The California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) Political Action Committee, legal counsel and staff attended the California Democratic Convention in Los Angeles March 7-9, 2014, meeting with political leaders, state lawmakers and members of Congress.
"It's imperative to our CSLEA members that we are up front and center at this annual convention," said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. "We must be in the same room, in the same meetings and at the same tables as the lawmakers and leaders of this state and the policy makers of this country. It's vital that we keep the issues of public safety, collective bargaining, and retirement security in the discussion and that we make our presence known and that's what we did. Our valued CSLEA members were well-represented at this convention."
In attendance for CSLEA were President Alan Barcelona, Chief Financial Officer Ricardo Sanchez, Senior Vice President Tina Brazil, Vice Presidents Kenneth Ehrman and Francine Toth, Board Members Tom Ineichen and Al Cardwood, Membership Committee Member Chris Ehrman, Senior Legal Counsel Dave De La Riva, Legal Counsel Jim Vitko and Erin Eckelman, Member Services Representative Richard Carrillo, Political Affairs Coordinator Julia Marin and Director of Communications Teri Cox.
The annual convention kicks off the election and showcases the party's superstars. Governor Jerry Brown, who is running for an unprecedented fourth term in November, addressed convention-goers Saturday morning. He told the crowd California is recovering from the Great Recession faster than the rest of the nation. "California is back, we got a million more jobs and California is still a beacon for the world, " said Brown.
Brown also held a private lunch in which CSLEA President Alan Barcelona, CSLEA CFO Ricardo Sanchez and CSLEA Political Consultant Peter Mitchell attended.
"We were able to talk to the Governor about issues that are important to our members in an environment in which a sensible discussion can take place," said Barcelona. "We thank the Governor for inviting us into his hotel room for this very important luncheon."
California Attorney General Kamala Harris spoke briefly with CSLEA's Political Action Committee after taking to the stage and speaking to the main assembly. "As everyone here knows, so goes California, so goes the entire nation," said Harris. Harris addressed what she called the "state by state campaign to undercut collective bargaining" and doing the right thing for California's immigrant communities. "Let's be proud we didn't wait on Washington to do the right thing for our immigrant communities," Harris said.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi greeted CSLEA backstage after telling convention-goers, "We are not finished yet." Pelosi addressed the affordable care act, climate, quality childcare, minimum wage, fair pay and collective bargaining. "When women succeed, America succeeds," said Pelosi. About the attacks on collective bargaining, Pelosi said, "We must stop their efforts to weaken collective bargaining."
Pelosi credited the Democratic Party for knowing and caring about the needs of the American people.
About 3,000 delegates and guests attended the three day convention held at the Westin Bonaventure hotel and the Convention Center in downtown Los Angeles.
California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton welcomed the crowd, telling them they should be excited by the victories but remain vigilant about the issues and the elections this year.
"It was encouraging and inspiring to see the passion and activism at the California Democratic Convention," said Barcelona. "It takes involvement, presence, discussion of the issues and voter turn-out to get things done. I think our members will be proud of our representation, and presentation of the issues to those who can facilitate change and improvement."