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California State Federation Convention 2007


by David Garcia

In May, I had the privilege of serving as one of Chapter 65's delegates to the California first Biennial Federation Convention held in Costa Mesa. I still feel like a newcomer to NARFE and this was my opportunity to serve the chapter and see how the process works. Our conventions allow chapters to elect their Federation Officers, change the Federation Bylaws, recommend changes to the National Bylaws/policies/procedures, and establish and modify policies and procedures of the Federation. They also offer the opportunity for members to hear directly from and meet with the leaders of the National Association, and to network with other members from throughout the entire state.

On my first night in Costa Mesa, I happened to be walking through the lobby at the Convention site when I ran into Ann and Cliff McCraw, the friendliest couple. They were standing there waiting for someone so we started talking. I soon found out that they were part of the host committee and are very active NARFE members. We had a very nice chat. They were so welcoming to me as a delegate from San Francisco. I really appreciated that early experience of making contact with NARFE members joining together for a common cause important to all of us.

Over the 2-1/2 day period I attended our district Caucus (chaired by Judy Lynn, Vice-President District V) and many meetings and heard so many wonderful speakers with a broad range of information. Speakers included James Molinari, State Director for Senator Dianne Feinstein; Judy Park, NARFE National Legislation Director and keynote speaker National President Margaret Baptiste and, of course, our own Forney Lundy, National Field Vice President Region VIII. The Convention was held at the Costa Mesa Hilton Hotel, which is in Orange County between Newport Beach and Anaheim. I attended an orientation class which helped me to understand the terminology and purpose of the convention process. Then we began to work. On the Convention floor, one of our first actions as delegates was to vote to accept a resolution that changes our procedure for submitting of resolutions so they are in accordance with established National Bylaws Yes, these kinds of housekeeping chores were part of our job. Many proposed Bylaw Amendments were rejected. For instance, the Convention defeated the proposed adoption of a new member category; that of "Spousal member" to the membership (to pay dues at the rate of one/half of the total annual dues rate of regular members). However, adopted (as amended) by the Convention was the elimination of Honorary Life Membership (waived dues for members who attain the age of 85 and who have been members for at least 20 years), for members in the future. Of course, all current Honorary members would not be affected by this change.

On Sunday, the last day of the Convention, a "Recognition Luncheon" was held to honor all Federation Past Presidents. The food as well as the music was wonderful and the company was most enjoyable. That evening, I attended the Federation Banquet. Master of Ceremonies was Lea Zajac, CSFC Past President. The celebration included installation of Officers for 2007 - 2009 by Forney Lundy, followed by music and dancing, long into the night, by the Hi-Fi Quintet. This was a most rewarding experience and has served to rededicate my efforts to continue in the camaraderie in the NARFE experience while encouraging others to participate and become leaders.


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