Mike Cavallero’s passing is a great loss for his wife Marsha, and a huge loss for my family, Fresno POA and PORAC. It’s with great sadness and admiration that I’m writing about Mike and the loves of his life: Marsha, his pets, Fresno POA, PORAC and of course, the 49ers. I’ve known and loved Mike as a colleague and friend for over 35 years and always, no matter the issue, respected him for what he stood for. Anyone who knew Mike knows that if he had an opinion, he wasn’t shy about telling you how he felt, including about his 49ers. Mike was the most passionate 49ers fan I ever knew.
What I respected most about Mike was his love and devotion to Marsha. Marsha rocked Mike’s world, and he was always thankful for her being by his side through all the battles. After Marsha came Mike’s undying and unwavering loyalty to the members of Fresno POA and PORAC. Years ago, when PORAC was going through nasty internal fights, Mike stood up and served as our vice president during a very stressful period. Mike’s loyalty and tenacity played a crucial role in PORAC surviving the crisis and growing into the organization it is today.
Only God knows how many lives and careers were saved because of Mike’s unwavering and undying loyalty and service.
Mike was a man of great integrity and immense pride in defending what he believed was right or what was the right thing to do. I cannot remember an instance where Mike was on the wrong side of an issue. Even if he knew he was not going to win, he still stood for what he felt was right. That’s not to say that Mike and I didn’t have our arguments; oh, we did. We had countless discussions on “F” Street in the parking lot while smoking like chimney stacks (mostly me bumming smokes off Mike), trying to reach a consensus or agreement. When the smoke cleared, we would return to the meeting, and even though we may not have voted the same, Mike and I had mutual respect and an understanding of how each of us felt. This includes our ongoing argument over who had the better team, his 49ers or my Packers.
If we could pull out the PORAC records and our legislative victories, Mike’s name would be all over them. No matter the day or time, if the call went out from Aaron Read, Randy Perry or PORAC that letters needed to be written or people were needed to walk the halls in Sacramento or Washington, D.C., Mike was always there in mind, body and spirit to lend a hand and his voice of reason. Mike is one of the reasons peace officers in California have the protections we enjoy today. Mike’s work and dedication to the profession of law enforcement can never be credited enough; just saying thank you isn’t nearly enough. Only God knows how many lives and careers were saved because of Mike’s unwavering and undying loyalty and service.
I can vividly remember Mike breaking away from his local negotiations to go to Sacramento for a meeting. During our breaks, Mike would talk about the heated negotiations with his city council and mayor (Bubba from In the Heat of the Night). After the PORAC meeting, Mike would gather himself and drive back to Fresno to begin again. Mike always fought for the betterment of his POA, and only through his professionalism and tenacity was he able to bring in added benefits and salaries for his members. I know his members appreciated all the time, money and energy Mike put into his POA.
Rest in peace, my friend, and know that I am a better person for knowing you, and Fresno POA and PORAC are better organizations because of you. You will be missed and thought of often.
— Joe Flannagan
Tom Simonds, RAM Committee Region IV representative, also shared fond memories of Cavallero. “It was somewhere back in the early 1990s when I met Mike. We hit it off right away and became friends. There was a barbecue at the old PORAC condominium, and to everyone’s disbelief, the barbecue was still in the box, and no one stepped up to put it together except Mike and me. We fumbled around trying to get the grates on the grill, the legs, top, etc. It was a fun time, and we laughed at our ineptitude due to perhaps a beer or two prior to us starting the work. But we got it finished, and the barbecue was a success. PORAC has lost a wonderful asset, and I have lost a great friend. May he rest in peace in the arms of the Lord.”