DATE: July 23, 2002
TO: Board of Supervisors
SUBJECT: Support for State Assembly Bill 2893
Fort Rosecrans is the only national cemetery in San Diego County and is also the nation’s ninth busiest national cemetery.
Fort Rosecrans reached capacity in July 2001 and is no longer able to accommodate burials. On November 14, 2001 (27) the Board of Supervisors directed the Chief Administrative Officer to draft a letter for the Chairman’s signature to President George W. Bush, the San Diego Congressional delegation and the U.S. Secretary of Veteran Affairs supporting the concept of a pilot program establishing satellite national cemeteries to serve veterans in the greater San Diego area.
Support for AB 2893 authored by Assemblyman Howard Wayne of San Diego will allow local veterans representatives to work with the offices of the State and Federal Veterans Affairs to plan for and construct a state-owned and operated veterans cemetery located in San Diego County to help alleviate the current stress on Fort Rosecrans.
SUPERVISORS GREG COX AND BILL HORN
- Direct the Chief Administrative Officer to draft a letter for the Chairman’s signature to Assembly Member Wayne and the County’s State Legislative Delegation in support of AB 2893 (Wayne).
- Direct the Chief Administrative Officer to authorize the County’s Sacramento Representative to advocate the County’s position of support for AB 2893 to interested parties and the Administration.
There is no fiscal impact associated with this recommendation.
Fort Rosecrans is the only national cemetery in San Diego County and is also the nation’s ninth busiest national cemetery. Fort Rosecrans reached capacity in July 2001 for both
cremated remains and casket burials. Recent expansion efforts at Fort Rosecrans include the construction of a new columbarium wall that opened up nearly 2,000 spaces for cremated remains, but that still does not allow for burials. There is also an effort by the federal government to secure five additional acres north of Fort Rosecrans for additional columbariums that would have capacity through the year 2020.
In San Diego, the total military population including active duty as well as retired military and Department of Defense employees is approximately 293,000, which accounts for over 10 percent of the total San Diego population.
The veterans’ community has expressed a strong interest in having an option for both cremation and casket burials here in San Diego. The current situation at Fort Rosecrans does not allow veterans any options other than cremation. There is a national cemetery in Riverside that still has the capacity for casket burials, but the cemetery is 90 miles from San Diego, making it much more difficult for family members to visit their loved ones who have passed away.
Establishing a State-owned and operated cemetery for veterans located in San Diego County as authorized by Assemblyman Wayne’s AB 2893 will again make possible the choice between casket burials or cremation for San Diego’s military population.
We urge your support!
Supervisor, First District
Supervisor, Fifth District