Rocky road

Aug 22, 2011

The termination of public pension plans is relatively rare -- of the more than 2,000 in CalPERS' system, perhaps one or two are terminated each year. But last week, the CalPERS board approved an increase in the cost of terminating pension plans -- a disturbing sign of the times.


From CalPensions' Ed Mendel: "After a plan terminates, there is no way to get more money from the employer. The worry is that ending just one big plan could “dramatically” erode a pool currently responsible for the pensions of 4,700 members of 118 terminated plans."


"The new safeguard increases the money an employer must set aside to offset or “discount” future obligations. A much lower bond-based earnings rate will be assumed, currently 3.8 percent, rather than the CalPERS earnings forecast, 7.75 percent."


"The change touches a hot-button issue. Critics contend that the California Public Employees Retirement System earnings forecast, 7.75 percent, is overly optimistic and conceals massive debt."


The next executive director of the California Coastal  Commission, the successor to Peter Douglas, will have big shoes to fill -- and big problems to solve. Jeremy Hay in the Press Democrat tells the tale.


"The power of money is at work 24 hours a day on the coast,” said Marin County Supervisor Steve Kinsey, who was named a commissioner in May."


"Douglas, who has lung cancer, went on medical leave Monday and will resign in November."


"His replacement will have to be able to “stand up to the power that money can bring to almost every conversation,” Kinsey said. “There are forces that want to change the direction and there are forces that want to continue the direction.”


GOP presidential contender MItt Romney doesn't like his La Jolla home, so he's going to demolish the 3,000-square-foot house and replace it with one of almost 12,000 square feet. This sends an excellent signal as his campaign ramps up and the nation remains mired in recession.


From the U-T's Christoper Cadelago: "Romney has filed an application with the city to bulldoze his 3,009-square-foot, single-story home at 311 Dunemere Dr. and replace it with a two-story, 11,062-square-foot structure. No date has been set to consider the proposed coastal development and site development permits, which must be approved by the city."


"The former governor of Massachusetts purchased the home three years ago. According to a description from the listing agent, the Spanish-style residence at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac is sophisticated and understated in its décor, “offering complete privacy and unsurpassed elegance.”


"Tentative plans call for new retaining walls and a relocated driveway, but would retain the existing lap pool and spa."


Maxine Waters, the fiery Congresswoman from Los Angeles, doesn't like the Tea Party. We know that, because she said so.


From Shelby Grad in the LA Times: "Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) came out swinging against Republicans in Congress on Saturday as she addressed the unemployed during a forum in Inglewood."


"The event occurred a day after new statistics were released showing that California's jobless rate last month went up to 12%, from 11.8%.  California now has the second-highest rate of unemployment in the nation, trailing only Nevada at 12.9%, and its jobless rate is well above the U.S. average of 9.1%."


"Waters vowed to push Congress to focus on creating more jobs. "I'm not afraid of anybody," said Waters. "This is a tough game. You can't be intimidated. You can't be frightened. And as far as I'm concerned, the 'tea party' can go straight to hell."


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