CSR News

Reed's pension measure is scrapped

Posted Mar 14, 2014

SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS -- Mayor Chuck Reed on Friday abandoned what was supposed to be his crowing achievement, saying he had admitted defeat in his bid to get a statewide pension reform measure on the November ballot.

The decision was expected after Reed struggled to attract the well-funded allies he needed to raise the millions of dollars to gather the roughly 800,000 signatures required for the initiative to reach the ballot. Meanwhile, organized union groups mounted a campaign to defeat it, and dozens of other California mayors lined up against it.

The San Jose mayor will be termed out of office at the end of this year and had spent months traveling the state and Washington D.C. in hopes of gathering support for his initiative, which was similar to a city pension measure he championed in 2012.

 

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Chuck Reed suffers another legal blow

Posted Mar 14, 2014

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed's statewide pension reform initiative was dealt a major setback Thursday when a judge rejected a lawsuit that could have made it much easier for Reed get his measure on the ballot.

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Chuck Reed sues over summary of pension initiative

Posted Feb 07, 2014

Proponents of a pension-change initiative want a judge to edit key language used to describe their measure, contending that it was written to bias voters against it.

The lawsuit filed this week by San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and four other local government officials behind the proposal accuses Attorney General Kamala Harris of writing a title and summary that “uses false and misleading words and phrases which argue for the measure’s defeat, is argumentative, and creates prejudice against the measure, rather than merely informing voters of its chief purposes and points ...”

 

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CSR succeeds at stopping CalPERS pension data base

Posted Jan 13, 2014

    After California State Retirees (CSR) took the lead in calling for legislative hearings regarding pension privacy rights, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) announced Jan. 6 that it will rescind its plan to post on its website the names and pension amounts of 550,000 CalPERS retirees.

   In July, CalPERS agreed to postpone the launching of its searchable pension data base when CSR and other retiree organizations argued that public information should only be released upon individual request under the Public Information Act. Posting the pension information of all CalPERS members on a data base would make it easier for solicitors and identity thieves to obtain information, the groups argued.

   The Jan. 6 statement released by CalPERS Spokeswoman Rita Gallardo said: "After many discussions with our stakeholders and partners, we have come to better understand their concerns about posting this public information in a secure database on the CalPERS website. Next month CalPERS staff will report to the [CalPERS Board of Administration] that we no longer believe the intended benefits of posting the database on our website outweigh the risks and concerns to our members and that we should not move forward with our previous plans.

 

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CSR Executive Director Phillip Sherwood addresses CalPERS Board

Posted Dec 19, 2013

Ordinarily, when increases in employer and employee pension contributions are discussed, we would be the first to question the need for such increases.  But the current reality shows it is prudent to adjust contributions in light of the updated actuarial assumptions.  Members are living longer.  Hence the long term stability of the fund outweighs knee jerk objections in our estimation.

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San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed tweaks public pension ballot proposal

Posted Nov 14, 2013

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has revised the public employee pension ballot measure, tweaking its language to fend off opponents’ criticisms that the proposed constitutional amendment circumvents collective bargaining and guarantees proponents a payday in state-subsidized legal fees to defend the measure if the state attorney general declined to fight lawsuits that would certainly follow the its approval.

“In the last two or three weeks we’ve talked to a lot of people,” Reed said this morning in a telephone interview, including the legislative analyst staff and the attorney general’s office. “Some parts of our measure weren’t clear. So we’re trying to make it clear what our intentions are.”

Union opponents seized on the revision -- and a switch in the lineup of the measure’s proponents -- as a sign that the proposal is in trouble. Among other things, Reed’s proposal would change California’s constitution to allow public employee pensions to be lowered prospectively for current workers. A body of case law appears to make that illegal without another form of compensation to offset that loss.

 

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Yolanda Solari is remembered as strong and effective

Posted Nov 04, 2013

For more than half a century, Yolanda Solari dedicated much of her life to fighting for the rights of state workers, state retirees and California citizens in general.

She passed away Oct. 30 at the age of 90.

She held several elected offices within CSEA, which currently has about 140,000 members in four affiliates, including California State Retirees.

She was first elected president of CSEA in 1990 – the third woman to hold the position, and the first to serve three two-year terms.

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Governor signs CSR-endorsed bills

Posted Oct 15, 2013

Governor signs CSR-endorsed bills

Gov. Brown signed five bills in October that are beneficial to senior citizens and supported by California State Retirees (CSR).

Of the 896 bills the Legislature sent the governor this year before adjourning in September, the governor signed 800 and vetoed 96, according to Ted Toppin, legislative advocate for CSR. The approved bills go into effect Jan. 1, 2014.

 

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Jelincic and Bilbrey are preliminary CalPERS board winners

Posted Oct 04, 2013

Incumbents Joseph Jelincic and Michael Bilbrey Preliminary Winners of CalPERS Board Election

SACRAMENTO, CA – Joseph (JJ) Jelincic and Michael Bilbrey are the preliminary winners to fill two Member-At-Large seats on the Board of Administration for the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) according to unofficial results released today by the Pension Fund. Formal certification of the results must be made by California's Secretary of State.

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25,000 CalPERS members have not received their CalPERS ballots

Posted Sep 25, 2013

It has come to our attention that approximately 25,000 CalPERS members do not have a mailing address on file at CalPERS, and therefore did not receive a ballot for the CalPERS 2013 Board Member-At-Large-Election.

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CSR Legislative Report

Posted Sep 20, 2013

The following PDF is a list of Bills that CSR is supporting, opposing, or watching.

 
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CalPERS candidate forum is set for Sept. 5

Posted Aug 28, 2013

    The public is invited to learn more about the candidates running for Seat A and Seat B on the CalPERS Board of Administration by attending a candidate forum from 3 to 5 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 5, in the Robert C. Carlson Auditorium at  CalPERS Headquarters in Sacramento.

     Ballots were mailed Aug. 30 to the home addresses of CalPERS members eligible to vote in the election for the two open member-at-large positions. The voting period runs through Sept. 27 – the deadline for returning ballots to CalPERS.

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CSR Legislative Report

Posted Aug 27, 2013

The following PDF is a list of Bills that CSR is supporting, opposing, or watching.

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CSR calls for legislative hearings to protect retirees' privacy

Posted Aug 16, 2013

California State Retirees President Tim Behrens wrote letters this week to legislative leaders urging them to hold special legislative hearings to investigate the many critical issues raised by a now-stalled CalPERS proposal to post a searchable database that provides the name and benefits of all of its 550,000 retirees.

“CSR – the largest state retiree organization in California – is deeply concerned about the potential threats a database searchable by member name poses to our 33,000 members,” Behrens said in letters to Sen. Jim Beall, the chair of the Senate Public Employees and Retirement Committee and to Assemblyman Rob Bonta, chair of the Assembly Public Employees and Social Security Committee. “Many of our members are of an advanced age which makes them vulnerable to scams and rip-offs that seek to separate them from their hard-earned pensions and other assets. Releasing their names will make them susceptible to harassing marketers, fraudulent activity and identity theft.”

A similar letter from Behrens was sent CalPERS President Rob Feckner.

Behrens said that California State Retirees recognizes that CalPERS member information has been considered public information for some time and that there is indeed some value in providing public access to pension data.

“Nevertheless, we do not believe that it is appropriate to release the name and pension data of every recipient in a searchable database that could be used to target individual retirees,” Behrens said.

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CSR to fight pension data release by CalPERS

Posted Jul 11, 2013

California State Retirees (CSR) – the largest state retiree organization in California – announced today that it is seeking legislation to limit the amount of pension information currently available through CalPERS under the Public Records Act.

“We understand that some public information must be released by law, but we do not support a pension data system like what CalPERS had proposed because it would have revealed much more than just how much a retiree’s pension is,” said California State Retirees President Tim Behrens. “Most of the 33,000 members in our organization are elderly and many are vulnerable. Releasing even just their name can make them targets for identity theft and harassing marketers and scammers.”

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CalPERS Retirement Planning Fairs

Posted Jul 05, 2013

Learn about your CalPERS benefits and the retirement planning services available to you at a free Retirement Planning Fair. Meet representatives from CalPERS Regional Offices, program areas and partner organizations. Five classroom-style breakout sessions will provide information on retirement and health benefits, service credit and more. Use this one-stop shopping guide to access all of your planning needs.

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Mail Ballot Election Results

Posted Jun 27, 2013

CSR Delegates determined, via a mail ballot, whether or not to change CSR Bylaws, Article IX, Section 5(A) reducing the delegate ratio from 1 delegate per 100 active chapter members to 1 delegate per 200 active members. The proposal further specified that no chapter shall have fewer than three delegates.

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2014 health care rates are recommended to CalPERS board

Posted Jun 18, 2013

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System’s (CalPERS) Pension and Health Benefits Committee (PHBC) today recommended the Board of Administration approve a 2014 health care package that would raise overall premiums next year by an average of 3 percent for the Pension Fund’s nearly 1.3 million health program members, the lowest average increase since 1998. The rate is lower than the 9.6 percent increase in 2013. If the full Board approves the new premium rates, they will take effect January 1, 2014.

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CSR Legislative Report

Posted May 14, 2013

The following PDF is a list of Bills that CSR is supporting, opposing, or watching.

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CalPERS seeking to catch errors, fraud in health enrollment

Posted May 07, 2013

Jon Ortiz
Sacramento Bee
jortiz@sacbee.com 

CalPERS is moving to strike from government health care rolls tens of thousands of people it believes are mistakenly or fraudulently receiving benefits.

The fund, which is the second-largest health care purchaser in the nation after the federal government, figured last year that removing an estimated 29,000 wrongly listed children, spouses and domestic partners of government employees would save approximately $40 million annually.

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The mission of the California State Retirees is to protect the pension and health benefits of all retired state employees.

 

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