I wish you all happy holidays and a happy new year! As we look to turn the page to begin 2018, I hope you were able to spend some quality time with family, friends and colleagues. Our chosen career of being a public safety professional often means that time is limited and sometimes means celebrating after the actual holiday, while we protect and serve others as they enjoy theirs. Although this time of year can be stressful, I hope everyone has a great holiday season and is able to reflect on the past year, as we renew our spirit for the coming one.
Vision With Venture
I believe the duty of the PORAC President and Board of Directors is to protect the members’ benefits, strive to improve the welfare of the members and protect public safety. With that said, we need a vision: one that will see PORAC through this unprecedented attack on law enforcement; one that will bring calm to the torrent of exaggerated pension doom; one that excels in governance, leadership and service; and one that proactively enhances the image of PORAC.
Visions are great but without venture, they are only words on paper. If PORAC shows uncertainty and weakness during this crisis, we will drift toward tragedy. We must be forward-looking to meet the new and emerging challenges posed by the antagonists of law enforcement, public safety and our benefits. Being your newly elected president, I will strive for steady, consistent and principled leadership — and that is why, with your help, PORAC will weather this storm and continue building on our 65 years of excellence.
The times in which we live and work are changing dramatically. Benefits that were negotiated in good faith are disappearing or being eliminated, and other benefits — for lack of understanding — are being incessantly attacked by politicians and the media for political gain and the simplicity of the soundbite. PORAC needs to aggressively protect your rights, benefits and safety, and provide you and your association the tools to assist in this battle. We must unite as one team.
What’s ahead in 2018? We have a full plate already, and are preparing for the pension measures that are sure to come our way, including the battles in court over current cases. Another high priority will be monitoring legislation that is being proposed not only in Sacramento but Washington, D.C. After what we saw last year out of the State Capitol, our workload is more important than ever, as the Legislature continues to pass laws that jeopardize public safety in which, sadly, criminals are cherished but victims not so much. Finally, we will be refining our ability to enhance communication with each of you and brand PORAC as the voice of public safety. There are many other important issues as well, and there will be new matters that will demand our attention.
We are making progress, but there is more to do. These changing times can be exciting times of expanded opportunity. I look forward to the challenges and opportunity to serve the membership. I know you won’t agree with every decision I make as President, and I know PORAC can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. As I have said before and will continue to say, no one individual is capable of dealing with all of the issues. It will require a team. Above all, I will ask you to join in the work of making PORAC better than ever.
As law enforcement officers, we have a great deal to be proud of. We get to wake up every day knowing that our efforts are going to ensure that our neighborhoods are safer. As association leaders, we work to create stability and security for our members, with the ultimate goal that our families will be taken care of no matter what. Serving those who serve others is a noble endeavor that we should all value. Not everyone can claim the title of peace officer.
I look forward to working with Vice President Brent Meyer and Treasurer Marcelo Blanco, along with the entire Board, seeking their advice and tapping the institutional knowledge they possess. I want to thank them for their hard work and dedication.
Before I finish, I want to thank Mike Durant for dedicating 14 years of his life to the organization. Mike worked hard and always put PORAC’s best interest first. I know he will still be around and act as a resource to me and the organization. If you see him, give him a big thanks. I want to wish him all the best that retirement has to offer and look forward to seeing him around over the next year.
In closing, I want to thank my wife and daughter, along with my family at the San Diego Police Department, for all the support they have shown me over the many years as president of the San Diego Police Officers Association, but especially during the last 12 months. I have gained a newfound respect for individuals who have to run a statewide campaign with minimal resources. Without their support, I would not have enjoyed the success I achieved.
It’s the dawn of a new year and challenges lie ahead. Let’s get to work!