CalPERS is under constant attack by those who want to manage its $205 billion and by those who want to reduce its clout when it fights for good corporate governance practices, since these practices often come at the expense of corporate CEOs.
However, the behavior of some CalPERS Board members (including incumbent George Diehr), invites further attack by those who seek to destroy our pension system. For example, the Board’s continued violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) shows a disregard for the law. Their underground regulations put members at risk for identity theft. At my urging, the Office of Administrative Law has agreed to issue a determination but that won’t come long after the current election is over.
Language the CalPERS Board sponsored in SB 1729 would have exempted them from public notice, the need to respond to public comment, and other protections of the APA in adopting regulations. Fortunately, I intervened and the Legislature took my suggested amendments on June 27, 2006.
Government Code sections 8134 and 19990 prohibit use of public resources for campaign activity. Yet, incumbent George Diehr’s campaign ballot statement solicits inquiries from voters by listing his state e-mail address (gdiehr[.]csusm.edu is his address at CSU, San Marcos). This kind of disregard for the law increases the likelihood of further attacks on CalPERS.
Additionally, CalPERS is taking the wrong direction on health care (Mr. Diehr chairs the Health Benefits Committee), paying much higher rates for Kaiser than you can obtain on the Internet. Instead of reducing our options and trying to “regulate” those that remain, CalPERS should let more providers offer more options.
Yes, it will be more difficult to compare plans, but you will be able to choose the services most important to you and your family. Costs will be lower when plans compete. Ultimately, state members of CalPERS need a healthcare trust fund, allowing investment returns to cover 80-85% of costs, just as investment returns pay most of the cost of our pensions.
My investment strategy favors “enhanced indexing.” Increase investments in corporations with excellent environmental records, corporate governance, and workplace practices. Decrease investments in companies with the worst practices. Enhanced indexing will yield higher returns and the companies we invest in more heavily will also be ones we will be proud to own.
State members of CalPERS have a clear choice in the current election. They can vote for the incumbent and invite further attacks or they can vote for James McRitchie for the highest ethical standards, lower healthcare costs, a healthcare trust fund, and a sound investment strategy. For more, go on the Internet to PERSWatch.net. Vote James G. McRitchie so that I can represent you full-time in Sacramento on the CalPERS Board. Questions? Loose your ballot? Call 916-795-3952 for a replacement.