Brian R. Marvel
Although the 2020 elections are over, as I am writing this article, a lot of races are still too close to be called. However, several of the races PORAC was involved in have already been decided, and unfortunately, a few did not go our way. This includes the Los Angeles district attorney’s race, which saw San Francisco’s former chief of police and appointed district attorney George Gascón edge out Jackie Lacey in a hard-fought contest. As evidenced by his pro-criminal policies, soaring violent crime and property crime rates in San Francisco under his watch, there is no sugarcoating the fact that Gascón will be detrimental to law enforcement and all of Los Angeles County. When he gets sworn into office on December 7, he will usher in the golden age of criminality for L.A. County. One of the biggest reasons this race was so important for all LE in the state, Gascón is part of the Prosecutors Alliance of California, a faux public safety group acting as a wolf in sheep’s clothing that has a clear pro-criminal, anti-police agenda. While the group — which includes DAs Chesa Boudin (San Francisco), Diana Becton (Contra Costa County) and Tori Verber Salazar (San Joaquin) — claims to support public safety, they are really supporters of criminals and not so much for victims. This will only make our work at the Capitol even harder than it already is.
We were also actively involved in the Assembly District 59 race, supporting Efren Martinez in his effort against incumbent Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer. Although Martinez lost, we are all extremely proud of the tireless effort he put into his campaign. When it came to statewide measures, we were disappointed that Proposition 20 only netted 38% of the vote. This initiative would have made some minor fixes to the flaws in Proposition 47 and 57, along with making sure victims were given the same consideration that criminals receive. As the election results are certified, we will spend the next several months researching and analyzing why the electorate was so split. This autopsy will better position us for 2022.
While these losses sting, I am proud to say that PORAC still has a 90% success rate when it comes to our endorsements. More importantly, I am proud that, rather than pointing fingers and feeling sorry for ourselves, all of us at PORAC are already back with our noses to the grindstone to ensure our members are protected and our profession is the best it can be. As we wait to see what happens in the aftermath of the presidential election, PORAC stands with whoever prevails and takes the oath of office on January 20. We are eager to provide advice and information regarding police and public safety initiatives as we work together to improve our profession for the better.
We are not about making headlines or sensationalizing half-truths in order to twist the narrative to our advantage. As several cities continue to experiment with their communities, we can list real-world impacts for citizens with the defund-the-police rhetoric. Just look at Minneapolis, where their elected leaders continue to defund the police and conduct baseless social experiments on their citizenry while their police force dwindles and the community crumbles! Homicides are up 50%, and more than 500 people have been wounded by gunfire this year, the highest number in over a decade, according to The Washington Post. It has gotten so bad, the city council had to recently approve spending money to bring in outside police officers to help before Minneapolis completely falls apart. Appeasement is never a plan for success. Peter Moskos said it best, “Slogans and sociological theories don’t prevent violence. Policy and policing based on evidence and proven research-based strategies do.” One bit of good news is that a judge ruled in favor of citizens being able to sue the city to comply with the charter, as well as to stop any hiring freezes, and ensure proper training for the MPD is in place.
While November is always a big month for PORAC, COVID-19 restrictions forced us to cancel our 68th Annual Conference of Members and instead have a smaller Board of Directors meeting. I want to take a moment to offer my sincere gratitude to Tim Davis, who spent the past two years doing an incredible job as treasurer. Tim provided PORAC with a solid financial base and continued the high standard for all to follow. Please welcome our new treasurer, Shawn Welch of Contra Costa County DSA, who will take the seat starting January 1. I also want to thank Tony Sanders, Tony Bolanos, Tim Caughron and Brian Avera of the Executive Committee for their service and commitment to PORAC and the membership. I would like to introduce our newest Executive Committee members, Eric Schmidt (Region II, Fresno DSA), Grant Ward (Region IV, Sheriff’s Employees’ Benefit Association) and Edgar Hampton (Region IV, Anaheim POA), who you can read more about in this issue. In addition, PJ Webb (L.A. School PMA) has officially retired. He was the chair of the Specialized Police Association Coalition (SPAC) Committee. Over the last several years, he was an invaluable advisor to me on making sure our SPAC members were always included in our discussions on legislation, nationally and in our state. Congratulations! Thank you for all your assistance and dedication to our profession and organization.