Andrew Holland’s legacy

March 29, 2018
T. Keith Gurnee

T. Keith Gurnee


It was heartening to read of the Holland family’s resolve to use a significant portion of the $5 million legal settlement from the County to raise our consciousness about mental illness while grieving over the loss of their son. Their commitment to starting a foundation named for Andrew Holland to treat rather than “jail” mental illness was entirely appropriate, as were their comments that they were not out for a “vendetta.”

My son played youth baseball with “Drew” Holland in his early teens. Back then, Drew was good athlete who showed no outward signs of the schizophrenia that would afflict him in his 20s. We couldn’t believe the circumstances of his untimely death in county jail.

While the county seems to be making a serious effort to prevent this from ever happening again, those changes can’t happen soon enough. With a new CAO and the new county health director, one can only hope that they can fix the woeful communications between the sheriff’s office, the SLO County jail, and the county’s mental health services. But it goes beyond that. Understanding the inexplicable is the challenge that awaits us.

There’s no better tribute to Andrew Holland than having his name associated with an effort to increase our understanding of mental illness, finding better ways to treat it, helping families who face it to better cope with it, and forever ending the practice of using our jails as dumping grounds for those who need treatment.

At the same time, there is no greater insult to him than allowing the Progressives to exploit the tragedy of his death by creating political theater for their own narrow political purposes.

As a great local family that has been here for decades, hopefully the Hollands will move beyond being used by the Progressives to focus upon realizing the systemic changes so sorely needed in our mental health system. Accomplishing the noble mission of their emerging and much-needed foundation is far more important than those who would take political credit for it.

That’s what should be Andrew Holland’s legacy.

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Anyone who knows the Hollands, know they tell it like it is, and are proactive people , AC Carty is no exception to this , RG too .. ask them they will tell you, if you want to know any of their views ask them.. the county took all 5 mil. blame , they have this coming.. the fall out is everyday people rise up ..

Like it, love it or hate it.. sit back enjoy the ride!

Well said Mr. Gurnee. The type of politics that the Regressives represent does little to advance good policy because they start ALWAYS with such a negative tone. Look at the immature sloganeering, the adolescent tenor of their wailing, it’s really not intended to lead but to annoy so as to “direct change”. NEWS FLASH- this did not work in seventh grade either!

I so appreciated the recent article by Keith Gurnee in the March 29th issue of Cal Coast News when Keith said that there is no better tribute to Andrew Holland than having his name associated with an effort to increase our understanding of mental illness and finding better ways to treat it. The most important issue that Gurney brought out is the hope that the practice of using our jails as a dumping ground for the mentally ill will end. Fortunately, our Board majority changed as of January 2018. Four years ago when Sheriff Parkinson’s attempted to change the jail system his requests were ignored by the old Progressive controlled Board. The new Board of Supervisors are now working with the sheriff to remedy the problems of the mental health process in our county jail.

Furthermore, Keith is right, that there is no greater insult to us all than to allow the Progressives to exploit the tragedy of Andrew’s death by creating a political theater for their own narrow political purposes. This left wing group is repeating snippets of information without all of the facts. As I see it, the Progressive agitators are more concentrated on replacing our great County Sherriff than remedying the situation.

The Hollands have been a very active and involved family in our county for years, I just hope for they and for the county that there will be changes in dealing with the mentally ill in this county.

May this tragedy allow us to improve our mental health system for the future?

Why did the Holland’s donate $3500 to Bruce Gibson’s campaign? Weird. Bruce is part of the problem- part of the status quo that created this mess. It doesn’t make sense that they would donate to him. Something odd going on here.

Keith, if you are so concerned about the Holland’s being co-opted by the progressives, how about participating in their effort to create meaningful change?

I didn’t see you touch on that subject–how to help them–in your opinion piece.

Really all you did here is wring your hands in worry. Didn’t sound like you reached out to help the family upon hearing about his mental illness–even though you claim a personal connection. Concerned in-action is a rampant affliction.

Then you go on to worry that progressives will use this fine “local” family for their own selfish purposes. Maybe so. But again are you not doing something similar here with this opinion piece?

What are you going to do about it? Besides hand wringing?

You certainly didn’t use this article to call all conservatives to join you in the breach and rally to ensure this family wishes are honored-that their son be honored. And call to work for real change (progess). ….that would take real effort. Opinion pieces are so much easier. And guaranteed to be less effective.

It appears you are just using your neighbors, who you actually know, to be the vehicle for you to make a left right argument.

This is about an avoidable tragic death, cover-up and the steps needing to be taken to ensure it doesn’t happen again… It is about not liberals and bike lanes no matter how much you’d like it to be.

Mr. Yan, looks like I gored another “Progressive” and that ain’t hand wringing!

I merely

I merely made the point that your article is callous and hypocritical, as well logically unsound.

…and yet you had to reply to me…

Who gored who TKG?

“There is no greater insult to him than allowing the Progressives to exploit the tragedy of his death by creating political theater for their own narrow political purposes.” Isn’t this “the pot calling the kettle black”?? Isn’t this single sentence the exploitation of a tragedy for political purposes?? Sounds a lot like the gun debate – “thoughts and prayers” are always considered by some to be more appropriate than “action and change”. Communication is great – and apparently sorely needed – but this was not an isolated incident . . . too many others have died while in custody at the county jail. We can look back and talk about the causes of these tragedies and lament their deaths over and over – but they will continue to occur unless active steps are taken for change. Change is not a bad word – and action doesn’t have to be divisive. People coming together to support the Hollands in the steps they are taking to facilitate change isn’t political . . . it is the very basis of the meaning of the word “community”.

If this really was such an “important” issue to the SLO Progressives, how come somebody didn’t pick up the flag and rally the protests after the tragedy happened? Or after the settlement was made? Why was the first person to bring the protest to the County BOS meeting Nick Andre, a paid political strategist? Perhaps the SLO Progressives realized the couldn’t get candidates elected based entirely on appeasing the SLO bike lobby, big developers, and taxing the hell out of it’s citizens for infrastructure improvements due entirely to the Progressives having blown our general funds on fat union pensions. As all Liberals do, the SLO Progressives needed a victim, a martyr, and they found it in Andrew Holland. As soon as the Progressives win the election, they’ll go back to their efforts to turn SLO into a bicycle-only city. They’ll go back to taxing the sit out of you to keep funding union raises and bloated pensions. They’ll go back to making their developer friends happy by fast-tracking home building, while our roads remain little more than paved horse trails. As for mental health care at the jail? “We have plans in development” will be all your hear about it in the future. Andrew Holland’s family will feel used and betrayed, but the Progressive friendly media will make sure you never hear anything they have to say again. People coming together to exploit the Hollands making them think it will lead to change….It’s the very basis of the word “Progressive.”

Well stated and I hope this helps others cope with this tragedy. I grieve for the family and especially Andrew.

Our State Government has set us up for failure. State laws are over burdening our jails. Sheriff Parkinson discussed last night in Santa Margarita how and what challenges for personal safety are present based on LAWs passed in Sacramento. If there is any REAL blame it is with how the STATE of CA has placed unbelievable burdens on the jail system.

Let us help Sheriff Parkinson along with the Board of Supervisors to fix the interagency problems that helped create this tragedy and those looming in our future.

The video was altered, the conclusions were predetermined as a Progressive never lets a tragedy (crisis) go to waste! Let us all become more aware and become part of the solution and support and encourage those I mentioned.

Thank you Keith for your clarity.