The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

September 3, 2009
CalPERS candidates take tough questions at forum

CalPERS Board of Administration candidates J.J. Jelincic, Inderjit Singh Kallirai and Muriel Strand answered questions about the fund and their candidacy during a 2-hour forum Wednesday night.

Candidates Cathy Hackett, Kurato Shimada, Dan T. Villella and Dennis Yates did not participate.

Questions from the audience of about 50 at Sacramento's Dante Club covered everything from the pension fund's viability and board-to-member communication to whether the fund applies to itself the same good governance principles it pushes for companies in which it invests.

Bee editorial writer Ginger Rutland and columnist Dan Walters asked the candidates about board member ethics, particularly in light of the newspaper's recent report on Charles Valdes and big-bust investments such as the infamous Landsource real estate deal. There was also quite a bit of back-and-forth over Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposal to create a two-tier pension system and whether the fund's support for legislation 10 years ago that boosted pensions -- particularly for safety personnel such as the Highway Patrol officers and correctional officers -- has hurt CalPERS' credibility.

It was a wide-ranging discussion. We'll soon post video of the forum so that voters can view the comments before casting their ballots. Click here for more information about the election.

A word of thanks to Jim McRitchie of PERSWatch for working tirelessly to organize and to promote the forum. Thanks also to The League of Women Voters for moderating the event.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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