Saturday, October 17, 2009

I'm Voting For JJ Jelincic

JJ and I sat down yesterday afternoon for a discussion of CalPERS, economics, and sustainability. After almost 2 hours of a wide-ranging conversation, I feel that his understanding of CalPERS as an organization, the details and structure of the financial system as a whole, and the practice of ethical politics, all make him an excellent choice for helping protect our retirement security and strengthen CalPERS operations. Apparently he had been considering running for at least a year before making a definite decision about a year ago.
While my ideas about how best to achieve sustainability, and related concepts about economics, are unusual, he understood these ideas well enough and readily enough that our conversation was for me an enjoyable discussion and meeting of two informed and independent minds. I believe we both learned some valuable information and concepts.
He listed 4 key reasons for running:
1. having a board member with his level of investment expertise
2. cutting costs by bringing money management in-house and reducing the use of contractors and consultants, and also reining in top staff salaries
3. defending defined benefit pensions in general
4. improving corporate governance

However, I have not yet had the opportunity for a similar discussion with Cathy Hackett, which I hope will take place later this month. Still, I should state for the record that I am somewhat skeptical of unions in their role nowadays, although more skeptical about corporations. Union leadership often seems to focus on money only and not on the larger leadership of ensuring a robust economy that can actually meet everyone's needs. And they are not always open to new ideas, such as when Bill Camp and the Labor Council didn't even bother to talk to me before making an endorsement in Sacramento's 2008 mayoral race.
Nov. 5 update: Having never had an opportunity to discuss economics and CalPERS management with Cathy Hackett, I cannot know if I would have changed my mind. But maybe she didn't really want to respond to my questions.

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