finally able to see who was high during the crash versus which drivers had used marijuana in the past few days,” said Hoff, “The answer in 2014 is most of them were high.”

According to the new data, the driver with the highest THC level was tested at 70 ng/ml.  Half of these THC-positive drivers were also under the influence of alcohol, the majority of those also exceeded the alcohol per se limit of 0.08 BAC.

The largest increase in THC-positive drivers were among males ages 21-25, from only 6 in 2013 up to 19 in 2014 – the most significant increase among any other age group.

The WTSC Research and Data Division, in collaboration with the WA State Patrol Toxicology Lab, abstracted drug types and levels for drivers in fatal crashes back to 2008. The full report and complete analysis of this data is expected to be released in September.

“This study is a step towards answering the myriad of questions we have about the impact of legalized marijuana on driving. We will continue to explore the implications of this information,” said Hoff.

A new law prohibits drivers and passengers from using marijuana while driving. It also prohibits anyone from keeping marijuana in the vehicle unless it is in its original sealed packaging or is stored in the trunk or some other area of the car not normally occupied by people.

“This data shows why this new law is so important,” said Darrin Grondel, WTSC Director, referring to the new statute passed during this year’s legislative session.

From 2008 through 2014, more than 1,100 people died in impaired collisions in Washington. Impaired driving is involved in nearly half of all traffic deaths and more than 20 percent of serious injury collisions. The highest percentage of these deaths occurs during the summer months.

That is why the WTSC participates in the National Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign. From now through Labor Day, the Commission is letting the public know that extra officers will be out across the state at times and locations where DUI is a problem.

“It is our hope that by publicizing these extra patrols more people will plan ahead if they will be drinking or using marijuana,” said Grondel. “Don’t risk getting arrested for a DUI, or causing a life-changing tragedy. Designate a sober, drug-free driver.”

Over 100 law enforcement agencies including all districts of the Washington State Patrol will be teaming up and participating in the extra patrols all across the state.

25-year-old woman’s body vanishes from casket after funeral

A Texas family was in the midst of one life-altering tragedy when another one struck this month.

Within hours of saying goodbye to 25-year-old Julie Mott, a San Antonio woman who died Aug. 8 after a long battle with cystic fibrosis, her family learned that her body had vanished from the funeral home where the ceremony took place.

Investigators suspect someone slipped into the funeral home and removed Mott’s body from her casket between the end of her funeral at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 15 and the funeral home’s closing at 4:30 p.m., according to the San Antonio Express-News.

At the time, the body had been moved into a nearby hallway, where it was supposed to remain until it was time for it to be transferred for cremation, according to the Express-News.

Workers found the casket empty the next day, unleashing a frantic search for her body that remains unsuccessful, the Express-News reported.

Sgt. Javier Salazar told reporters that whoever pulled off the crime — a misdemeanor under San Antonio law — did so in daring fashion, entering the funeral home in broad daylight. There were no signs of forced entry. He noted that the building lacks security cameras and is open to the public.

“In my 22 years in law enforcement, this is the first time I have ever heard of this happening.”

Robert Tips, owner of Mission Park Funeral Chapels and a friend of the Mott family, told the Express-News that the thief may have been influenced by an ideological opposition to cremation, preferring that Mott’s body undergo a traditional burial instead.

“We feel very strongly that there’s a difference of opinion there,” he said.

Tips, who had known Mott since she was a little girl, told reporters that he is outraged by the body’s disappearance. He has offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of Mott’s body and has promised to cooperate fully with the police investigation.

“I can’t believe this is happening to such dear friends of mine, and she’s a dear friend of mine,” Tips told reporters. “This is a person that I know. This is a person that I know, and I want her back.”

Salazar told reporters that, because of her illness, Mott hadn’t been expected to live beyond age 3, but her family watched her grow into a “vibrant, typical young girl,” according to the New York Daily News.

“It’s heartbreaking to see a family that went through all that with her…now being put through this before being able to go through mourning and get the closure any family needs,” Salazar said.

On Mott’s Facebook page, among the photos of her hanging out with loved ones and riding horses, friends have posted messages expressing their heartbreak over her death, as well as their anger over her missing remains.

“So disturbing and unbelievable that someone would do this,” one friend wrote. “RIP Julie and prayers to your family in this horrible time.”

“My dear Julie, the girls and I will not rest until you do,” another wrote. “It’s been a mean world without you. I love you more than life itself.”

Speaking to reporters several days earlier, Tim Mott, Julie’s father, delivered his own message.

“We just want our daughter’s remains returned so we can have some closure to our grief,” he said.

Maybe someone needs to check to see if Jarod was in the area…….


It’s a Dawgs life: My Philippine Vacation

My arrival:

After a 14 hour flight I arrived at Aquino airport in the Philippines. Trust me you do not want to take this plane ride in the middle seats on the Boeing 777. You do not have any place to rest your head to sleep nor room to even move around a bit, especially if you are a good size guy like me.

I rode in Philippine Airlines out of San Francisco and the flight crew were a bunch of incredible people who understand customer service. Seems to be a lost art in this country these days. They understand respect and comfort for their passengers and do not subscribe to the “cause of the day” mentality to please the current fads sweeping the nation.

Upon exiting the plane the first thing you notice is the heat and humidity even at 4:00 am. And going through customs there were many employees going through the crowd trying to assist the travelers questions and needs, they even moved me to a senior citizen window to expedite my process. (Hey I did not mind one bit).

The custom and immigration officers were respectful and efficient and always used good manners and are grateful for their jobs as many do not have them there. And there were constantly people wanting to help me. WOW what a culture shock right away.

I met the wonderful people who came to meet me at 4:30 am, with one of them a woman, holding a sign that said “Dawg I am here!!!” Easy to spot on both counts.

I felt taller than ever around all these wonderful people but it was never an issue it seemed with them or me.

A quick stop at the embassy to register my passport which could have been done easily online and I was off to some really interesting escapades in the next 4 days.

Next my first observations…….

Dipshit of the day : San Jose mayor, council members violate law they voted for

Dipshit of the day : San Jose mayor, council members violate law they voted for

The City Council unanimously approved a tougher election reporting law four years ago aimed at shining a brighter light on who is funding the campaigns of San Jose’s elected leaders. But just about everybody who has run for office in the past two years has ignored it.

An analysis by this newspaper found that Mayor Sam Liccardo, Vice Mayor Rose Herrera and Councilmen Don Rocha and Pierluigi Oliverio have failed to report a combined $90,000 in contributions before Election Day as required under the stricter rule — even though all of them voted for the tougher reporting law in 2011.


But to underscore just how little attention is paid to the city’s stricter election law, neither the mayor nor many of his fellow council members who approved the measure even remember voting for it — and most now want to reconsider the rule. Ethics experts call the disregard for the law and lax oversight “troubling” and said it creates a double standard because residents are expected to abide by laws passed by elected officials.

“We shouldn’t have regulations for regulations’ sake,” said Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School and vice president of the Los Angeles Ethics Commission.

VIOLATOR ‘SINGLED OUT’?

The disclosure law has come under fire since the city’s Ethics Commission, which enforces campaign rules, slapped newly elected District 4 Councilman Manh Nguyen with a $10,000 fine for failing to report contributions as it required. Nguyen filed a $10,000 claim against the city on Tuesday, arguing that he was misled by the clerk’s office and unfairly targeted while other violators go unpunished. The Ethics Commission refused to reconsider Nguyen’s fine — even after learning violations were widespread and that City Clerk Toni Taber apologized to him for confusing information about the rules.

“I am deeply concerned that I was singled out by the ethics commission in what was a politically motivated effort,” Nguyen said in a statement.

The city’s law requires candidates to report within 24 hours all donations of at least $250 received in the 16 days before an election. The intent of the law is to make sure voters are fully aware of who’s funding a candidate at the time they cast their ballots. State law also has an “early warning” provision, but it applies only to contributions of $1,000 or more. That means it has limited effect in San Jose — where contributions to council candidates are capped at $500 and to mayoral candidates at $1,100 — which is why the council set its own rule with the $250 threshold in 2011.

A review of campaign finance records by this newspaper found:

 Liccardo, a former District 3 councilman, failed to timely report $65,297 in donations during his 2014 campaign for mayor.

 Herrera, who represents District 8, didn’t timely report $14,550 in contributions in the 2014 primary in which she ran for mayor.

 Oliverio, who represents District 6, failed to timely report $6,700 in contributions during the 2014 primary in which he ran for mayor.

 Rocha, who represents District 9, didn’t timely disclose $3,500 in contributions during the 2014 primary in which he was re-elected.

Most of those officials, like Nguyen, explained that they deferred to campaign staff, who in turn relied on advice from the city clerk in reporting donations from supporters. But the city’s Ethics Commission and state enforcement officials have said it’s still candidates’ responsibility to know the rules.

“There were thousands of contributions that needed to be reported,” Liccardo said, “and as you can imagine, I did not personally write all those down — that’s why you have a campaign team, right?”

All of the candidates eventually disclosed the unreported contributions in their postelection filings, but by that time voters had no opportunity to consider the information as part of their decision-making process.

Councilman Ash Kalra, who represents District 2 and also voted in favor of the rules in 2011, has not been up for re-election since.

Taber said that there were no violations of the tougher campaign reporting requirement in 2012, and the city had no local races in 2013. The only election this year was the special contest to fill the District 4 seat after Councilman Kansen Chu was elected to the Assembly.

MATCHING STATE RULES

However, the one candidate who appeared to abide by the rules, Xavier Campos, who also voted for them as a former District 5 councilman, said he wasn’t stumped by the city’s election law and had no trouble complying.

“I don’t think it’s confusing,” he said. “The rules are very clear-cut, and you have to abide by them. It’s not the responsibility of the clerk to hand-hold candidates.”

With his re-election bid last year weighed down by former boss George Shirakawa’s conviction for sending fraudulent campaign mail on his behalf in 2010, Campos lost a rematch to Magdalena Carrasco. According to the city clerk, she did not follow the reporting requirement in that race last year.

Liccardo and other city officials now say it may have been a mistake for the city to adopt a tougher reporting standard than the state.

“We’ve often made things more complex,” Liccardo said.

Herrera said she supports changing San Jose’s election law to match state requirements.

“It’s too confusing to follow two different laws,” she said. “Obviously there’s a problem if we all violated it.”

A political expert said confusion is not uncommon when local jurisdictions adopt rules separate from the state.

“What motivates these rules is showing you’re going above and beyond what is expected, but when it comes to the implementation — it can create lots of headaches down the road,” said Garrick Percival, an associate professor of political science at San Jose State. “It speaks to the importance of having staff that can interpret the law and voice expectations.”

According to Oliverio, “It’s pretty obvious we either have to improve the communications to make sure people understand or revert to what the state does.”

Rocha said he’s considering raising the issue with City Manager Norberto Dueñas to see how it can be simplified.

“I’m always open to making a change on something we may not have gotten right,” Rocha said. “I think this is one we can look back and say we didn’t get right. So why not make a change? I don’t mind admitting a mistake. We’re not perfect.”

Does the city council here pass laws to appear transparent or do they actually want transparency? And did they actually have a punishment for this law? If not then it was not really a law but a suggestion to pander for votes.

Sadly typical bullshit Guvment attitude these days.