Is CalPERS Going Private?


External to legally required public discussion, it appears that the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), is partnering with the New York global investment management corporation, BlackRock, by outsourcing its private equity operations to the firm. Apparently BlackRock is also the financial firm that brokered CalPERS’ involvement in the Stuyvesant Town real estate deal, in which CalPERS lost its entire $500 million investment.

For the protection of constituents and beneficiaries, the 2004 Bagely-Keene Open Meeting Act requires that state boards and commissions publicly notice their meetings, prepare agendas, accept public testimony and conduct their meetings in public unless specifically authorized by the Act to meet in closed session.

In light of the previously failed investment, a publicly noticed meeting seems highly important in the recent actions taken by CalPERS. Additional concerns highlight how the recent investment strategy garners higher costs with lower returns and no guarantee of improved performance.

Financial critics stress how the level of financial risk involved in the CalPERS investment approach is commonly recommended for high net worth individuals or highly diversified investment groups.

CalPERS may consider outsourcing its investment portfolio to be a more efficient manner of augmenting financial resources for its beneficiaries. A possible more effective means of acting upon such a consideration would be to allow that a number of firms bid on handling the CalPERS fund with a CalPERS analytical choice of the most secure partnership that amasses the best return.

Subsequent to careful review, by law it is incumbent upon the organization to present its findings to beneficiaries for testimony and feedback.

Further information on the CalPERS investment decision can be found in the Naked Capitalism article, CalPERS Illegally Trying to Hide Its Scheming to Hand Over Private Equity to BlackRock

Vote from Lawmakers Makes California a Sanctuary State

California Sanctuary State

From Reuters: Saturday, September 16th California lawmakers voted to initiate California as a sanctuary state. The bill bans police from inquiring as to immigration status at traffic stops or of those who have been arrested. The law also limits police cooperation with immigration officers.

The landmark legislation comes after a federal judge on April 25th barred the U.S. Justice Department from denying grants to sanctuary cities for much-needed public safety services and materials.

A milestone in protecting California’s immigrant population, the legislation passed as one of many bills heard on the last day of this year’s legislative session.

Once again California sets a legislative precedent.

Source article: PoliticusUSA: Defying Trump, California lawmakers vote to become ‘sanctuary state’


Latest Progress on the California Disclosure Act (AB 249)

california clean money action fund

Trent Lange, President and Executive Director of the California Clean Money Action Fund has  this message concerning new progress with the California Disclosure Act:

AB 249, the California DISCLOSE Act — our game-changing bill to fight Dark Money by making political ads show who’s really paying for them, passed the Senate Appropriations Committee Friday on a 5-2 vote.  That means AB 249 will be going to the Senate floor with a chance to pass the full legislature in less than 2 weeks!

This was a huge victory that came only after two months during which thousands of Clean Money supporters like you demanded that AB 249 get its hearings and votes and more than 100 of you packed the Senate Elections committee.

The leadership of AB 249 author Assemblymember Kevin Mullin and Senate President pro Tem Kevin de Leon (now a principal coauthor of AB 249!), along with other principal coauthors Senators Ben Allen, Jerry Hill, and Henry Stern, has put us within striking distance of passing the strongest disclosure law in the nation.  But AB 249 requires a two-thirds vote to pass, so there isn’t a vote to spare.

[The challenge is now is] to pass the final Senate floor vote and then pass the Assembly floor by September 15!

Governor Jerry Brown Talking in Russia on Climate Change

governor jerry brown

On Sunday Governor Jerry Brown traveled to Vladivostok, Russia for a six-day conference of international government and business leaders at the Eastern Economic Forum, to emphasize climate change. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Gov. Brown maintains the Forum “isn’t just an occasion to promote investment, it’s an opportunity to strengthen our commitment to decarbonizing the economy.”

Present at the Forum will be business leaders and politicians representing Russia, India, and South Korea. Gov. Brown will give opening remarks to the forum with a talk entitled “The Russia-China-Japan-U.S Quadrangle: Are There Opportunities for Cooperation?,” with the intent of including climate change in the general discussion.

For more information on Governor Brown heading to Russia concerning Climate Change, see: The Sacramento Bee, Los Angeles Times, and TruthDig: Jerry Brown Going to Russia to Talk Climate Change.

El Cerrito Centennial Celebration Recognizes the African American Legacy

African American Legacy

Just as compassionate people today fight against inequality and the lack of opportunity, at a time when restrictions were placed on African Americans purchasing land in many U.S. locations, including El Cerrito, enlightened “straw men” acted as fronts for minority purchases. This is how Dr. Russel and Melva Harrison, one of El Cerrito’s first African American residents, obtained their home.

Since that time residents who are African American have loved El Cerrito, joining other dedicated ‘El Cerritoans’ in significantly striving for the development and betterment of this community. On Saturday, August 26 an El Cerrito Centennial Celebration honored those contributions.

African American Legacy

 In addition to civic engagement, African American residents have contributed to business, education, government, and numerous projects designed to further the general  welfare of our community.

Jean Mitchell opened the first African American beauty salon, employing and training others in the industry.  Emmett McCuistion taught at Portola Junior High School. Dr. and Mrs. Samuel Weeks’ children were the first to integrate Mira Vista Elementary School. Judge Charles Edward Wilson and Lucy Wilson assisted the City of El Cerrito in establishing the City’s Human Relations Commission, and motivated the City and the Commission to recognize Dr. Martin Luther Kings Jr.’s birthday. Today El Cerrito has one of the most significant MLK yearly celebrations in the country.

Saturday’s celebration was crowned with keynote speaker, Regina Mason, who described her journey to discover one of her ancestors, William Grimes, a runaway slave who had made significant strides as an author. Recording artist Da Michanic also performed.

The Centennial Event was sponsored by: The City of El Cerrito, NAACP, St Peter CME Church, Law office of Mister Phillips and One Hitter Entertainment sponsored the event.

El Cerrito Mayor Janet Abelson and El Cerrito Council member Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto graced the Centennial event with their presence.

For more information on this Event and the history it celebrated, see: THE RICHMOND STANDARD: El Cerrito centennial celebration honors African American legends