1360 Van Ness Ave, Fresno, CA 93721
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A Message from the President

2016

A Message from the President, December 2016
Wishing you all the best health and happiness in 2017! Happy New Year!

I hope you had a safe and happy holiday season.

The start of a new chapter brings a sense of renewed energy and desire to reach new goals!

At the FDSA, January is also a time to reflect on those fallen officers who were killed in the Line of Duty in 2016.

During Police Week in May, at events in Sacramento and Washington DC, we will honor all fallen law enforcement officers and their family.

These are the fallen officers in the State of California in 2016:

  • Deputy Scott Ballantyne – Tulare County Sheriff’s Office EOW: February 10, 2016
  • Officer Nathan Taylor – California Highway Patrol EOW: March 13, 2016
  • Officer Michael Katherman – San Jose Police Department EOW: June 14, 2016
  • Officer Jonathan “JD” Guzman – San Diego Police Department EOW: July 28, 2016
  • Deputy Sergeant Steve Owen – Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office EOW: October 5, 2016
  • Officer Lesley Zerebny – Palm Springs Police Department EOW: October 8, 2016
  • Officer Jose Vega – Palm Springs Police Department EOW: October 8, 2016
  • Deputy Jack Hopkins – Modoc County Sheriff’s Office EOW: October 19, 2016
  • Deputy Sergeant Alfonso Lopez – Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office EOW: October 24, 2016
  • Deputy Sergeant Rod Lucas – Fresno County Sheriff’s Office EOW: October 31, 2016
  • Deputy Dennis Wallace – Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office EOW: November 13, 2016

Prop 66 (Death Penalty Reform Act)

The FDSA has taken an active role in death penalty reform and efforts to end the death penalty in California.

In 2012, we took a position- in conjunction with PORAC, to help with the No on 34 campaign. This measure was intended to abolish the death penalty in California. At that time, there were 43 ‘cop killers,’ on death row. Many of the victim’s families had also reached out for help in fighting this proposition. Fortunately, No on 34 was victorious. The fix moving forward was reform.

This past year (2016), the reform act was put on the ballot. Fortunately, the voters passed it. However, a result of this State Proposition being certified- was an immediate lawsuit and the California Supreme Court taking the matter up for review.

I have attached an article written by Michele Hanisee. She is the President of LA County District Attorneys. The 58 elected District Attorneys in California were the ones leading the charge on this reform act. Michele writes a great overview article that sums up what really happened here.


Prop. 66 lawsuit is an insult to California voters 

By Michele Hanisee is President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys
.

So much for respecting the will of the voters.

The moment the final ballot count proved that voters had enacted Prop. 66 - the death penalty reform initiative - opponents rushed to court to block the initiative.  Although the legal challenge is limited to just a few clauses of Prop. 66, the Supreme Court has just announced that implementation of all parts of the initiative will be stayed pending their review of the lawsuit.

Prop. 66 preserved the death penalty for the most heinous criminals by enacting critically needed reforms to the system. The ADDA and our public safety partners worked hard to promote it and secure its passage.  At the same time they passed Prop. 66, voters rejected a competing initiative that would have eliminated the death penalty and allowed criminals who kill cops or rape and murder children to live out their lives in prison.

The opponents of Prop. 66 falsely claim that Prop. 66 would disrupt the courts, cost more money and limit the ability to appeal.  In fact, it does the exact opposite. Among other things, it will require that a defendant who is sentenced to death be appointed a lawyer at the time of sentence, meaning the defendant's appeal will be heard sooner. It will require appeals be heard within five years. And it will also allow the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to reduce the cost of housing death-row inmates.

Having failed to convince the voters, death penalty opponents have resorted to the courts to try to thwart the will of the voters.  It is cruelly ironic that the opponents are using the same tactics they use in death penalty appeals - frivolous legal challenges in court - to prevent implementation of the initiative that would have reduced the number of frivolous legal challenges in court.  The same opponents who claim in one breath that the reforms of Prop. 66 won't work, also complain in their motion that "It will also make it more likely, and more immediate, for persons sentenced to death to face their executions."

The basic concept of democracy seems most lost on those who claim to be fighting for due process.  Death penalty opponents refuse to accept that the citizens of California voted not just to keep the death penalty but also to reform the appellate court system and ensure the death penalty is carried out in a timely manner.

The Supreme Court's decision to issue a blanket stay without hearing from the proponents of Prop. 66 is disappointing, but it is, at this point, nothing more than a minor setback. Rest assured the ADDA will vigorously support the effort to defeat this frivolous lawsuit.


Update to Bargaining
FDSA continues to bargain with the County of Fresno for a successor Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Since the last update, we have had four meetings with Fresno County Labor relations. We have worked out a deal for an immediate equity adjustment for our Communication Dispatchers who average about 17% below those surveyed by Fresno County.

We have also reached some common ground on health insurance for all those covered under the Insurance Trust.

As a reminder, ALL county employees saw a $50 per pay period adjustment to what the County of Fresno contributes to their health insurance.

During the December 6th board meeting, Supervisor Henry Perea asked why FDSA was not getting this bump. CAO Jean Rousseau explained that FDSA and other FSO groups were in negotiations with the county and that can all be handled at the bargaining table.

I have been extremely vocal on this issue. Back in October, the Board of Supervisors made it clear that all county employees would be receiving this increase, to make out- of- pocket health costs less. Since then, the Board asked labor relations to meet with the FDSA and work this out. On January 10th, this will be going to the Board for approval. At that time, I hope to be able to report what the increase will be for FDSA members, as well as dispatchers.

The remainder of the discussions have been for the hours, wages, and working conditions on the successor MOU. We have been dealing directly with labor relations on these issues and I hope to have a resolution very soon.


Update on New Area Two Substation
I would like to share with you, the progress of this new Area Two Substation. It will be located on the southwest corner of Harvey and Armstrong (Belmont/Armstrong).

The process started in early September. A working group was set up to discuss design and compatibility at the new facility. The staff at Lance-Kashian Company is leading the project, along with their architect. Recently, I was able to view the blueprints along with computer generated drawings of what the substation will look like, and it’s impressive to say the least.

At this point, elevations are being finalized. Although this building will serve as the Area Two substation, there are two large warehouse style buildings. These will accommodate vehicle storage and moving the entire fleet operation to this location. There will be a fuel station for both county workers and FSO employees.

The design is laid out on 6.3 acres. The substation size alone is roughly 22,000 square feet.

Right now, we do not have a ground breaking date. Financing options still must be worked out between Fresno County, the Sheriff and Lance-Kashian Company.

As more information becomes available, I will be passing on the exciting news with you.

I hope everyone is looking forward to 2017. Be safe out there.


All my Best,

Eric
A Message from the President, November 2016
I'd like to begin by wishing you all a wonderful holiday season filled with joy! I hope you are enjoying fun festivities with family and friends and making a lot of great memories!

As 2016 comes to a close, we are already setting goals at the FDSA for 2017.

One thing we are so glad to have finally completed are shift signups.

Below I have attached the staffing side letter of agreement for patrol that is tied into signups for the 2017 New Year. This took many hours of collaboration and work between FDSA and Captain Gularte to come up with a mutually agreeable direction in staffing.

I would like to remind all FDSA members – it is Sheriff Mims goal to have all beats filled with two deputies in each beat, in each area. Based on the direction we are headed, I hope to reach that goal within the next few years.

Vacation signups should have been handed out as well. Those will be filled as we have in prior years.

CSU vacations – an issue that has been brought up regarding the CSU vacations, related specifically to the Court Holidays. As discussed in prior years, if on those court holidays the training put on during those days is not mandated, you would be allowed to take time off. However, if training is mandated, CSU staff would still be allowed to take the remainder of the week off– with the exception of that training day specifically.
 

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING FOR
FRESNO DEPUTY SHERIFF’S ASSOCIATION – UNIT 1 
MOU Term: December 19, 2016 – December 18, 2017

Coverage for Patrol Staffing In Conjunction with 2017 Shift Signups
 
  • Area 1 and Area 4 will staff each shift (Watch 1, 2, & 3) at recession-level staffing for purposes of Mandatory Overtime shifts. This means there shall be no less than four deputies on each shift in each of those two areas.
  • Area 2 and Area 3 shall staff Watch 1 at a preferred level of 5 deputy sheriffs.
  • Area 3 shall staff Watch 2 and Watch 3 at a preferred level of 5 deputy sheriffs.
  • Area 2 shall staff Watch 2 and Watch 3 at a preferred of 6 deputy sheriffs. However when an MOT is triggered by a vacancy, and there is no VOT replacement, the shift shall use the K9 deputy to eliminate the MOT; or the shift Sergeant can take that particular shift staffing down to five deputies on a case by case basis triggered only because of a lack of staffing and trying to cancel an MOT shift. Deputies will continue to fill the vacant shifts as we have been doing using the Workforce Telestaff picklist if a vacancy occurs. Workforce Telestaff will utilize the MOT/VOT picklist as we have in prior years.
  • Canine (K-9) Deputies will not count toward staffing levels unless it can result in eliminating a Mandatory Overtime shift during the assigned shift.
  • Supervisors shall make every effort to move people around to help eliminate an MOT shift only, even if that means moving areas. This shall occur for the shift that has the MOT. All other vacancies shall be filled using the current VOT way of filling shifts under the Workforce Telestaff system.
  • These changes will go into effect on December 19, 2016; however, the Sheriff and the Deputy Sheriff’s Association agree to meet prior to December 18, 2017, to discuss the effectiveness of this agreement.
  • Contract policing shall remain the same it has for the past years due to the same funding in those contracts. i.e. Mello Roos, San Joaquin, Fig Garden, Central Unified, and any other School District Policing or Special Event Contracts. These contracts do not count towards preferred staffing.

Update on Bargaining with County of Fresno
In October of 2015, a new County Administrative Officer was hired by the Board of Supervisors to replace retiring CAO John Navarrette. The FDSA had a great working relationship with Navarrette and a lot of mutual respect. Jean Rousseau was hired to take his place. Rousseau was previously the CAO for Tulare County.

Jean came into the County of Fresno with an accountant perspective. I met with Jean and we discussed the history of the FDSA and the working relationship with the County of Fresno. Jean seemed ready to work with our organization.

At the beginning of 2016 – the FDSA was asked if we were interested in a one-year extension on our MOU. Our answer was a clear and firm, "No."

Months later we continue to bargain with the County of Fresno. We are not only dealing with a new CAO- but also a new labor negotiator. There have been some challenges during this leadership transition. We hope our new leaders are willing to reach a compromise and have a clear understanding about the importance of public safety within Fresno County.

I will continue to update you as we push forward on this front. I would like to remind you, I have the best interest of this organization in mind always and the groups we represent. I have been and will continue to explain to anyone about the job each and every one of you does for this department. I am extremely proud and honored to be put in a position to advocate on behalf of you.


UPDATED on Marin County Retirement System
An informative four hour discussion/presentation was given at the recent PORAC conference about the Marin County Retirement System. This case is being handled by Gregg Adam who is a partner in Messing, Adam & Jasmine –which is the law firm of the FDSA. Gregg has had this case from the onset and has argued it through the Court of Appeals. Recently a ruling came down stating that a 'promised benefit' may not, in fact- be that. The decision is vague and opened up to much interpretation. A request was made to the US Supreme Court to review the ruling and make a decision about the language handed down by the Court of Appeals Judge.

I have been following these court proceedings closely because they may eventually have a serious effect on our retirement system in Fresno County.

Marin County is a 1937 Act Retirement System, which is exactly like Fresno County.

I have attached a recent article published from the LA Times, which speculates the fallouts of this case. Also, some facts are given as well.


California's top court will review major public pension ruling
The California Supreme Court decided Tuesday to review a ruling that would give state and local government’s new authority to cut public employee pensions.

The court, meeting in closed session, unanimously accepted labor unions’ appeal of a decision that said government pensions were not “immutable” and could be trimmed.
But the court will not review further arguments in the case until a court of appeal resolves another pending pension dispute. That could take months.
The case now before the state high court was decided in August by a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco.
The other pension case, which raises similar issues, is pending before a different panel of judges in the same court. That panel has not yet scheduled a hearing on it.

The court of appeal’s August ruling amounted to 
a major change in California pensions law, scholars said. 
For decades, California courts have ruled that state and local employees were entitled to the pension that was in place on the day they were hired. Pensions could be cut for current employees only if an equivalent benefit were added, making it difficult for governments to cut costs.

If upheld, the ruling could be a vehicle for reducing a shortfall of hundreds of billions of dollars in public pensions in California. Other states grappling with pension debt also could follow California’s lead.

The court agreed to take the case in a brief order that did not reveal the justices’ thoughts. A decision in the case is likely to be issued in several months.
The ruling stemmed from a pension reform law passed in 2012 by state legislators. The law cut pensions and raised retirement ages for new employees and banned “pension spiking” for existing workers.
Pension spiking has allowed some workers to get larger pensions by inflating their pay during the period in which retirement is based — usually at the end of their careers. 

Employees have done this by cashing in years of accumulated vacation or sick pay or volunteering for extra duties just before retirement. The practice in some cases has given employees pensions that exceeded their regular salary.

The Marin County retirement system, relying on the new law, decided that pay for various on-call duties and for waiving health insurance could no longer be counted toward pensions.

Unions objected. They said many employees had been counting on the long-promised benefit and may even have accepted their jobs because of it.
In a ruling written by Justice James A. Richman, appointed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the appeals court said the Legislature can alter pension formulas for active employees and reduce their anticipated retirement benefits.

“While a public employee does have a ‘vested right’ to a pension, that right is only to a ‘reasonable’ pension — not an immutable entitlement to the most optimal formula of calculating the pension,” wrote Richman, joined by Justices J. Anthony Kline and Marla J. Miller, both Gov. Jerry Brown appointees.

A trial judge in the other pension case, brought by employees of Contra Costa, Alameda and Merced counties, upheld the anti-spiking provisions but allowed some employees to count pay for regular and required on-call duties toward their pensions.
Written arguments in that case were completed months ago, and the panel’s failure to schedule a hearing prompted speculation that it was waiting for the California Supreme Court to decide the Marin County dispute before ruling.
Instead, the state high court’s order amounted to a “you go first” message, said Arthur Liou, an attorney who represents unions in both pension cases.

He said the Supreme Court may have decided to wait for a decision in the second case because the justices assumed they would have to review it later anyway.
“Maybe the court wants to hear and resolve all the issues together,” Liou said, noting that both cases raise similar issues.

Update from Victoria Sanders- Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
The holiday season is an exciting time for most people, but with that excitement comes a variety of stressors, namely: having too much to do and not enough time, and too many things to buy without enough money. That sort of stress can do a number on our relationships with others and on our emotional self. Add on to that being a member of law enforcement, with the current climate in our communities, and the stress level is off the charts.

Therapy is often considered a “dirty word” in the vast majorities of communities, often being considered a “last resort” or “for crazy people.” Let me reassure all of you that therapy is more than just something for people who have mental illness, it can be used to help reduce stress, improve communication in relationships, improve coping skills, and generally learn how to cope with life’s every day and unique stressors. Ideally, therapy occurs before there is a crisis, and can be used more to avert difficulties. Once they have occurred, we are certainly available, but preventative measures are often the most effective and “easiest” to manage. Therapy can be short term (just a few sessions), or longer term, depending on the need.

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Department has partnered with our agency, VMS Family Counseling Services, to provide you with cost-free counseling sessions for any employee of the department, as well as any of your dependents. This counseling is completely confidential, and the Department is not notified of who is being seen. If you, or someone in your family, could benefit from services, please contact Victoria Sanders at 559-573-4194, to schedule an appointment with one of our therapists. Victoria is also available to answer any questions that you may have regarding therapy or our therapeutic services. We do have morning, afternoon, and evening appointments available in order to accommodate your schedules. We look forward to providing support to you, your family, and your colleagues, and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
A Message from the President, October 2016
Remembering Sergeant Rod Lucas
The past few weeks have been incredibly painful for many of you- following the unexpected death of Sgt. Rod Lucas. We are working to help his wife and children through these difficult days in any way we can. The FDSA set up a GoFundMe following his death and we are continuing to accept contributions that will go directly to his wife. This is a way we can offer assistance and help to immediately relieve any financial burden during this very heartbreaking time.

We hope that the critical incident debrief was helpful to those who were involved in the incident that tragically ended Sgt. Lucas’ life. We know, from past experience, that healing will take time. For those who still need to talk things out, please know that counselors are available to assist you in dealing with the emotions and pain.

This loss has touched many in this department and the community. Rod was respected in every area of the county where he policed. He was a strong leader on the Search and Rescue team and did great work as part of the Narcotics team. In addition, he was looked up to by many who met him through his passion for Jiu-Jitsu. He was a mentor to many in his hometown of Tranquility and made a difference in the lives of countless people. This loss has affected so many people in such a profound way.


2017 Health Insurance
The FDSA/FSSA Insurance and Benefit trust has concluded the health insurance bargaining for the upcoming 2017 plan year. This was a productive year for our group. We had the opportunity to talk with several different carriers about what they would be willing to offer our group for our health plan. Ultimately- we again selected Blue Shield of California. They, by far, beat the rates of other carriers for the benefits we as a group wanted to maintain.

Due to the success with our dental plan, Delta Dental came in with a rate pass for the next two years. Our success was based on offering options last year to the membership between the PPO dental plan and the DHMO dental plan.

For years, our dental plan was high usage, ranging between 105-125%. This caused our rates to inch up each year, causing us to move the plan around between companies like Delta, Met Life, etc.

Overall, the plan was reduced by 4% from the rates last year. This is great news, especially considering the County of Fresno is dealing with increases to their health plan of over 15%.

One of the additions is TELADOC. This is a new program Blue Shield is excited to launch to all of its customers. Teladoc’s U.S. board-certified doctors are available 24/7, 365 days a year to resolve many problems one may have during a non-emergency medical issue. This is accomplished through phone or video consults.

The primary purpose and usage of Teladoc is when you are considering a trip to the emergency room or urgent care for a non-emergency. For example, if you are on vacation, a business trip, away from home, or need a short-term prescription refill.

Teladoc doctors can treat many medical conditions including;

  • Cold and flu symptoms
  • Allergies
  • Bronchitis
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Respiratory infection
  • Sinus problems
  • And many more!

Teledoc doctors are all practicing PCP’s, pediatricians, and family physicians. They have an average of 15 years’ experience and are all board certified and licensed. Each one is credentialed every three years.

To set up YOUR specific Teladoc account contact Teladoc at:

  • Teladoc.com/BSC
  • 1-800-Teladoc (835-2362)
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Facebook.com/Teladoc

You will continue to see us push this benefit out for our members to take advantage of and really save money when doing so. Not only is it a $5 co-pay, it will greatly reduce our exposure on the insurance plan overall. This will allow us the flexibility of future out- of- pocket costs on our health insurance.

Below is the open enrollment letter that our broker Dibuduo & Defendis has sent out to all of you. However, if any of you missed it, please review it and see what the open enrollment consists of.

It is as follows:

Welcome! You have now entered the 2017 Online Open Enrollment Site for Fresno Deputy Sheriff’s/Fresno Sheriff’s Sergeants Association. Open Enrollment begins November 1, 2016 and ends November 30, 2016. All changes must be made prior to the close of Open Enrollment.

Open Enrollment is the only time during the year you can make a plan change. It is also the only time you can enroll yourself or dependents that have previously declined coverage, unless there is a qualifying event such as marriage, birth, adoption, or loss of coverage.

The FDSA/FSSA Insurance Benefit Trust has just completed the annual review of our Blue Shield of CA Medical/Vision/Life and AD&D plans and the Delta Dental of CA plans. After months of negotiations, we were able to again reduce the current premiums for the HMO $0, PPO $500/$1000 and the PPO HSA $2250/$2600/$4500 with no benefit changes. The total medical plan rate reduction is 4% under last year’s premiums. The IBTF worked hard this year with the carriers, specifically Blue Shield of CA to accomplish a rate reduction, especially when most plans are going up in cost. The Vision and Life and AD&D plans received a rate pass.

This year we were able to add a better vision benefit for next to nothing in cost. You will now be able to have lenses and frames or contacts every 12 months rather than every 24 months. The allowance on frames has been increased to $150 from $100 on the previous plan.

Blue Shield has added TELADOC to all three plans. This is a new and convenient way to access quality care via teleconference. The copay is $5 and that gets you a 30 minute visit using your phone or computer. Doctors are available 24/7/365 to resolve many of your non-emergency medical issues. This is really meant to drive down ER and Urgent Care costs when one just needs to discuss something with a doctor or is in need of a prescription, etc. There will be more information coming out about this very soon.

We received a rate pass with a two-year rate guarantee through 12/31/18 for our Delta Dental of CA plans with no changes to the benefits.

All Open Enrollment information is on this site for your review. Please proceed to view this important information as you will want to review the benefit designs and make the decision that best meets your needs.

Any questions/help, please call or email Katherine Sierze at DiBuduo & DeFendis 559.437.6750, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Monitoring the Marin County Pension Battle
As you know, Messing Adam & Jasmine LLP (representing Marin County Fire Department Firefighters' Association and Marin County Management Employees Association), in coordination with co-counsel Leonard Carder (representing Marin Association of Public Employees), and Weinberg Roger & Rosenfeld (representing Service Employees International Union Local 1021, CTW, CLC) has petitioned the California Supreme Court (Case No. S237460) for review of the disastrous opinion from the First District Court of Appeal in Marin Association of Public Employees, et al. v. Marin County Employees' Retirement Association, et al., California First District Court of Appeal, Case No. A139610. As of Monday, October 24, 2016, the briefing on the Petition is complete, and we await the high court's decision on whether or not to grant review. As you know, this is an important case, and support has been strong. Petitioners have been fortunate to receive letters from numerous amicus curiae advocating review and supporting depublication of the First District's opinion.  In order to keep track of everything, Messing Adam & Jasmine LLP has created a link to all the briefs and letters on its website, which can be accessed through the link below or by visiting the News & Recent Developments page at MAJlabor.com. We have received 24 letters of support to date, filed by unions representing millions of employees in California and nationwide.  Letters continue to come in.  Needless to say, we will keep you posted as this case moves forward. If you have any questions about the case, please do not hesitate to contact Gregg Adam at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

 
2017 Shift Signups

We continue to work with Sheriff Mims and her administration to come up with conditions surrounding shift signups and staffing. The FDSA is determined to keep staffing levels either at the current level or above. The conditions on the streets warrant more staffing. We have made some changes to the key slots to allow the push of more staff on graveyard shift in Area Two specifically.

We have also made changes to bring up daily beat lineups in several areas. This is not an easy task. Even though the Sheriff would ultimately like two deputies in each beat in each area, the funding must also be present for this to happen. We will continue to work with Sheriff Mims to accomplish this goal.

***Update*** I am pleased to announced we have reached a deal for shift signups. They will be held on Monday, November 14, 2016 at the FDSA. Those of you who are signing up will receive an email with a time slot. The conditions of signups will be published in the next newsletter.

Thank you for your patience.

Also, I would like to thank those who reached out to offer anything needed to help in the moments following Sgt. Lucas’ death. You are wonderful people and many of you have great hearts of compassion and service. Please know how grateful I am for your gestures and how you come together during difficult moments.

Take care and again, thank you for taking care of one another.

Always,

Eric
A Message from the President, September 2016
Bargaining Talks Underway with Fresno County
I want to report to the membership that we have started bargaining with the County of Fresno – officially on August 31, 2016. The Executive Board of the FDSA, along with our labor negotiator, Gary Messing met with county representatives to discuss the ground rules needed for bargaining, along with goals for the successor memorandum of understanding or MOU.


Shift Signups and Mandatory Overtime
We have started negotiations with the Sheriff’s administration for the key assignments for 2017 shifts within the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. This year, we have 109 deputiessigning up for the key slot shifts, compared to 87 last year and 84 in 2014. Although hiring isn’t going as fast as we all would like to see- we are making progress.

There are a total of 131 patrol key slots that need to be filled overall in patrol this year. There will be a gap of 22 shifts, which will cause some to be filled on overtime (OT).

Over the last year, I have discussed the current OT and the mandatory overtime (MOT) policy with many of you. I have heard a variety of comments, both good and bad about how the policy impacts you. The most common theme I have heard is that you do not want to work shorthanded and prefer hiring additional deputies to fill the gaps. I agree with all of you. In fact, I haven’t found one person who says they like MOT shifts. However, we also have a large workforce who does not want to come to work with one or two deputies covering an entire area. There are many deputies who remember working under those exhausting and grueling conditions. These ‘short shifts’ ended under the direction of former Sheriff Richard Pierce- following the death of Deputy Erik Telen.

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors is committed to giving Sheriff Mims the funding she needs to continue to hire new employees (in all areas of the department) along with provide funding to continue filling the vacancies we have from resignations or retirements.

I have listened loud and clear to the message of discontent about MOT. I am trying to find a middle ground in an attempt to curb that someway in order to minimize the impacts of people being ordered in.

We still have our MOT/VOT policy that was drafted and agreed to back in 2007 and then an addendum in 2010.

We drafted the side letter agreement in July 2016 that expired on October 1, 2016 calling for levels of staffing to go to preferred levels (minimum numbers). This level is four deputies in each area during each shift. This agreement was in anticipation of the Parlier Police Department take over, but also allowed us to give the deputies a little bit of a break. Remember, some of the areas were at preferred staffing of 5 and 6. Based on the number of deputies at the time – we were bleeding and working our people ragged.

In discussions with Captain Gularte regarding the key assignments for 2017 – we (FDSA) have developed a plan to maintain preferred staffing level in all four areas. Trying to keep our deputies safe with sufficient staffing, and still able to service the public. The language is still pending at this time with Sheriff’s Administration. However, I am optimistic we will find middle ground. I want to thank each of you who have taken the time to call and talk or meet and talk to me about different ideas we can do to get the biggest bang for our buck with staffing. I do not have all the answers, and it’s refreshing to hear it from all of you as well. The engine runs best when running on all eight cylinders!

There are ways to eliminate MOT shifts, but there has to be cooperation from everyone to accomplish this goal. Cooperation needs to come from supervisors monitoring Telestaff, deputies looking at Telestaff to find MOTs- and noticing when they come upoffering to work. It would also require cooperation from the Sheriff’s Administration to continuing raising the bar on keeping staffing above the minimums.

I want to thank deputies assigned to the Court Services Unit for continuing to sign up for shifts at CRMC, football games, and other recreation type details that come up. By everyone helping to staff different details- it allows us as an agency and organization to deliver the utmost service the public needs and deserves.

I am confident that working as a team, we can overcome these challenges to accomplish a goal that suits a majority of you, if not all.

 
Marin County Pension Case: Up to the Supreme Court Now
By Gregg Adam, Messing, Adam &Jasmine
Read below as an update to what is going on with the Marin County Pension Case. I sent the initial decision from the appellate court to all of you back in June 2016. As these come up I will continue to get them to you as this does have ripple effects on our pension system at Fresno County.

We alerted our clients to the recent decision in Marin Association of Public Employees v. Marin County Employees Retirement Association by the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco.  The decision is a frontal attack on the vested rights doctrine.

Here is briefly what happened leading up to and in this case: In 1997, the Supreme Court decided in Ventura County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association v. Board of Retirement that pursuant to the County Employees’ Retirement Law (under which 20 California counties have set up pension systems) all compensation except overtime had to be treated as pensionable.  After Ventura, the Marin County Employees’ Retirement Association (“MCERA”), like many other county retirement boards, took the position that multiple premiums had to be treated as pensionable compensation (or “compensation earnable” as Government Code section 31461 calls it).  So for many years, standby pay, administrative response pay, call-back pay, cash-in-lieu of healthcare, and fringe benefits were included as pensionable.

That changed when the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act (“PEPRA”) was passed.  After PEPRA came into effect, MCERA changed its rules and stopped including the premiums described above as pensionable. Various unions sued.  The trial court refused to find any part of PEPRA unconstitutional.

On appeal, the unions argued that under sixty years of California Supreme Court interpretation of the vested rights doctrine, and dozens of court of appeal cases following it, any disadvantageous change in current employee pension benefits had to be offset by a comparable advantage.

The appellate panel rejected conventional wisdom on what California vested rights law requires and offered a quite astonishing attack on public employee pensions and “pension spiking,” describing state and local government pension liabilities as a “ticking time bomb.”  The first five pages of the opinion is highly partisan stuff.  Later in the opinion, the panel concludes that the inclusion of the premiums can be eliminated, without any legal consequences.  It then attempts to neuter vested rights law, asserting that public employee pensions can be freely reduced so long as they are not destroyed.  Legal commentators and pension critics are describing the case as a game-changer.  It is a call to arms for unions to get this devastating decision reviewed before public agencies seek to undo pension promises to their employees.

We hope that the word of the Court of Appeal is not the last word. To that end, yesterday, along with our colleagues at the Leonard Carder and Weinberg, Roger & Rosenfeld law firms, we filed a Petition for Review with the California Supreme Court asking it to review this highly controversial ruling.

We expect amicus curiae from many fronts will weigh in on whether or not review should be granted and whether or not the Court of Appeal got it right.


Palm Springs Police Officers Killed
The past few days have been heartbreaking to hear details about the two Palm Springs police officers killed while at a domestic call. 35 year veteran, Officer Jose “Gil” Vega had just submitted paperwork to retire in December. He was also a father of eight who didn’t plan to work Saturday, October 8th, but had picked up an overtime shift. Officer Lesley Zerebny returned to work early to help out after giving birth to a little girl, who is just four months old. She had been a police officer for a year and half- when investigators say Zerebny, 27 and Vega, 63, were gunned down. The police chief of the desert community described the devastation of watching Zerebny’s husband, a Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputy, kiss her goodbye on her forehead.

The suspect, 26 year old John Felix was arrested after a 12 hour standoff. He has a long criminal past.

We are keeping the families and colleagues of the fallen in our thoughts and prayers. In addition, the FDSA has also sent a contribution to their families to help them get through this difficult time.

This tragedy is a reminder of the unpredictability of patrolling the streets.

Stay safe out there.


Truly,

Eric
A Message from the President, August 2016
September has started off with a terrible reminder of the dangers in law enforcement. Saturday, the 3rd began with a stunning shooting in the jail that critically injured two Fresno County correctional officers. This is the first such incident in the jail, and we are working to help everyone involved. FDSA worked around the clock to support the families of Juanita Davila and Toamalama Scanlan during this difficult time. We have provided food and drinks to the families at Community Regional Medical Center. We also opened the FDSA building to other correctional officers and deputies who wanted to join together, talk, decompress and have a bite to eat. During this tragic time, we have been blessed with donations of food and drinks from several outlying law enforcement agencies and members of the community. Hours after the shooting, District Attorney, Lisa Smittcamp had lunch brought in and countless other groups, and police unions have stopped by to bring food, desserts and simply offer comfort. 

Thank you will never be enough for these gestures of love to the families, and co-workers of these officers. 

The kindness has also been extended both locally and nationwide. We have been receiving financial donations from near and far, for the families of Davila and Scanlan. Davila is a mother of two and grandmother of three. Scanlan is a husband and father of six. Both families have a long road ahead, and we hope these contributions can alleviate some of the pressure of keeping things going on the homefront, as they recover.

I would like to also thank those FDSA members, retirees, and jail employees who immediately stepped in to staff the FDSA building and help with putting out food, filling drink bins and everything else necessary to keep the building open from 6am until 10pm. Your gracious service has been tremendously appreciated.  


November Election

The November general election is just two months away. The two Board of Supervisors candidates the FDSA supported both won during the primary on June 7, 2016. This means there will be an automatic win for them in upcoming general election. 

Supervisors-elect Nathan Magsig and Sal Quintero both finished high in their respective districts. I have been meeting with both regularly, as they prepare to serve the residents in Fresno County. Both have been inquiring about county government operations and public safety services within Fresno County. Already, there has been a lot of information sharing. I am pleased to see they are committed to hearing our perspective and learning about their goals.

Our (FDSA) focus for the November election will be to support PORAC in the state initiatives that are on the ballot. One of the important ones for us is the NO on 62/Yes on 66 campaigns - dealing with the death penalty. 


No on Prop 62, Yes on Prop 66/Californians to Mend, Not End, the Death Penalty is leading the support campaign for Proposition 66. 
YES on 66 

This campaign is a continuation of the NO on 34 measure we supported in November of 2012, when the death penalty was on the brink of being abolished. Here is a brief recap from my article in March of 2016 regarding the issue. 

“In 2012, Proposition 34 was initiated to abolish the death penalty in California.
The FDSA was against Prop 34, along with PORAC and many other public safety groups. We hosted one of a dozen statewide press conferences outlining our concerns with this measure. Our position was simple – 47 cop killers were sitting on death row- of the 700 waiting for their fate to be determined. While many of the other inmates on death row are responsible for inhumane and unspeakable crimes- we are especially concerned about those cold blooded killers who have taken the lives of law enforcement officers.  

Prop 34 was defeated- in the sense that the public did not want to abolish the California death penalty. Now, the remedy is to fix it.”
The remedy is Proposition 66 – put together by the District Attorneys Association. Funding has primarily come from law enforcement groups throughout the State of California. Millions of dollars of tax payer dollars could be saved each year, by fixing the broken death penalty system. This money could be far better put to use on improvements to public safety, instead of housing, securing and feeding these killers. 

During the NO on 34 campaign in 2012- of the over 700 inmates on death row- 47 were “cop killers.” Today there are 39 “cop killers,” still sitting there. The voters spoke at the ballot box in 2012, so now is the time to fix this problem. Below is a summary of what the ballot initiative is going to focus on: 

  • Changes procedures governing state court appeals and petitions challenging death penalty convictions and sentences.
  • Designates superior court for initial petitions and limits successive petitions.
  • Establishes time frame for state court death penalty review.Requires appointed attorneys who take noncapital appeals to accept death penalty appeals.
  • Exempts prison officials from existing regulation process for developing execution methods.
  • Authorizes death row inmate transfers among California prisons.
  • Increases portion of condemned inmates’ wages that may be applied to victim restitution.
  • States other voter approved measures related to death penalty are void if this measure receives more affirmative votes. 

The No on 62 campaign is tied hand in hand with the Yes on 66. To be clear, we support death penalty reform NOT the abolishment of the death penalty completely. The yes on 62 campaign in being ran primarily by the ACLU/NAACP who want to abolish the death penalty completely. 

The stance from law enforcement is the deterrent factor of the death penalty provides additional protection of officers. We believe there is a direct correlation with mindset of criminals, when the public is aware they are eligible for capital punishment if an officer is killed in the line of duty. Currently, a first degree murder charge against a law enforcement officer holds a special circumstance to allow for sentencing to death. 

A new study in California revealed that the cost of the death penalty has been over $4 billion dollars since 1978. Since 1976, only 13 people have been put to death in California, compared to close to 700 in the State of Texas. The study considered pre-trial and trial costs, costs of automatic appeals, state habeas corpus petitions, costs of federal habeas corpus appeals, and the costs of incarceration on death row. (Alarcon & Mitchell, 2011).

Below is an article that was published in the Los Angeles Times on June 5, 2012. It is about the sentencing of Earl Ellis Green- a man who was found guilty in the senseless execution style killing of Officer Ryan Bonaminio in November 2010. 

Riverside jurors ordered the death penalty Tuesday for Earl Ellis Green, who was convicted of fatally shooting Riverside Police Officer Ryan Bonaminio at point-blank range as the officer pleaded for his life.
After 3 1/2 hours of deliberations, the panel returned the decision, agreeing with prosecutors who argued that the penalty should fit the crime. The 46-year-old convicted felon, who was on parole at the time of the November 2010 killing, smiled as the jury announced the verdict, witnesses said.

"We are pleased with this verdict and the hard work done by this jury," Dist. Atty. Paul Zellerbach said. "This case is a perfect example — the murder of a peace officer in the line of duty — why we need the death penalty and why it needs to be carried out."
He said the death penalty was supported by the facts: "The officer was already rendered pretty much helpless, unconscious and defenseless when he was executed with his own gun."

Despite the guilty verdict and death penalty decision by the jury, Bonaminio's family said that nothing will bring back the officer, who was killed in a church parking lot after Green led Bonaminio on a foot chase through Riverside's Fairmount Park.
Green, who remains in custody with no bail, is scheduled to return to the Hall of Justice in Riverside on June 25 to be sentenced by Judge Jean Leonard. He was found guilty last month of first-degree murder with special circumstances that made him subject to the death penalty.

During the trial, defense attorneys acknowledged that Green fired the shots that killed Bonaminio, but sought a conviction on a lesser charge that would not carry the death penalty.

Stephen J. McQueen, a homeless man who volunteered at the church, told the jury he saw the shooting unfold as he smoked a cigarette in the parking lot. Bonaminio, hands up, told the killer, "Don't do it. Don't do it," McQueen testified.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Michael Hestrin said during the trial that Green's first two shots missed the officer. Green then walked up to Bonaminio, who was on his knees, and fired at the back of the officer's head from a foot or so away, Hestrin said.

"His life and blood poured out of him," Hestrin told the jury. "He died there, on the cold and dirty asphalt."

Another pertinent illustration appeared in the NBC Bay Area News in 2010. It was published after the sentencing of Alberto Alvarez, who was punished to death for the killing of Officer Richard May. 

A San Mateo County Superior Court judge sentenced  26-year-old Alberto Alvarez to death by lethal injection for killing East  Palo Alto police Officer Richard May in 2006.

"The circumstances of the murder were particularly savage and brutal," Judge Craig Parsons said before imposing the sentence. "Death is warranted."
Alvarez's case will be automatically appealed to the state Supreme Court, as is every death penalty case in California.  Legal experts say the appeals will take at least 25 years.
Scott Peterson was the last person to be sentenced to death in San Mateo County Superior Court after he was found guilty in 2004 of murdering his wife Laci and their unborn child.
Alvarez, who was found guilty in November of first-degree murder with the special circumstance of killing a peace officer for the execution-style shooting of May, showed no emotion and declined to make a statement at this morning's sentencing.
Had Judge Craig Parsons not condemned Alvarez to death, he would have faced life in prison without the chance of parole.
May was killed the afternoon of Jan. 7, 2006, after he responded to a report of a fight at a taqueria on University Avenue in East Palo Alto.

He had followed Alvarez from the area of the taqueria to nearby Weeks Street, where the two exchanged gunfire. May was hit and fell to the ground.
Alvarez then fired two additional shots at May, including a fatal shot to the head.
When testifying in the trial, Alvarez claimed he shot May in self-defense.
Parsons ordered Alvarez to be transferred to death row at San Quentin State Prison within 10 days.
Alvarez's defense attorney Eric Liberman said outside the courtroom that his client "seems to be holding up all right."

"He's always been remorseful for the hurt and damage he's inflicted," Liberman said. "The very night this happened, he called people and expressed he had done something that would alter his life forever."

May's wife Diana May said after the sentencing that she doesn't believe Alvarez has ever shown any remorse.

"I don't think he is capable of feeling what a normal person does," she said. "He doesn't have a conscience."
May's stepfather Frank Merrill said he hopes Alvarez will "take responsibility for what he's done."
"Unfortunately his death will be humane, unlike May who had to look down the barrel of a gun," Merrill said.

"This is a message in San Mateo County that when you execute a police officer, you get the maximum punishment," prosecuting attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

I hope these articles illustrate the brutal and senseless killings of law enforcement officers in the State of California. The district attorneys who tirelessly work to get these convictions have put countless hours into these cases. Their push to seek death as a punishment must be respected by the public for these convicted people. There will be more to come regarding these two initiatives, but this provides you with an overview.

Please stay safe in your job assignments and take care of one another. 


Truly,

-Eric
A memo from our law firm, Messing, Adam and Jasmine
Another attack on our pensions in the world of pension attacks. The firm is handling it first hand in the County of Marin so I have been briefed on these events as they build up.  This decision is significant enough to let the membership know that there is once again another shot at your pension plan.  As more comes in I will report it out.

http://www.laborbeatblog.com/?p=560

A Message from the President, July 2016
This summer has been a sobering reminder of the deadly dangers of law enforcement and the growing movement against officers in some communities.

The recent tragic events that unfolded in Dallas and Baton Rouge targeting of police officers has been a sad reality of the new threat facing those in uniform across the nation. The unpredictable ambush attacks show us that some of the very citizens, who we are sworn to protect and serve, can be the unforeseeable dangers, armed with not only ammunition, but a plan that’s well plotted out.

During times like this, we also see the best in people. The “Thin Blue Line” rally last weekend in Woodward Park was a gesture of gratitude by those who support and appreciate law enforcement in the Central Valley. In the last months, our substations have been blanketed with huge signs from community members showing their support of deputies. Many citizens have also been stopping those on patrol to thank them for their service- or buying them a coffee. The kindness has even prompted some Fresno County residents to ask to pray with and for deputies. These moments remind us that we live in a great community, where a large majority of the people we serve care about the challenges we face each day and our constant efforts to keep them safe.

The risks in this profession are high. The statistics throughout the nation remind us that a police officer is killed in the line of duty every 63 hours.

We pray for the families of the officers killed in Dallas and Baton Rouge. Their painful reality is just now beginning to set in. We already know that each shift provides no guarantees. These are sobering reminders. Dangers are real and often times, unknown until it’s too late. Thank you for the work you all do and continue to keep one another safe and secure.


Dallas
One of the tragic side effects of a high profile mass attack is that the perpetrators can end up getting more attention than the victims. This was the case in Orlando, and also with the ambush attack in Dallas.

Much of media coverage dominates the question many wonder…how could someone carry out such horrific deeds? They must be insane; it cannot be a “rational” action. Many would agree the alleged Dallas gunman, Micah Johnson, had several deep seeded issues.

According to the Washington Times, ‘The shooter who killed five Dallas police officers and wounded others last week wrote messages on the wall in his own blood and openly laughed at responding officers shortly before he was killed, the city’s police chief said Sunday, adding that investigators still are working to determine exactly what those messages mean.’
Dallas Police Chief David Brown told CNN’s “State of the Union” that Micah Johnson, who opened fire during a Black Lives Matter protest Thursday night and said he intended to kill white police officers, scrawled phrases on the wall of the building from which he carried out his attack.

This killer obviously had some delusion,” Chief Brown said. “At the scene where he was killed, he wrote some lettering in blood on the walls, which leads us to believe he was wounded on the way up the stairwell to the second floor of the El Centro building, where we detonated the device to end the standoff. There was more lettering written in his own blood. We are trying to decipher that.”
Mr. Brown said the initials “RB” were written in blood in the wall, along with other lettering. He said authorities still are working to determine what those messages mean.

The police chief also said Johnson, 25, intended to carry out other attacks, including using homemade bombs to target police officers in what he viewed as payback for their unfair treatment of black Americans.
We’re convinced this suspect had other plans and thought that what he was doing was righteous,” Chief Brown said.
Chief Brown also defended his decision to use a bomb-carrying robot to kill Johnson and end the violence. He said he felt he had little choice after negotiations with the shooter — who would only talk to a black police negotiator — went nowhere.

He was just basically lying to us, playing games, singing, asking how many did he get, saying he wanted to kill some more and there were bombs there,” ChiefBrown said. “There was no progress on the negotiation.”
The chief also said he personally approved using the robot to end the incident and added, “I’ll do it again if presented with the same circumstances.
Let us pray these same circumstances never present themselves again. Unfortunately, at the rate we’re going, that seems sadly unlikely.


FIREARMS LEGISLATION 2016
Each year, I field calls from both active and retired FDSA members about different firearms legislation that come up for legislative reform, abolishment, or enactment.

PORAC and our lobbyists from Aaron Read and Associates, consistently battle the laws that would directly affect both active and retired law enforcement in a negative way. About four years ago, there was a big movement to drive home the fact, that just because you are a former law enforcement officer, your training and skills can still be used, if necessary- in a bad situation.

PORAC’s stance, and the direction from the PORAC Board of Directors, has been to include our law enforcement retirees into the conversation regarding these different firearms laws/legislation. Although, we continually fight for ALL active & retired law enforcement officers, we are often reminded by the legislators in the Assembly and Senate - when we remove our badges, and retire, we are considered civilians. So we can add retirees when we can to certain legislation to ensure we still keep the once officer, now retired safe and protected.

Below are some highlights from 2016. Please review the highlighted sections in regarding to active and retired law enforcement.


SIGNED BY GOVERNOR
AB 1135 (Levine) – Firearms: assault weapons.
This bill redefines “assault weapon” to include a firearm with a detachable magazine that can be removed readily with the use of a tool.

This bill requires that owners of these newly defined “assault weapons,” prior to January 1, 2017, to register the firearm online at DOJ. There will be a fee of up to, but no more than, $15 to register the firearm.


AB 1511 (Santiago) – Firearms: lending.
This bill specifies that the infrequent loan of a firearm may only be made to family members.

“Family members” is defined as spouses/registered domestic partners, parents, children, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren; whether related by blood, adoption or a step-relation.

Under current law an “infrequent loan” for purposes of handguns is defined as “less than six transactions per calendar year.” An infrequent loan for purposes of firearms, other than handguns, is defined as “occasional and without regularity.”


AB 1695 (Bonta) – Firearms: false reports of stolen firearms.

Expands the existing misdemeanor of making a false report to law enforcement to include that a firearm has been lost or stolen.

Institutes a ten year ban on owning a firearm for those convicted of making a false report.


SB 880 (Hall) – Firearms: assault weapons.
Same language as AB 1135


SB 1235 (De Leon) – Ammunition.
This bill creates a new regulatory framework for the purchase and sale of ammunition in California.

This bill mandates that all ammunition must be purchased through an “ammunition vendor.”

Requires all persons purchasing ammunition from an ammunition vendor be cleared through the Department of Justice Automated Firearm System (DOJ AFS).

States that all active and retired peace officers are not subject to the ammunition purchase requirements.


SB 1446 (Hancock) – Firearms: magazine capacity.

Prohibits the possession of large capacity-magazines (more than ten rounds).

Makes it an infraction, commencing July 1, 2017 for any person who possesses a large-capacity magazine. Punishable as follows:

First offense - $100

Second offense - $250

Third or subsequent offense - $500

Requires a person who legally possesses a large capacity magazine prior to July 1, 2017 to dispose of that magazine by any of the following means:

Remove the large-capacity magazine from the state;

Prior to July 1, 2017, sell the large-capacity magazine to a licensed firearms dealer

Destroy the large-capacity magazine

Surrender the large-capacity magazine to a law enforcement agency for destruction.

This bill exempts all active and retired peace officers.


VETOED BY GOVERNOR
***Please pay close attention to how Governor Brown is continuing to tie our hands to hold criminals accountable and limit justice for victims.***

AB 1176 (Cooper) – Theft: firearms.
Would reverse Proposition 47 to make theft of a firearm “grand theft,” punishable as a felony.


AB 1673 (Gipson) – Firearms: unfinished frame or receiver.
Expands the definition of “firearm” to include the frame or receiver of the weapon that is designed and clearly identifiable as a component of a functional weapon.

Includes “unfinished frames and receivers” and treats them the same way a finished receiver is treated.

Requires background checks in order for the unfinished parts to be sold and prohibits them from being possessed by individuals on the prohibited list.

Requires mandatory serial number application.


AB 1674 (Santiago) – Firearms: transfers.

Prohibits any person from making an application to purchase more than one long gun within any 30 day period.


AB 2607 (Ting) – Firearm restraining orders.
Expands the individuals who are eligible to petition for a gun violence restraining order (GVRO).

Allows an employer, co-worker, mental health worker, an employee of a secondary or post-secondary school to file a petition requesting that the court issue an ex parte GVRO enjoining a person from owning, possessing or purchasing a firearm or ammunition.


SB 894 (Jackson) – Firearms: lost or stolen: reports.
Requires that owners and possessors of firearms report the theft or loss of a firearm to local law enforcement within five days of the time they knew or reasonable should have known that the firearm had been stolen or lost.

Last week, we debuted our newly designed FDSA T-shirts and baseball caps. They both have the ‘thin blue line’ flag on them and are available at the FDSA headquarters. The hats are digital camo with the flag and already very popular items. If you would like to see them, just log on to our website www.fresnodsa.org

Again, thank you for your tireless work, having each other’s back and staying positive during some discouraging nationwide trends.


Truly,

Eric
A Message from the President, June 2016
Bargaining Rumors
The FDSA has not started talks with the County of Fresno about a successor Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for members of Unit 1. 

However, in preparation for the bargaining process, we utilized “Survey Monkey” to see what the top priorities are for FDSA members. Thank you each of you who took part in the process- the results will be useful and utilized throughout the process.  

As always, the FDSA is diligent when bargaining and will bring the last, best and final offer to the FDSA Board of Directors for initial approval. Then, the membership will have the final ratification of the MOU. Please be patient with the process. Sometimes it is grueling and long. A meeting will be held once we reach the point of ratifying the contract.  

For those unfamiliar with the process, or in need of a refresher, the FDSA Board of Directors gives the first approval on what we consider an “agreement.” The FDSA Board is the bargaining team for the FDSA. We utilize our law firm, Messing, Adam, & Jasmine- as our chief negotiator at the actual bargaining table. However, the Board is briefed after each session about how things are going, and what direction they would like to take as we move ahead with getting a deal. 

In 2011, we changed this procedure, taking FDSA bargaining team from a small committee of people to the full FDSA Board of Directors. Our current procedure is that elected board members will be voting either yes or no on the successor MOU, before bringing it to our membership. 


Oakland Police Department
I have attached an article from CNN to provide information about what is happening to law enforcement within the City of Oakland. 

As many of you may be aware, Oakland PD has been under a federal decree for the past 13 years, as terms of a settlement over a police misconduct case.

The article below points out many problems within Oakland PD. The newly elected Oakland Mayor has tried to make some positive changes over the last several weeks – with no result.  

CNN News
By Catherine E. Shoichet, Steve Almasy and Mayra Cuevas
June 20, 2016 11:12AM

3 Chiefs in 9 days: Scandals plague police in Oakland, California

Mayor Libby Schaaf's harsh words made her frustration clear.

"I am here to run a police department," she said, "not a frat house."

Schaaf's city, Oakland, California, has cycled through three police chiefs in less than two weeks as the department faces a rapidly spiraling controversy that shows no signs of slowing.

The shakeup started with a sex scandal. And as she stepped to the podium Friday, Schaaf told reporters she had more bad news to share.

The latest twist: an investigation into racist text messages.

That, Schaaf said, made her decide to hold off on appointing another interim top cop.

"I feel that this is an appropriate time to place civilian oversight over this police department," she said, "and to send a very clear message about how serious we are, of not tolerating misconduct, unethical behavior, and to root out what is clearly a toxic, macho culture.

Since June 9, three police chiefs have been fired or resigned.

The police union didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. And authorities have been tight-lipped about the changes at the helm. Schaaf told reporters she's constrained by California laws that stop her from speaking out on personnel issues.

"I have not been able to share the full story, because I may not under state law," the mayor said. With the beleaguered department of 745 officers in a city of more than 400,000 people now under civilian control, here's what we know so far about the allegations it's facing:


Allegation: Sex scandal involved a number of officers
It all started last fall with an officer's suicide. Officials say an investigation into his death uncovered disturbing allegations.

Within months, an 18-year-old alleged she had sex with him, as well as with a number of other officers from the Oakland Police Department and officers from nearby jurisdictions.

The 18-year-old, who describes herself as a former prostitute and goes by the pseudonym Celeste Guac, told CNN's Nick Valencia on Sunday that she has a message for people following the controversial case.

"There's people saying that I wanted this to happen, that I screwed over all these cops on purpose, that it was me who put it out there and stuff," she said. "As long as people know that I didn't want this to happen."

It all started, she said, when she was 17 years old and became romantically involved with an officer who saved her from her pimp. That officer, she said, introduced her to other cops who became customers.

Details are still emerging about the case, and no charges have been filed.

A group of demonstrators protested outside police headquarters in Oakland on Friday. Two climbed flagpoles to hang a banner that read: "OPD guilty of: human trafficking and statutory rape." The mayor has slammed the situation, while providing few details.

"We continue to be disgusted and outraged by the idea that anyone could abuse an underage victim of sexual exploitation -- particularly those who have sworn to uphold the law and protect our communities," Schaaf said last week. "We are sickened to think anyone could even know of such abuse and not bring that information forward."


Allegation: Officers sent racist text messages
When Schaaf announced the investigation into racist text messages, she said she couldn't specify how many officers sent them, what they said or when the messages were sent.

"We do think it's relevant to share that the text messages were sent by African-American officers, but they are wholly inappropriate and not acceptable from anyone who wears the badge of the Oakland Police Department," she said. "This investigation should be concluded within a matter of days, perhaps a week or two, and I will not share any additional information, because I do not want to compromise our ability to seek the maximum punishment available for these alleged acts."

One officer already has been placed on leave in connection with the investigation, she said.

We are hell-bent on rooting out this disgusting culture and holding those accountable responsible for their misdeeds.


Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf
The mayor said the number of officers involved in the racist text messages scandal was not as widespread as the sex scandal. The two scandals aren't related, she said.

She laughed when a reporter asked if any other police officials would be let go.

"I'm hoping to not have to fire anyone else anytime soon, but we will continue to take this matter extremely seriously," she said.


Feds already monitor department

This isn't the first time police in Oakland have come under scrutiny. The department has been under federal monitoring since 2003 as part of a settlement in a police misconduct case.

A visibly disheartened Schaaf said Friday that the police department has made progress and that it was a shame many good officers were being tainted by the scandals.

"The good men and women of the Oakland Police Department do not deserve to have their good work, their progress in making this city safer and implementing progressive reforms, marred by this scandal," she said. "I want to assure the citizens of Oakland that we are hell-bent on rooting out this disgusting culture and holding those accountable responsible for their misdeeds."

Without a police chief at the helm, Oakland City Administrator Sabrina Landreth will be responsible for administrative and personnel decisions, the mayor said. Oakland police commanders will make operations decisions.

But more oversight might be necessary; Oakland City Councilman Noel Gallo told CNN affiliate KRON. "We may have to go to complete federal oversight of our police department," he said.

City Council President Lynette Gibson McElhaney told CNN affiliate KGO that she's trying to keep the mounting allegations in perspective.

"I still believe the vast majority of our officers serve with integrity and honor in a very difficult climate," she said. "For me, it's been difficult to think, how do we recruit at a time like this?"


Preferred Staffing Lowered
 

Last week, I sent out the message to FDSA members that we are taking the preferred staffing numbers back to the recession levels. The move is due to complete burn out from our deputies. The Mandatory Overtime or MOT, will be filled to maintain safety to those patrolling the streets. Voluntary Overtime, or VOT will be allowed to keep us above preferred levels if that is what the deputies wish to work. Once our trainees complete their training program, and we continue to hire additional deputies, Captain Gularte and I will re-evaluate staffing levels to bring them back up. Our hope is we can have a change by the first part of October, or near shift change at minimum. I  appreciate the work you all are doing – in each of the assignments you have within this organization. We all have to work together to serve the public. 

Below is the letter sent to the membership last week. 

June 28, 2016
FDSA Membership,
During our last FDSA Board meeting, June 1, 2016, we discussed at length, taking over Parlier Police Department’s law enforcement responsibilities – while we are continuing to have a rise of MOT in our own patrol shifts. This is continuing to put a strain on our deputies. Adding the extra work load - will just enhance this strain. 
FDSA Board voted to do the following (See language below) if/when we take over the police duties within the City of Parlier. 

COVERAGE FOR PARLIER STAFFING

In recognition of the increased workload that may be necessitated by the Fresno Sheriff’s Office imminent assumption, of patrol duties in the City of Parlier, the undersigned agree to the following:
  • All four Areas and each shift will return to recession staffing levels for purposes of Mandatory Overtime shifts.  This means that there shall be no less than four deputies on each shift in each area.
    • Contract policing will continue to be filled outside of the count of four – meaning those shifts will still be filled on MOT if there is not a VOT to fill, and there are four deputies already in the area. 
  • K9 deputies will count toward staffing levels only if that results in eliminating a Mandatory Overtime shift.  
  • These changes will go into effect on July 4, 2016, with a review and meet and confer – involving the Sheriff and the DSA – beginning October 1, 2016.
  • All other shifts will remain the same as far as staffing for Voluntary Overtime shifts to help each area and each shift try and stay above the four deputy minimum. 

Example: There will be a four deputy minimum for Area 2 Watch 2, but the schedule can include 6 or 7 deputy shifts based on the current staffing agreement approved in October 2015 between FDSA and Sheriff.  Any shifts above the four preferred will be available for Voluntary Overtime signup and deputies will see that availability via Telestaff.  

Based on continuous staffing concerns and the volume of MOT everyone is working, we have agreed with Sheriff’s Management to start this “Recession Level,” preferred staffing sooner, rather than waiting to see what the Parlier Police Department’s future holds.  
We feel this will ease some of the burden when filling these MOT shifts, while still providing as much safety as possible to the deputies. Sheriff’s Management and FDSA will reconvene on this issue come October 1, 2016 to discuss impacts, see where staffing is, and decide if this agreement should be continued or terminated. 
In the meantime, continue to sign up for VOT shifts in the areas with the vacancies. 
Thank you for all your hard work and service to the public. We are all in this together to provide the best service to the public we all serve.
Be safe and take care of one another out there.


Eric
A Message from the President, May 2016
Remembering Service and Sacrifice
To commemorate Peace Officer Memorial month, several Fresno County Sheriff's Deputies attended events honoring fallen officers locally, statewide and nationally. This year, two deputies made the trip to the nation's capital.

Deputy Edward Mayo attended all three events in May. During the Courthouse Park ceremony he was part of the Honor Guard as the Sheriff's Office bagpiper.

He wrote about the Washington DC Peace Officer Memorial event held on Sunday, May 15, 2016. The following are his memoirs:

In 2016, I was fortunate to be able to attend not only the Fresno County, State of California, and National Peace Officers Ceremonies. Each ceremony and the events surrounding them are held annually to commemorate those that have lost their lives in the line of duty.
The Fresno County Peace Officers Memorial Ceremony is attended by family members of the fallen whose names are etched on the granite walls in Courthouse Park. In 2016 no names were added to the Fresno County Peace Officers Memorial. Hundreds of law enforcement personnel from multiple local Law Enforcement Agencies attended this event to recognize those whose lives were taken while protecting the communities in the County of Fresno.
The California State Peace Officers Memorial Ceremony was held in Sacramento on Monday, May 2. Four names of Officers who died in 2015 and one from the recent past were added to the California Memorial this year. On Sunday evening, May 1, a candlelight vigil was held at the California Memorial. A group of bagpipers led a procession of Law Enforcement Officers, families and friends from the hosting hotel through the streets of Sacramento to the Memorial walls.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Ceremony is held annually on May 15, a day dedicated in 1962 to recognize those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others. National Police Week coincides with National Peace Officer Memorial Day. Several events are held throughout the week in and around Washington D.C. to pay homage to those that had their lives taken in the line of duty.

From the moment we arrived, the size and scope of this event became clear. Agencies from all across the United States sent groups of Officers and Deputies to Washington D.C. Many agencies brought motorcycles and other vehicles to the D.C. area to show their respects. Marked units and motorcycles from as far away as California, Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, and countless other states could be seen as you walked from location to location.
On Friday night, May 13, we attended the candlelight vigil. This event was held on the National Mall near the U.S. Capitol. The sheer magnitude of this event cannot be described in words alone. Thousands of people stood silently in the cool evening air while dignitaries spoke, pipers played, speakers shared their stories, and singers paid their tributes.

Brenda Donner, the National President of Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), was the Keynote Speaker. As she spoke, candles were lit in honor of the 252 Law Enforcement Officers whose lives were added to the National Memorial in 2016. It started with a single candle being lit and the flame being passed along from candle to candle until the entire area was awash in candle light. The single flames spread across the crowd bringing everyone together in remembrance of the lives that were lost.
On Saturday, May 14, pipers from across the nation played as they marched to the National Peace Officers Memorial. Honor Guards and uniformed personnel from various agencies quietly paid their respects as the parade wound through the streets of Washington D.C. Also in the parade were several antique and vintage vehicles from various Law Enforcement Agencies throughout the country. A ceremony was held at the National Memorial by the Fraternal Order of Police after the parade.
National Peace Officer Memorial Day falls on May 15 every year. The ceremony this year was held on the steps of the Capitol building. As far as you could see in any direction you looked, uniformed personnel and Honor Guard members stood in quiet remembrance of the men and women who were enshrined on the National Peace Officers Memorial.
The camaraderie and brotherhood we felt during these events was something everyone in Law Enforcement should be able to experience. From the local ceremony held in Courthouse Park in Fresno, through the State Ceremony in Sacramento, to the multiple events in Washington D.C., the sense of community and belonging only grew stronger. With every show of support, we were met with people who knew why we were there. Not once was there a time when there wasn’t a sense of purpose.

Along the walls of the National Peace Officers Memorial people stood in quiet remembrance and looked upon the name, or names, of those they were there to pay respect to. Couples held hands. Parents hugged their children. Families grieved their loss. People left tokens to show their support and love near the names of those they had lost. Agency patches, lapel pins, photographs, single flowers, ribbons, even bottles of a Loved One’s beverage of choice were left to honor those being remembered. Large wreaths, personal stories, and even patrol car doors signed by friends and co-workers lined the area above the Memorial.
Countless ways to remember and pay homage to those that have fallen could be seen. People wore shirts with names, badge numbers, and agencies of their comrades. Every badge we saw was covered with a black swathe.
We heard stories of how people visiting Washington D.C. with no prior knowledge of the events of National Police Week would ask an Officer or Deputy to pose for a photograph. Stories of people from across the nation and from other countries thanking us for the job we do and expressing their condolences for the losses suffered. We met a man who asked us to sign the hood of his Camaro along with hundreds of other people to show support. He said this was the sixth hood he has had people sign, each going to a fallen Officer commemorated in the graphic on the paint.
These memorials, and countless others, are held annually in remembrance of those we have lost. If you have not yet experienced any of these events, take the time next year to pay your respects locally or on the State or National level. Each Ceremony is a humbling reminder of the sacrifices our brothers and sisters have made while protecting the communities we all serve.

I really want to thank the FDSA for the continuous support they give the fallen officers in the State of California and the co-workers of our own fallen deputies. I will forever be grateful for what they do.

Victory for San Jose Police Officers

Officers battling pension reform in one Bay Area city are making major headway in their efforts to halt this movement.

In 2012, voters approved Measure B, which would have crippled the pension system within the City of San Jose.

Since then, San Jose POA has challenged the Measure calling it “misleading to the voters,” and a breach of contract. SJPOA has been victorious in court by overturning the measure. The final step was taken by San Jose City Council- to reverse the damages and effects the measure would have to both retirees and active employees.

This measure was led by then- City of San Jose Mayor, Chuck Reed. He is also leading the charge behind a statewide pension initiative planned for the 2018 ballot. The article below, taken from the San Jose Mercury News, illustrates the positive results when government and labor work together to reach common ground, so extreme measures do not have to be taken.


San Jose: Council takes final step to repeal Measure B
City leaders took a final vote Tuesday to nullify Measure B, the divisive pension reform initiative aimed at curbing runaway city retirement costs that critics say led to an exodus of City Hall employees and police officers.

The council approved the action Tuesday in a 10-1 vote, to the praise of union leaders who said it represents a new chapter for the city.

"Measure B should have never been on the ballot in the first place," said Gregg Adam, an attorney for the San Jose Police Officers' Association.

Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio was opposed.

"Voters overwhelmingly passed pension reform," he said, "and voters should be the ones to change it."

Former Councilman Pete Constant, who along with Oliverio had supported Measure B, agreed and criticized the council's vote as a backroom deal meant to confuse and mislead voters.

"I truly believe this council is trying to keep the public in the dark about what these actions really mean," Constant said.

Constant, along with the Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association and businessman Charles Munger, Jr., have legally challenged the city's quest to repeal Measure B through a court proceeding. After reaching settlements with the city's 11 employee unions last year, the City Council asked a judge to overturn the pension reform measure on a technicality -- that city leaders didn't bargain fully with unions before putting the measure out to voters. The city plans to replace it with ordinances to implement the settlement it reached with unions.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Beth McGowen in two separate rulings sided with the city by denying Constant's push to intervene in the process. Voters in November will vote on provisions to prevent future pension increases, but not the settlement itself -- a point Constant says hasn't been clearly communicated by Mayor Sam Liccardo, who championed pension reform in 2012.

Constant and his group filed an appeal earlier this month, as well as court papers challenging McGowen's decision and asking for a new trial. Another hearing is set for May 17.

But the city didn't wait for another court hearing to take action Tuesday to declare the resolution that put Measure B on the ballot "null and void due to a procedural defect." The council placed the action on Tuesday's agenda late Friday afternoon -- forgoing the standard 10-day notice required by the city's "sunshine" ordinance.

Although it's a ceremonial step prompted by McGowen's court order, it reflects the final step in overturning Measure B.

Adam said Constant's appeal has "no merit" and he's confident another judge will side with the city and unions.

"They just want to prevent us from moving forward," Adam said.


2016 Primary Elections
We are all greatly impacted by the choices made by the Fresno County Board of Supervisors. Please remember to cast your ballot on Tuesday, June 7th, 2016.

The FDSA has interviewed each of the candidates vying to take the open seats in District 5 and District 3.

We are supporting Nathan Magsig for District 5. He is running for the elected position currently occupied by Debbie Poochigian. Nathan is a proven advocate for law enforcement and will take Fresno County to the next level.

The FDSA is also backing Sal Quintero, to replace our friend and outgoing Supervisor Henry R. Perea. The District 3 seat will be vacated by Perea- who is seeking the office of Mayor for the City of Fresno.

For our members who live in the City of Fresno – Supervisor Perea is a candidate who has the vision and experience to accomplish great things for Fresno. He is an out of the box thinker, who weighs all options- and isn't afraid to try new and innovative ideas. However, he also has a bit of old school ingrained in him, which creates a nice balance.

As summer approaches, and temperatures and sometimes tempers rise, please remember we are all in this together. Take care of your beat, your partners and the community we serve.


Truly,

Eric
A Message from the President, April 2016
Fighting 'Fishing Expeditions' and Protecting Personnel Files

In my February message, I briefed you on SB 1286, introduced by Senator Leno. This bill is aimed at attacking law enforcement by making currently confidential personnel files public, and more easily accessible. The bill is rather unnecessary because under existing law, police personnel files in can be made accessible in appropriate cases, with safeguards in place. Under this bill, “fishing expeditions,” by criminal defendants and their attorneys would be allowed. Not only would this further erode the low morale of officers statewide, it would cripple the trust the public has in its law enforcement communities. State law protects all public employees by ensuring the disciplinary process is not a public spectacle.

California’s existing Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights (POBAR) is designed to protect officers from unreasonable investigation and persecution. This was signed into law by then Governor Brown in 1977. The law provides that peace officer personnel records and records pertaining to complaints against them are private. These records are confidential and disclosable only through discover procedures by the defense. The exceptions that allow records to be disclosed for investigations or proceedings (concerning peace officer conduct) are those requested by a grand jury, DA’s office, or Attorney General’s Office.

Those who are promoting the SB 1286 agenda would upend a carefully crafted mechanism that existing law allows- accessing peace officer personnel files. We know the current procedure as a “Pitchess Motion,” which requires a judge to determine if personnel records are relevant to a pending case and whether they should be disclosed. The Legislature set up the current system specifically to limit these deep probes into officers’ personnel files by criminal defendants.

Today, we have the ACLU and Senator Mark Leno who are pushing legislation that would greatly expand the exceptions. They are pushing for access which would apply to investigations or proceedings conducted by civilian review agencies, the inspector general, personnel boards, police and civil service commissions, city councils, board of supervisors and other agencies. This would make police personnel records publically available and records relating to sustained complaints against them.

Ironically, just last year, Senator Leno was the author of SB178. This bill not only barred police access to electronic devices of suspects without a court order, but- it went beyond the US Supreme Court ruling of Riley v. California by severely restricting when and how police would be able to access those devices. Senator Leno was asked why SB 178 was necessary and his response was, “In Sacramento, privacy is not a partisan issue, it’s a constitutional issue.”

We cannot support these types of attempts by career politicians such as Senator Leno. We find Senator Leno and the ACLU cheering for Apple as they refuse to unlock the cell phone of a terrorist in San Bernardino who murdered 14 innocent people, yet advocate to strip the privacy from those who are sworn to protect the citizens of California.

FDSA and PORAC are tirelessly lobbying against the passage of SB 1286. We cannot let your exposure be a spectacle to those being held accountable under the State constitution.

I will continue to keep all of you updated on the developing interests of this bill.


Peace Officer Memorial 2016

I would like to remind all of you about the 2016 Peace Officer Memorial ceremony held on Thursday, May 5th in Courthouse Park. This is a meaningful way to remember our local law enforcement officers who have who died in the line of duty- and those who died this past year throughout California. Lunch will be served immediately following the ceremony.

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors honored Peace Officer Memorial week during their April 26thboard meeting. This annual acknowledgment by county leaders recognizes the service and sacrifice of those fallen deputies who have died in service to the people of Fresno County.

Also on May 5th, the FDSA will be hosting an event to honor the families of our fallen deputies. The 5thannual event will be held at the FDSA building. All Sheriff Personnel are invited to attend, along with those generous sponsors who support our Peace Officer Memorial Fund.

This event also serves to thank those who graciously donate to the FDSA Peace Officer Memorial Golf Tournament. The event is supported by the FDSA and Brenda D. Lavell of 3 Sisters Ranch. She has been a huge supporter of our cause from the time we started the Peace Officer Memorial Fund.

This year, ten deputies were selected to attend the Peace Officer Memorial in Sacramento. I hope the candlelight vigil was an experience you will remember, and want to attend in future years. It is very important for our organization to support the families of the fallen officers who have been killed in the line of duty- this year and every year before.


Health Insurance Update
 
I wanted to give everyone an update as to how our health insurance is performing. We made some changes to the 2016 plan year. During the last board meeting on April 6, 2016, I updated the FDSA Board of Directors and membership about our current performance.

Just to remind our members, in 2015 we had a great year based on a low “experience,” with Blue Shield. This coupled with an increase from the County of Fresno toward our contribution; we ended up with roughly a 9% plan decrease. This helped lower our rate and ultimately reduced membership health care costs.

The amount of increase or decrease in our health care plan depends on a variety of issues. First, is an increase in county contributions- to offset our total out-of-pocket cost. Second, is an increase or decrease in our usage. Historically, we want to be around a 75% usage- to ensure we have an easy, on par, renewal. Once we start exceeding that will almost be an increase for the upcoming plan year. Anything below that will help us reduce cost and put more money back into the members’ pocket.

The Insurance and Benefits Trust (IBTF) also introduced a high deductible plan to our menu of options. This is in addition to the basic PPO and HMO plans currently offered.

Please remember, the ‘out of control costs’ that we must pay are those associated with the Affordable Care Act. These costs have now impacted our plan significantly- to the tune of currently about 18% of costs we incur.

Our insurance broker, Dibuduo and Defendis is continuing to share information and options with us about our health plan. They are giving us details about costs and any programs we can take advantage of to help lower overall costs of the plan. Their performance over the years, and during the impacts of Obamacare has been extremely important to reduce the cost of the insurance plan.
 

In Conclusion

The month of May is an important one for this organization and the Sheriff’s Office. Not only do we honor those officers killed in the line of duty during Peace Officer Memorial week – we honor two of our own who paid the ultimate price protecting the citizens of Fresno County. Deputy Dennis Phelps and Deputy Josh Lancaster lost their lives almost a year apart. Take the time to remember, say a prayer and never forget these men who donned the same uniform as all of us here.

Take care of one another wherever your job assignment is.

Eric
A Message from the President, March 2016
Death Penalty Initiative
As many of you know, PORAC is part of a growing list of various law enforcement and safety related groups who are supporting efforts to quality a ballot initiative designed to correct flaws in the death penalty system in California. The group pushing for a united effort includes: elected District Attorneys, law enforcement groups, DA associations, firefighters associations and private donors.

PORAC did a lot of the research before getting behind this movement. About three years ago, the decision was made by the leadership of PORAC to work toward a death penalty reform measure that would be taken to the voters of California. Since the pension initiative has taken a backseat during this election cycle, we have partnered with the above groups to see if the public is willing to fix this broken system.

In 2012, Proposition 34 was initiated to abolish the death penalty in California.

The FDSA was against Prop 34, along with PORAC and many other public safety groups. We hosted one of a dozen statewide press conferences outlining our concerns with this measure. Our position was simple – 47 cop killers were sitting on death row- of the 700 waiting for their fate to be determined. While many of the other inmates on death row are responsible for inhumane and unspeakable crimes- we are especially concerned about those cold blooded killers who have taken the lives of law enforcement officers.

Prop 34 was defeated- in the sense that the public did not want to abolish the California death penalty. Now, the remedy is to fix it.

This death penalty initiative is gaining a lot of support from many people. However, we are tasked with gathering signatures to offset costs of putting this on the ballot. Each signature we receive reduces the amount of money that would be paid to qualify the measure onto the ballot. We had signature cards that some of you may have signed.

Below I have outlined the key points on what this ballot initiative would do to the death penalty in California.

The initiative would:

  • Expand the pool of available defense attorneys.

  • Require that a defendant who is sentenced to death is appointed a lawyer at the time of sentence, rather than waiting for years just to get a lawyer.

  • Allows the Department of Corrections to house condemned inmates in less costly housing with fewer special privileges.

  • Requires that condemned inmates work and pay restitution to victims.

  • Allows CDCR to enact an execution protocol without having to reply to every question or suggestion by any citizen who sends them a letter.

  • Gives the California Supreme Court oversight over the state agency that manages death penalty appeals.

We encourage all of our members to learn more about this important measure. I will keep you up to date as to the status, once it qualifies for the November 2016 ballot. 


Fair Share Fees
Over the last six to eight months, there have been many recent developments in the case of Friedrichs v. California Teachers’ Association. A year ago, the case was scheduled to be heard in The Supreme Court. The heart of the case is “fair share fees,” a long standing issue/law regarding unions and agency fees. This case took some time to understand, because as it relates to the FDSA- we don’t generally deal with “agency/service fees” often. However, Article17 of our MOU deals with this issue specifically. Fair share fees are commonplace within groups such as California Teachers Association, SEIU, Nurses, etc. Law enforcement labor unions generally have a full complement of people involved in their respective associations.

Although the Friedrichs case would not have an immediate, direct impact to law enforcement labor or the FDSA in general- the potential “tsunami” effect for all labor groups would have been devastating.

Over the years, we have dealt with many different ballot initiatives, including Prop 75 and 76. These measures were intended to do away with our political action accounts. More recently, Prop 32 is a move to make it more difficult for labor groups to collect political action money. These accounts are important to ensure our voice is heard, and our message is sent directly to the law and policy makers.

Many of the benefits that we have, such as our pension, collective bargaining, POBAR rights, Myers, Millas, Brown Act – are a result of people agreeing, the courts weighing in, and allowing us to organize for the purpose of making workplaces better. Without organized labor, none of this would be possible to achieve or maintain.

The following in an article from The Labor Beat, put out by our law firm Messing, Adam &Jasmine about fair share/service fees in relation to the Friedrichs case and an overall outlook on what a decision would do if it was not in favor of labor. It includes the history of this case and the most recent developments.


Most Recent Attack on Agency Fee or Fair Share Agreements
Among the most closely watched cases on the 2015-2016 term of the United States Supreme Court docket this year will be Friedrichs v. California Teachers’ Association. This is a challenge by a group of California teachers to the principle that they are required to contribute financially to the labor union that represents them, bargains for their increased wages and benefits, and files grievances on their behalf. The teachers behind the lawsuit are non-union employees represented by the California Teachers’ Association (“CTA”) whose contributions are commonly known as “fair share” or “agency” fees. The teachers that object to these fees seek a categorical rule eliminating the option for public employers to agree to fair share fees and ask the Court to reject almost forty years of precedent – and more than fifty years of consistent practice in California. They are supported by multiple so-called Right-to-Work proponents, whose goal is the decimation of the labor movement in the United States.

A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute concluded that, on average, the elimination of agency fee provisions results in a reduction in labor union bargaining strength and a commensurate 9% reduction in pay as compared to labor unions operating in states where agency fee laws exist.

This is clearly a critical case.

Messing Adam & Jasmine LLP brought together a coalition of unions and umbrella organizations representing peace officers, firefighters, and supporting public safety employees in communities throughout California, New York state and across the Nation, representing over a half million public safety employees. Working with Stanford Law School Professor, Pamela Karlan and her team at the law school’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, the coalition filed its amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in support of Respondent CTA on November 12, 2015.

Oral argument in the case is expected to be early next year with a decision likely right at the end of the Court’s 2015-2016 term in June.


U.S. Supreme Court Likely to Outlaw Fair Share Fees

Posted on January 11, 2016
Oral argument was heard today by the United States Supreme Court in Friedrichs v. California Teachers’ Association.  Rebecca Friedrichs is an objector challenging the right of unions to collect agency or fair share fees from non-members as a contribution towards the cost of negotiating labor agreements.  She argues that paying fair share fees violates her First Amendment rights.

If Friedrichs is successful, agency fees will be prohibited.  Public employment will effectively become “right to work” across the nation.  This will encourage “free riders” who do not pay dues but reap almost all of the benefits of membership.  Studies from other states show that eliminating fair share fees will reduce public employee membership rates and wages.

We filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the Teachers’ Union on behalf of a Public Safety Coalition of almost half a million employees.

The transcript from today’s hearing and initial reports from those who attended suggest that the conservative majority on the Supreme Court will rule in favor of Friedrichs and set in motion a series of sweeping attacks on organized labor in the public sector.

Today’s oral argument has been reported widely, including by the New York Times.

We will provide further updates when a decision is released.


Consequences for Friedrichs after Scalia’s Death
Of most interest to public sector labor unions after Justice Antonin Scalia’s recent death is its impact on Friedrichs v. California Teachers’ Association, where the plaintiffs seek to prohibit the collection of agency fees and overturn Abood v. City of Detroit. Friedrichs was argued on January 11, and experts predicted a 5-4 ruling to ban agency fees. Justice Scalia’s death means he cannot be part of the ruling in the case, regardless of his intended vote. That leaves the case seemingly at a 4-4 tie.

So what happens next?

Two main schools of thought are emerging about Friedrichs:

1. A non-majority (4-4) decision will issue, meaning that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to reject Friedrichs’ challenge will stand. (Some have speculated that Justice Roberts might rule against Friedrichs based on stare decisis, i.e., the doctrine of precedent.)

2. The Court, through the Chief Justice, John Roberts, will order the case reargued once a new Justice is confirmed. With the near-universal expectation being that no new justice will be confirmed until after the next president is sworn in, it is conceivable that the case may not be reargued until late 2017.

Many commentators opined initially that scenario #1 was likeliest. But commentators are now increasingly projecting that, given the importance of the case, scenario #2 is likelier. That means the case will turn on who wins the presidential race. A Republican win will probably produce a conservative justice and a vote to overturn Abood; a Democratic win a liberal justice and a vote to affirm it.

While President Obama said he will name a replacement in due time, Republican congressmen and women have already pledged to block any Obama nominee. Within an hour after Scalia’s death was announced, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pledged the vacancy will not be filled until a new president is in office, saying that “the American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice.” But Democratic commentators have pointed out that the American people have spoken, when they elected Obama – twice – and that as president, he has a job to do, which includes filling vacancies on the Supreme Court. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid countered that “the President can and should send the Senate a nominee right away. With so many important issues pending before the Supreme Court, the Senate has a responsibility to fill vacancies as soon as possible. It would be unprecedented in recent history for the Supreme Court to go a year with a vacant seat. Failing to fill this vacancy would be a shameful abdication of one of the Senate’s most essential Constitutional responsibilities.” But Republicans may be coming around and willing to consider nominees President Obama proposes, if only not to appear obstructionist in an election year.

Scalia’s untimely death creates great uncertainty as to when his seat will be filled, how Friedrichs will be decided, and whether or not the question of the validity of agency fees will be decided any time soon.


Friedrichs: Public Sector Labor Unions Can Continue to Collect Fair Share Fees
Posted on March 29, 2016
In an unexpectedly short and swift ruling that issued today, the United States Supreme Court preserved the right of public sector labor unions to collect fair share fees.  In a one-sentence, 4-4 ruling, the Court left in place a 9th Circuit ruling in Friedrichs v. California Teachers’ Association that relied on the 1979 Supreme Court decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, which approved fair share fees.

This means that unions will still be able to make non-members contribute to the cost of negotiating better wages and benefits.

The ghost in the room was recently deceased Justice Antonin Scalia, who would have been the deciding vote to overturn Abood and outlaw fair share fees.

The reality is that this issue will probably be decided by the November election.  A Republican victory is likely to see a Supreme Court nominee opposed to Abood and vice-versa if there is a Democratic win.

For now, public sector labor unions that collect fair share fees would be wise not to completely disregard the possibility of additional litigation over this issue.


With Sincere Thanks
I want to thank all of the FDSA members who reached out and assisted in some way during the passing of Deputy Mike Trevino. Several hundred attended his funeral services and the reception was also very well attended. The Trevino family was very grateful and humbled by the love and support from many of you. They also asked that I convey a special note of thanks from their family to the FDSA- for the support provided following Deputy Trevino’s death.


Fraternally, 

-Eric
A Message from the President, February 2016
Hope this month is off to a great start! We have been very busy at the FDSA working on several projects and planning for events taking place in the next few months. Looking ahead, those who were selected in our annual drawing to attend Peace Officer Memorial events this year in the nation’s capital are Ed Mayo and Tim Van Houwelingen. Several others were also randomly picked to attend statewide memorial events in Sacramento.


New Bills

The deadline for the Legislature to submit new bills for 2016 was on Friday, February 18th. Many inquiries have been made about Senate Bill 1286, introduced by Senator Mark Leno from San Francisco.  

The bill amends sections 1043 and 1045 of the Evidence Code (Pitchess), Section 3304.5 of the Government Code (POBR), and Sections 832.5 and 832.7 of the Penal Code (Personnel Records).  PORAC has been in contact with Aaron Read’s office, Ed Fishman (Legal Defense Administrator), and Alison Berry Wilkinson. They are currently working on an analysis and bullet points to educate and inform you. They can also be used for you to share with others. 

If the bill is passed, this is an outline of what it would allow.

“Allow the public to access records related to sustained charges of serious misconduct, including sexual assault, racial or identity profiling, illegal search or seizure, job-related dishonesty, or legal violation of the rights of a member of the public, among others;

“Allow the public to access records relating to any use of force that causes or is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury;

“Allow people who file complaints alleging misconduct to access basic information related to the complaint, including whether the complaint was sustained, the factual findings, and any discipline imposed or corrective actions taken;
“Allow localities to determine if they would like to hold public hearings and administrative appeals based on allegations of peace officer misconduct;
“Allow law enforcement records to be withheld if a court determines that a privacy interest outweighs the public’s interest in disclosure, or if there is a showing of a significant danger to an officer or another person.”
This bill would be devastating to police officer’s privacy rights and confidentiality. It would also be a tough bill to fight during these difficult times. PORAC and our lobbyists are on top of this legislation that would cripple POBAR. 

I will keep the FDSA membership informed on the developments of this matter. 


Tulare County Sheriff Plane Crash

The Fresno Bee, By Lewis Griswold
More than 1,000 people attended the funeral Saturday of James Chavez, a pilot for the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department whose law enforcement plane crashed Feb. 10 near Springville, killing him and sheriff’s Deputy Scott Ballantyne.

The light sport aircraft designed for law enforcement use caught fire after hitting the ground, but the cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Glad Tidings Church in Hanford, where the capacity is listed at 999 people, was filled to overflowing as mourners watched a procession of uniformed law enforcement and military.

At Armona Cemetery following the church service, military honors, including a gun volley, taps, bagpipes and a helicopter flyby, took place.

At the church, Sheriff Mike Boudreaux eulogized Mr. Chavez, 45, who is survived by his wife, Melissa “Missy” Chavez; a daughter, Jayleen, 10; and a son, Josiah, 6.

“James was a civilian pilot, but I’ve got to tell you, for the men and women of the department, he was a deputy sheriff,” Boudreaux said.

The fatal plane crash prompted hundreds of letters from the community and phone calls of concern and condolences from top elected officials statewide and law enforcement leaders, he said.

Boudreaux said Mr. Chavez would sometimes fly over his home.

“He would … tilt his wings and I would wave back,” he said. “I just thought it was the best thing ever.”

At a law enforcement conference in Washington, D.C., the attendees held a moment of silence in honor of Mr. Chavez and Deputy Ballantyne, and the same happened at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, he said.

Their names will be added to the Peace Officers Memorial in Visalia, he said.

Mr. Chavez was a safety-conscious pilot who helped officers on the ground.

“James did nothing but express his love for the job,” Boudreaux said. “He loved chasing bad guys.”

Mr. Chavez was born in Stockton and graduated from St. Mary’s High School. He graduated from California State University, Fresno, with a degree in geography.

He had played the violin since age 8 and performed with the Kings Symphony Orchestra for several seasons.

He served as an officer in both the Navy and Army.

In 1993, he was a maintenance officer on the USS Abraham Lincoln. But he wanted to be a pilot. 

In 2005, he transferred to the Army National Guard and became a Blackhawk helicopter pilot, amassing more than 900 hours.

He was humble in every way. He didn’t drop names or awards.

Pastor Rick McCullough

In 2010-11, he served as company commander for the 640th Aviation Support Battalion and flew Blackhawk missions.

Mr. Chavez, who attained the rank of major, earned a Bronze Star and combat badge.

His colleagues admired him, said Col. David Uyematsu.

“I loved his amazing personality,” Uyematsu said. “He would crack a joke now and then – it was a breath of fresh air.”

One of Mr. Chavez’s assignments was to lead a company of 250 soldiers to Iraq to provide aircraft maintenance support to 300 helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. 

“He took a thankless job and did it well,” he said.

His quest to become a pilot took 10 years, Uyematsu said: “Man, that guy was persistent.”

Pastor Rick McCullough said Mr. Chavez was a blessing to others.

“He was humble in every way,” McCullough said. “He didn’t drop names or awards.”

James Chavez’s logged flight hours in Blackhawk helicopter

Mr. Chavez was active in ministries at Glad Tidings and liked to help young people.

“I ran into some trouble when I was in high school,” Brittany Smith of Fresno said following the church service. “He actually spoke to me quite often and helped kind of get me back on track and helped kind of get my life straight … James was a very big part of making sure that I was straightened out and had my life straight. Now I’ve got a family and I’m going to school.”

He was sometimes a door greeter at church, said church member Emily Oliveira.

“He’d say, ‘Oh my day is complete now, I’ve met all of you’ – me, my mother-in-law, my niece,” she said. “He was always a good friend.”


Honoring Deputy Sheriff Scott Ballantyne

California Attorney General Kamala Harris attended the funeral Monday of Tulare County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Ballantyne, who was killed Feb. 10 when the department’s airplane crashed near Springville, killing him and pilot James Chavez.

“On behalf of the state of California law enforcement family, our thoughts and prayers are with you during this extremely difficult and tragic time,” Harris said to the large crowd gathered at First Assembly of God Church.

“Please know that the California Department of Justice and the state’s entire law enforcement community are here for you as you mourn the loss of your colleague and family member.”

The cause of crash is under investigation.

Deputy Ballantyne, 52, grew up in Visalia and was hired as a sheriff’s trainee in 1989.

In his career, he served as detentions officer and patrol officer, worked in the crime lab and as a bailiff before being hired as the spotter for Sheriff One, the light sport aircraft used to find suspects from the air.

“He died doing what he loved to do,” Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said.

Boudreaux said after the plane crash, he went to the Visalia home of Deputy Ballantyne’s mother, Jean Ballantyne, to break the news.

“I knocked on the door,” he said. “She answered the door politely and said, ‘I don’t want to hear what you have to say.

“She explained she already knew in her heart. ... Not because anyone had already told her – she said because of mother’s intuition.”

She later told Boudreaux her son as a child was “obedient and content.”

Boudreaux said he believed it because years ago he worked in the jail and on patrol with Deputy Ballantyne.

“There was nothing upsetting him or making him mad or where he would get in an outrage,” Boudreaux said.

Several years ago, Deputy Ballantyne was hospitalized with a life-threatening illness, so Boudreaux went to visit him in the hospital.

“All he could think about was getting back on his feet and going back to work,” Boudreaux said.

Deputy Ballantyne’s name will be added to the Peace Officer Memorial in Visalia, and memorials in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., Boudreaux said.

As the tactical officer on Sheriff One, Deputy Ballantyne and Chavez found a lost 3-year-old and a person with Alzheimer’s, and interrupted burglaries in progress.

“He would proudly tell you that Sheriff One assisted in an average of three felony apprehension per week,” said Sgt. Michele Price.

While in the air near the Kern County line, Deputy Ballantyne spotted dozens of greenhouses in a remote area and took photos because it seemed suspicious. The find led to 12,300 marijuana plants and 33 arrests “all just because Scott had a hunch,” Price said.

Bailiff Tracy Mellow said Deputy Ballantyne was quick to arrive when called for assistance.

“If you knew Scott was coming to be your backup, you’d breathe a sigh of relief,” Mellow said. “That man had your back. I believe everyone who ever worked with Scott can attest to that.”

Deputy Ballantyne wanted the Sheriff One job and when he was offered the position, “his face was lit up like I’ve never seen it before,” Mellow said. “He had a smile from ear to ear. … I knew he was the perfect candidate for that position. I knew he would be great.”

Deputy Ballantyne’s father, the late Lt. Col. Stanley Ballantyne, served in South Korea, then Iran as an Army adviser to the Shah of Iran. The family lived there for two and a half years when Deputy Ballantyne was younger than 5.

He graduated from Redwood High School and attended College of the Sequoias and Fresno State.

Chaplain Kevin Mizner said Deputy Ballantyne learned to ride a unicycle in his youth, delivered pizza in his teens, worked on cars as a young man and liked most animals. Recently, he took in a Chihuahua he named Weird Willie.

Dispatcher Jim Reeves said Deputy Ballantyne would show video he had taken from the air, including one where he tracked a vehicle fleeing an illegal cockfighting operation.

“He was really enthusiastic about his job, always telling us about the capabilities of the aircraft,” Reeves said.

Retired dispatcher Enda Perkins said Deputy Ballantyne once visited as she was struggling with a coffee maker that had quit working. He arrived the next day with a professional-grade Farmers Brothers coffee maker.

“He said, ‘The only thing worse than a tired dispatcher is a tired dispatcher with no coffee,’ ” Perkins said.

At Visalia Cemetery, the ceremony included a flyby of law enforcement helicopters from Kern County, gun volley, bagpipes, color guard and presentation of the casket flag to Deputy Ballantyne’s mother.


Closing Message

Please protect one another out there in whatever assignment you are doing. Remember we are only good as one. 

-Eric
A Message from the President, January 2016
The beginning of 2016 has definitely started off with many wild and unpredictable changes. From the recent homicide trend in our county, to the numerous storms saturating us, and the political changes happening within the past 30 days.

Detectives have been very busy working to solve four double homicides in Fresno County this month. At this time, all 8 remain unsolved.

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors is about to see a change, following the January 19th announcement by Supervisor with Debbie Poochigian that she will not be seeking re-election in District 5.


This is the letter Supervisor Poochigian sent to the community:

District 5 Board of Supervisor Seat
January 19, 2016

Dear Family, Friends, and Constituents of District 5

After four decades of work in the local, state and federal political arena, I have decided not to seek re-election to a third term as District 5 representative on the Fresno County Board of Supervisors. I do not make this choice lightly as I love serving and enjoy tackling big issues that affect our lives.

It has been a high honor to serve the constituents of my district and all of the residents of Fresno County for the past seven years. I was born in Fresno County and was blessed to be raised on a farm in a family that valued hard work, common sense, and the importance of being involved in civic life. I learned so much about county government and public service from my father, highly respected five-term supervisor Deran Koligian. I also had the opportunity to be involved with state and federal political issues and campaigns and worked alongside my husband, Chuck, who had a distinguished career in the Legislature.

When I joined the Board in 2009, Fresno County was in economic crisis. Working with a board majority and leadership team that clearly understood the challenge, we were able to implement tough decisions that set us on the right course. We took our responsibilities seriously, streamlined government, and restored fiscal integrity. I am very proud of our accomplishments.

There is still important work to be done. In the next 11 months, I will continue to work hard, focus my energy on issues about which I am passionate, ask tough questions, act as a fiscal watchdog, advocate for strong ethical standards that guide county policymaking, and provide high-quality constituent services.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the job and thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve. No one knows what the future holds, but I will leave the door open for future challenges. Thank you for your friendship, encouragement, and support over the years.

Cordially yours,
Deborah A. Poochigian

 
Poochigian's Record with FDSA
Debbie worked intensely with the FDSA when layoff notices were issued to many of you during the recession. She was instrumental, along with former CAO John Navarettee in looking for every dollar available to increase the Sheriff’s budget. Based on those efforts, we did not lay off one sworn deputy sheriff.

Debbie has always been an advocate to adding back positions we lost during the recession (103 unfilled positions total). This rebuild started in the 2014/2015 budget where ten positions were added back. During her time as chairman in 2015/2016, an additional seven positions were added.

Dating back to 2009, Debbie has been a proponent for the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office . She was by our side when Mayor Ashley Swearengin began looking into incorporating county islands into the City of Fresno. She was a voice alongside the FDSA – always proclaiming the voters have a voice and are pleased with the service they receive from Fresno County Sheriff's Deputies.

Over the years Debbie has been an ally with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office and our law enforcement needs. A conservative supervisor we would generally find common ground with.

Thank you Debbie for your service to Fresno County and to the citizens in District 5. Good luck to your future ventures.


Pension Reform Update

Update on the current Pension Reform ballot initiative everyone has been anticipating for the November 2016 ballot. Below I am listing statements from former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and former San Diego Mayor Carl DeMaio regarding their current efforts.

The following statement is offered by Carl DeMaio and Chuck Reed:

"After conversations with members of their coalition and key donors, we have decided to re-file at least one of our pension reform measures later this year for the November 2018 ballot.  By then we will know the outcome of a key court case that might limit the public employee unions' capacity to spend 'unlimited' resources against pension reform."

"Every year we delay serious pension reform public employers make more unsustainable promises to new employees and public retirement debts grow.  We need pension reform to protect our education system and vital public services from these fast growing burdens. Although our polling today shows continued strong public support for pension reform, we believe 2018 will provide an even better environment for substantial reform as rising retirement costs further squeeze their schools and local agencies budgets."

Nonetheless, this is exciting news for labor that it appears we will be without a battle during this election year. We will, however, continue to fight for our promised benefit in the coming years unfortunately.

These two people, Reed and DeMaio will be waiting the outcome on a couple different court cases to see which direction they will be heading in the coming years. FDSA with the assistance of PORAC will be monitoring these pension battles without fail in the upcoming years.

This is a very positive update as many of your know I have been discussing this pension battle for about a year now in my President Messages to all of you. Once I have concrete word these will not be on the ballot I will be updating each of you.


Governor Brown’s Budget Speech
Gov. Jerry Brown, charting a cautious course in his State of the State address, warned Thursday of a future economic downturn and urged lawmakers to restrain spending despite state budget surpluses.

Brown took credit for raising the minimum wage, expanding health care coverage and increasing funding for schools. But he pointedly offered no new policy proposals, casting an agenda focused on “how we pay for the commitments we already have.”

The address came amid turmoil in the United States stock market, with fears about the Chinese economy and the plummeting price of oil.

Brown depicted the world as “profoundly uncertain” and California’s budget, which relies heavily on income tax revenue, as especially volatile.

“If we are to minimize the zigzag of spend, cut, spend that this tax system inevitably produces,” he said, “we must build a very large reserve.”

The annual speech opens a pivotal year for Brown, before focus shifts to the 2018 election to succeed him. The fourth-term Democrat enters the second year of his final term with relatively high public approval ratings and about $24 million in his campaign war chest, money that will allow him to factor heavily in ballot measure campaigns in November.

Brown, 77, gave no indication of how he might insert himself into those campaigns, only joking that he could fund a ballot initiative to change term limits to allow him to seek a fifth term.

His focus on the budget was so singular that Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California, said, “It looks like somebody switched his budget address with his State of the State text.

“What Brown learned over his years, in between administrations, is the importance of focus,” Schnur said. “He has a very small number of very important goals that he wants to accomplish, and rather than presenting a laundry list of 1,000 different things, he focused almost completely on what he wants the Legislature to do this year, which is to restrain itself.”

Brown has taken criticism in recent years for the unevenness of California’s economic recovery, with the state’s poverty rate the highest in the nation when adjusted for the cost of living. He insisted Thursday that he has enacted laws and programs to help the poorest Californians, while depicting income inequality as the result of globalization and other forces beyond the state’s control.

In his 20-minute speech, Brown resisted calls by legislative Democrats to spend more. Faulting the state for setting aside only a “token” amount to pay for billions of dollars in pensions and future retiree health benefits, Brown said it is a “moral obligation” to address that liability before making new commitments.

The speech served to underscore ongoing tension between Brown and more liberal Democrats about how much to spend on social service programs. Brown and the Democratic-controlled Legislature are in the opening rounds of this year’s budget talks.

While praising Brown for his “very clear-eyed focus on maintaining California’s fiscal stability,” Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León said, “We also believe that we need to make much-needed targeted investments in human capital for those who have been left behind with the resurgence of the economy.”

The Los Angeles Democrat said, “We’ve got to make certain investments in the long run that will lift people out of poverty so they can become income earners and contribute to the state coffers.”

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, noted that Brown “typically emphasizes austerity.”

“The Assembly’s responsible approach to budgeting,” she said, “allows us to consider posterity, too.”

In his State of the State address last year, Brown announced an initiative to reduce petroleum use in motor vehicles by as much as 50 percent within 15 years and to increase to one-half from one-third the proportion of electricity California derives from renewable sources. Brown and the Legislature enacted the renewable electricity mandate, but legislation to require petroleum reductions failed amid intense opposition from oil interests and moderate Democrats in the Assembly.

Brown, a longtime champion of environmental causes, said little about climate change or two major infrastructure projects he is laboring to push forward: California’s $68 billion high-speed rail system and a $15.5 billion plan to divert water around the Delta to the south.

Brown’s office pointed reporters to a new promotional video for the Delta project, while Brown renewed his call for a multibillion-dollar mix of taxes, fees and other revenue to fund road repairs throughout the state.

“Ideology and politics stand in the way,” he said, “but one way or another the roads must be fixed.”

Increasing taxes would require at least some Republican support, and GOP lawmakers have proved resistant.

Senate Republican leader Jean Fuller of Bakersfield said that in a year in which California enjoys unprecedented revenue, “it seems a little premature to fix the newest problems with new taxes.”

The state’s financial condition has rebounded since Brown took office and confronted a staggering budget deficit in 2011. Amid economic recovery, Brown this month issued a $170.6 billion state spending plan that includes billions of dollars in new funding for schools while rejecting calls for more robust, permanent spending increases in social service programs.

“A slowdown in China or turmoil in Iraq or Syria or virtually anywhere can send the stock market reeling and put California jobs and state revenues in jeopardy,” Brown said.

Barbara O’Connor, a political analyst and retired communications professor at Sacramento State, said that message is salient for Californians who are “looking at their 401(k)s this week, and they’re going … what happened?”

She said, “He has the right messages, he frames the issues correctly, and that’s why he’s the most popular politician in California.”

Brown, who oversaw dramatic service reductions when he took office, complained that without sufficient reserves, previous deficits required painful cuts to schools, child care services, courts and other programs.

He said, “I don’t want to make those mistakes again.

Stay safe all of you and take care of your partner wherever you work.


Always,

Eric

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