From the President

July 22, 2012

Since my last update, two more groups have come on board. Let’s welcome the Plumas County Probation Peace Officers Association and Colusa County Probation! It is important for us to continue to grow as an organization, not only to be able to represent more of our brothers and sisters throughout the state, but to gain more strength when dealing with statewide issues at the Capitol. I’ve been preaching the message of presenting a unified front since I came aboard in 2010 as SCOPO’s president, and I believe that message is hitting home. Now more than ever the microscope is on us, examining every move we make implementing realignment moving into year 2. Add to that, the attacks on public employees throughout the state (much less the nation) continue to take its toll on rank-and-file. We need to move forward with one voice, as a force for change. Not just in changing people’s perceptions about probation, but creating a better future for our profession and our society.

Our two bills, AB 1968 (Wieckowski) and AB 2031 (Fuentes), are still moving their way through the State Legislature. Before the summer recess, both bills had made it out of the Senate Public Safety Committee and were on their way to the Senate Appropriations Committee. After the legislature resumes session, both bills will be brought up for discussion in that committee. As the legislative year comes to a close, we are asking members to forward suggestions for legislation that should be tackled next year. If you have suggestions, please forward them through your designated SCOPO representative.

Earlier, I mentioned forming a unified front. This fall, we will have an opportunity to do just that at the ballot box. On November 6th, 2012, we face an election ballot with 11 measures. One of those measures, Proposition 30 – the Governor’s tax initiative, needs our support. Prop 30 will help to stabilize funding and prevent trigger cuts from taking place. Another measure, Proposition 32 - the Stop Special Interest Money Now Act (aka: Paycheck Deception or Corporate Power Grab), needs to be defeated. If Prop 32 passes, it will effectively silence Labor’s (OUR) voice in state & local politics. It would prohibit unions/associations from making direct monetary contributions to state and local candidates using member dues, and prohibit contributions to ballot measure committees if the funds are collected via payroll deduction. Proponents of Prop 32 say that this measure “is simple, fair and balanced….limiting both corporate and union political giving.” The reality is that this measure only impacts unions/associations. Less than 1% of companies use payroll deduction as a means of raising money for political purposes, but unions/associations get more than 95% of their political funds through payroll deduction. Corporations already outspend unions/associations 15 to 1 in political expenditures, and this would serve to exacerbate that number. Make every effort to educate your friends, family and co-workers about the importance of defeating Prop 32 and passing Prop 30. More information about the Vote NO on 32 campaign can be found here: http://www.stopspecialexemptions.org/.

If you’re not a fan of politics and the political process, it’s understandable. It’s not for the faint of heart, nor is it something that tends to excite the majority of people. Most want to go to work, do what they do, and then leave work to relax without even thinking about the world of politics. Unfortunately for us, politics plays a part in every aspect of our job. Politics and the decisions that are made by elected politicians dictate: funding for grant programs and departmental operations, the laws and regulations that are enforced by those working in institutions and supervising caseloads, and officer safety to name a few. What can you do to make a difference in the political process? Become part of the solution. Vote, become active within your union/association, educate yourself about issues that are important to Probation, and meet with your elected representatives about Probation’s duties and its needs; including why it is important to adequately allocate funding to probation. We need to be at the forefront of the battle to preserve and expand funding to probation, and be an active participant when probation and related labor issues are being discussed.

Stay alert, stay safe, and stand committed.

Paul Brennan
SCOPO President