Primary Results and Pending Legislation
AARON READ AND RANDY PERRY
Aaron Read & Associates, LLC
The late, great Congressman Tip O’Neill said that all politics is local. O’Neill could have been talking specifically about PORAC. President Mike Durant constantly reminds everyone that in every election, PORAC works very closely with our local associations on endorsements. We are a grassroots association, and the power of our group comes from listening closely to our members. The POAs, DSAs and chapters provide direction to the PORAC Executive Board of Directors on endorsements in their areas.
Below is a survey of the results from the primary election on June 6.
PORAC chose to actively endorse in 54 of the 80 Assembly races. Fifty-one of our candidates came in either first or second, which allows them, under the new primary system that rewards candidates rather than parties, to move on to the November 8 general election. The competitive nature of the June races requires us to research the candidates with greater intensity and understand more completely the politics of California’s neighborhoods.
It’s interesting to note that after the results were tallied in the Assembly, nine races remain where a Democrat will face a Democrat and four races in which a Republican will run against a Republican in the general election.
Half of the 40-member Senate is up every two years. This year, the odd-numbered seats were on the ballot. Of the 20 Senate districts on the ballot, PORAC made the decision, after listening to our local members, to endorse in 13 races. Working together, we successfully predicted the winner in 12 races, for a remarkable success rate of 92%.
In November, four Senate races will remain where a Democrat will face a Democrat in the general election; the Republicans will not have any Senate races running against each other.
Fifty-three California congressional races were presented before the voters. PORAC membership asked for an endorsement in 37 races. We successfully predicted the outcome in 36 races, for a success rate of 97%. Surprisingly, we lost Katcho Achadjian in the 24th District (Monterey area) and will miss very much his understanding and passion for law enforcement.
This fall, five congressional races will remain with a Democrat facing a Democrat; again, there will not be any Republicans running against each other.
It is heartbreaking, as we travel throughout California, to hear veteran law enforcement officers tell us that they would question their choice of a profession if they were beginning their careers today. We also hear, much to our chagrin, that law enforcement officers are telling their own children to choose a different line of work.
The Wall Street Journal detailed that around the country, there is a war against law enforcement officers. The support we once appreciated in the legislatures and boards of supervisors and city halls has been tough to find. The job is difficult enough that approximately 22,000 vacancies exist in California.
PORAC is following hundreds of bills during this legislative session that have a direct and significant impact on the way our members do their jobs. The bills are consequential and, unfortunately, many are drawn from headlines rather than research. The target of these bills is the way we enforce the laws of California; the impact is the manner in which we keep safe the streets of our neighborhoods.
We got into this business because we care deeply about people. We are also not afraid to support accountability or transparency. However, we don’t want a world where the peace officer is viewed as a defendant every time they respond to a call for assistance.
We have supported body cameras, but we do so with an understanding that comes from experience, knowing that the cameras don’t tell the full story. We have seen how placement of a camera can just as easily distort the story as reveal the scene. A peace officer deserves the opportunity to review the recording prior to writing a report that details a complex and chaotic scene.
The bills we are dealing with cover the gamut, from parole suitability to the theft of firearms to the forfeiture of controlled substances to the release of recordings. We weigh in on the ignition interlock devices and school safety. In fact, the role PORAC plays in California is to provide the real-world insights that come from being the first line of defense.
The next couple of years are not going to be easy for any of us associated with law enforcement. Tough stories appear almost daily and all of us read them. They impact us in our jobs and they impact us in the way we prepare for our jobs.