CA County Pension Reform Conference
  1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
The Conference occured on Saturday, May 10, 2014. Check back in a week or two for videos of the conference.

Click for Conference Schedule

Unmasking Hidden Pension Debt in
County Pension Funds
California & the Bay Area

This - the first California County Pension Reform Conference - will examine the growing pension debt of California counties with independent pension funds and the pressing need for pension reform.

Most California counties participate in CalPERS – 21 have independent pension funds (see map above) including Six Bay Area counties. The Conference will focus on these.

Alameda Marin San Mateo
Contra Costa Mendocino Sonoma

County Pension Funds must use new rules to report pension finances this year. Counties must do so next year. These new rules will hit these counties like a ton of bricks!

This shows total assets, debt and "net worth" (net assets) these 6 counties reported in their 2012 financial statements, what changes the new rules would have imposed, and what they would have reported had the new rules been in effect. (in $ Billions).

  Reported New Rules
Would Have
Total Assets $12.0 ($1.0) $11.0
Total Debt 5.6 (4.6) $10.2
Net Assets 6.4 ($5.6) $0.9

$1.0 billion of assets would have been written off - an additional $4.6 billion debt would have been added - which means these six counties would have written off $5.6 billion of "net worth" - 86% of our counties' value would have been wiped out!

This is the year we will all see the truth about the huge damage done to our counties - and cities - and states by unfunded pensions.


Keynote Speech
San Jose Mayor
Chuck Reed

The California Rule & the Reed Initiative – Help Local Governments Avoid Insolvency

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed Democrat Chuck Reed (click for bio), the 64th Mayor of San Jose, was re-elected in 2010 with 77% of the vote. In 2012, nearly 70% of San Jose voters passed pension reform supported by Mayor Reed.

The Mayor will talk about the "California Rule" - judicially-created law that allows outdated retirement formulas to impose significant unfunded pension debt on local governments, and his statewide Initiative to reform the Rule.

Below are the other sessions and speakers in the conference.

Conference Dedicated to Memory of Bill Pollacek

Gratefully Dedicated to the Memory of Bill Pollacek (click to read)

Bay Area Citizen County Reform Groups

Contra Costa Taxpayers Association

Contra Costa Taxpayers Association

Citizens for Sustainable Pension Plans

Marin's Citizens for Sustainable Pension Plans

Reform Our County Coalition

Mendocino's Reform Our County Coalition (goes to

New Sonoma

New Sonoma

Alameda - San Mateo counties? If you know of a group - please click to contact us.

Bill Gates was asked this question at the 2010 Aspen Ideas Festival - Do we have a huge unaccounted for pension overhang problem that’s going to hurt our government budgets?

Bill GatesClick here to see a short video of Bill's response including why he says today's government reporting of pension finances is fraudulent.

Financial Impact on Counties
Unfunded Pension Debt
John Dickerson John Dickerson
California Pension Reform
Past & Future
Dan Pellisier Dan Pellisier
President: California Pension Reform
Jack Dean Jack Dean
Karol Denniston Karol Denniston
Attorney: Local Government Financial Restructuring and Bankruptcy
Lance Christensen Lance Christensen
Director: Reason Foundation Pension Reform
County & City Officials
Michael Lotito - Moderator Michael Lotito
Moderator - Labor & Employment Attorney
Dan Gjerde - Mendocino County Supervisor Dan Gjerde
Mendocino County Supervisor
Larry Chu Larry Chu
Vice Mayor: Larkspur
Linda Pfeifer Linda Pfeifer
City Council: Sausalito
Electing Reformers
Andrew Crutchfield Andrew Crutchfield
Director: Govern for California
Duf Sundheim Duf Sundheim
Former Chair: California Republican Party
Holly Madrigal Holly Madrigal
Willits Mayor & Mendocino Supervisor Candidate
John Lowry John Lowry
Candidate: State Assembly
Ken Churchill Ken Churchill
Candidate: Sonoma County Supervisor

21 Counties - $45 Billion Unfunded Pension Debt

As of 2012 - on average these 21 County Pension Funds failed to achieve 1/3 of their self-proclaimed funding plans. That imposed $45 billion of unfunded pension debt on these 21 counties.

Barring an economic miracle our counties are going to pay hundreds of billions (including interest) to eliminate this debt. That won’t produce one minute of public services or fill one pothole. Kids not even born yet will pay this debt created in our time that isn’t supposed to exist.

They'll get nothing for it. That's our bequest to them.

This is the first conference in California focused on the pressing need for Pension Reform in the 21 counties with independent Pension Funds (see the map above). These counties are home to over 80% of Californians and are responsible for 15% of all state and local pension obligations.

This conference brings some of our state's most accomplished and engaged professionals in pension reform together with county and city officials and candidates in the Bay Area and citizen reformers in our counties to dig into this hugely dangerous threat to the future of our communities.

There is no "Silver Bullet" that can solve these problems. They are complex and multi-layered. But we all deeply believe we will fail our duty to the next generations if we don't clean up this mess created on our watch.


Why We're Pension Reformers

Pension Reformers come in all shades – progressives, liberals, moderates, conservatives, libertarians.

WATCH OUT FOR THAT ICEBERG!But we all see that iceberg. Some want to turn left (port) – others starboard (right).

We may want to go in different directions - but we all want to change course. If we don’t - we truly believe we’re heading for a wreck.

Defenders of the status quo say we’re trying to destroy retirement security for the working and middle class. But THEY are the ones putting government employees at huge risk by denying the undeniable. And THEY are the ones willing to throw the younger generation of government employees under the bus.

One + One = Two is NOT a political statement!

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