If you work for the politically connected CalPERS or other California pension funds and investment vehicles, you would love for all your mistakes to be hidden from your investor’s view. And by having the elected officials in your hip pocket, your wish is now coming true.
But newly proposed legislation would make such real estate records confidential in the future, requiring public agencies to disclose gains or losses on a project but not documents that could show why a deal was made, risks involved, marketing strategy or partnership terms.
Assemblyman Kevin Mullin said his Assembly Bill 382 is designed to strike a balance between open government and the need to protect public investments from competitive disadvantage. via the Sacramento Bee
The newly proposed law is in response to Superior Court Judge Charlotte Woolard ruling that public scrutiny is needed for large investments of public funds. With the fear of crony capitalism, back scratching, and other nefarious concerns that have infected the California state pension system, the full disclosure of investments to the pension holders is paramount to protecting their investment.
Peter Scheer, director of the First Amendment Coalition, which sued CalPERS in the East Palo Alto case, said the pension agency has been involved in large real estate deals that went sour.
AB 382 would “increase the chances that mistakes will be made in real estate investments” because critics would be deprived of documents that could prompt them to raise red flags, Scheer said.
“I think public pensioners and the taxpayers generally benefit from as much transparency as possible,” he said
But the collusion between big pensions and big government in California will continue, and be given a hand going forward if Assembly Bill 382 is passed. Whatever risk of a more expensive deal for the pensions if the facts are disclosed ahead of time will be sure to be less than the risk of bad, unethical decisions being made in the future.