MARCELO BLANCO PORAC Treasurer
Keeping Yourself and Your Members Informed
It appears the death penalty initiative passed its first hurdle and is well on its way to the November 2016 general election ballot. That said, there is a competing initiative to abolish the death penalty that also made it. Therefore, it is important to stay informed to make sure the right initiative passes in November. This is a great opportunity to get informed as to what the new PORAC-supported initiative would do to expedite the death-penalty process so that you may, in turn, educate your members, family, friends and neighbors. Another prominent initiative coming down the pike is the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana. Now, if you did not see this one coming, you must be living under a rock or it’s time to change your internet provider. Rest assured, PORAC is opposed to this initiative: As such, those with “chronic” back problems, headaches or potential onset of glaucoma should continue investing in Advil, Tylenol or Aleve.
While I don’t think the pro-marijuana folk will encounter any difficulty in gathering the needed support for their initiative, this is a good time to educate anyone who’s willing to listen about making an informed decision at the ballot box. The folk pushing to legalize marijuana may not always be upfront about what you are really supporting. Marijuana legalization has not been the panacea that most believed it would be for Colorado. They are experiencing a great number of issues as a result of their voter-approved initiative. If you don’t believe me, think about the “benefits” of the Safe Schools and Neighborhoods Act, otherwise known as Proposition 47.
Enough bad news. Let’s talk about the stock market and investment world. As I monitor our investments, I have a firsthand view of the good days and the challenging ones. Fortunately for PORAC, we are very well diversified and managed; nonetheless, we still experience our fair share of ebb and flow as the market fluctuates. However, it is the diversification, based on the investment policy established by the Board of Directors and expert management by Mark Sikorski, that has kept us in the game during the challenging times. Obviously, Mark is constantly monitoring the health of our funds to ensure that we are in the best position possible to minimize the effects of the bear market and to take full advantage of a bull market.
The key lies in constant monitoring and management of the funds, along with some tweaks throughout the process to keep us on the right track. If your organization uses Mark Sikorski in managing your investments, this may be the reminder you need to call Mark and ensure that you are on track. If you have another investment manager, Mark is always willing to provide your association with a second opinion. If your association does not have access to a financial/investment advisor, visit your local chapter meeting and inquire; you will be amazed at the wealth of information available at your chapter meetings. If you still have trouble finding an investment planner, contact me: I know a really good one.
Along the lines of good financial footing, if you are an Amazon Prime member (more like, who isn’t?), you have an opportunity to help the PORAC Peace Officers Research and Education Foundation by signing up with AmazonSmile. There is no added cost to your Prime membership. Go to www.smile.amazon.com and under your account dropdown menu, select a charity. Type in Peace Officers Research and Education Foundation and you are now helping PORAC members’ kids with scholarship funds for higher education (see page 16). Who knows, you may be contributing to your own child’s scholarship, so please sign up!
Be safe and have fun.
As I mulled this over and thought about a solution to what I see as a serious issue, little did I know that Ventura County Reserve Sergeant Kevin Bernzott, who is the Executive Director of the California Reserve Peace Officers Association (CRPOA), had identified the same issue from a different perspective. If you didn’t know, CRPOA offers legislative advocacy, disability coverage, POST-certified training and legal services to its members. Coincidentally, CRPOA offers its coverage for $94 annually. Again, for the California reserve peace officer, a no-brainer.
Initially, I thought that the solution could be as simple as finding a way to blend both organizations’ benefits, offering them together as a package deal for $94 annually. Seems easy and potentially feasible, right? Well, not so much …
Over much of the last year, this little project has become something of an educational journey, exploring CRPOA’s benefits and comparing them to what PORAC offers to our reserve membership associations. As you know, I am always looking for ways to improve benefits for our member associations. In this case, many of our associations also belong to CRPOA. And in speaking with several reserve members, as well as having had the opportunity to meet with the CRPOA Board of Directors, it quickly became evident that both PORAC and CRPOA offer benefits that, while they do slightly overlap, independently offer the most comprehensive coverage for the California reserve peace officer if obtained together.
So, for just $188 annually, a reserve peace officer in California can enjoy: the very best legal defense fund coverage; access to training that is mandated to ensure they keep their POST certificate up to date; access to a disability insurance plan; and updates on the most recent legislative and political initiatives that both PORAC and CRPOA are pursuing. Most importantly, the collective welfare of both organizations is reinforced by bringing more reserve members together in both organizations.
PORAC membership is available to associations of reserve peace officers, while CRPOA offers an individual membership program. To find out if your association is already a reserve member association within PORAC, or for more information on how your association can join our reserve membership program, please contact Angie Gonzales in Membership Services or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or come visit me at our booth at the CRPOA Annual Conference on August 11 and 12 in San Diego. I’d love to discuss our membership benefits with you.
By the time you read this, registration for PORAC’s Annual Conference of Members will be open on the Conference webpage (porac.org/events/conference/registration). This year’s event will be held November 18 through 20 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, and the cost for the hotel and park admission can’t be beat! If you haven’t registered your association, consider this a reminder! We are also pleased to announce that you will be able to register up to five people under a single point of contact for your association or organization. Remember, you must register first to get access to the PORAC room block.
Wondering where your quarterly invoice is at? Even if you remembered to update your association’s contact information and mailing address, it’s probably not in the mail, since we have implemented the next phase of POLS (PORAC online system). Effective with the third quarter billing, you will not receive an invoice from PORAC unless you opted back in by completing the notice that you still want them delivered to you in the mail. For those of you who have made the transition already, you are able to completely manage and pay your invoices online, as well as update membership reports and maintain your membership database (additions/deletions/retirements), or take advantage of several other features that the new system offers.
Thank you for your membership. Take care and stay safe!