Brews & Views Thursday: “California’s Pensions: a $500 billion debt”


By on Wed, January 19, 2011

Free public forum at the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company on January 20 welcomes David Crane, special advisor to Governor Schwarzenegger on jobs and economic growth, and Joe Nation, former state lawmaker and public policy professor at Stanford, with moderator Lenny Mendonca of McKinsey & Company.


On Thursday, January 20, the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company hosts the second of its 2011 speakers' series, Brews and Views, with two special guests discussing one of California's hottest topics: the state's vastly underfunded state and local pensions, at least one of which are now the subject of an Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation.

Moderator Lenny Mendonca, co-founder of the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, founder of Brews and Views, and Director at McKinsey & Company, will facilitate a lively and illuminating discussion with David Crane, former top advisor to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on jobs and economic growth and recent appointee to the University of California Board of Regents, and Joe Nation, former state assemblyman and current director of the Graduate Public Policy Practicum at Stanford University and lecturer with Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR).

Ten percent of proceeds from all dinner sales at Half Moon Bay Brewing Company that evening will be donated to Cabrillo Education Foundation.


On January 7, 2011, the New York Times reported that the SEC is investigating California's state employee pension plan, CalPERS, for failure to provide adequate disclosures on how risky the pension investments were and how much funding it would need to fund a shortfall.

David Crane reported in April that pension costs for state workers have gone up over 2,000 percent over the last 10 years, "crowding out spending on colleges, parks, health, the environment and other public programs. More cuts are in store for those programs because pension costs are scheduled to more than double to $10 billion per year...Worse, pension debt has been hidden from you through evasive accounting by our pension funds that would make even Wall Street blush."

Joe Nation's recent SIEPR report (November 2010) found that the employee pension funds of California's local governments and special districts are underfunded by $200 billion. The study, which showed that local government pension plans are underfunded by almost 45 percent, followed an April 2010 study conducted by four Stanford University students who estimated that the three state employee pension plans - CalPERS, CalSTERS and the University of California Retirement System, who together administer the pensions of 2.6 million Californians - could be underfunded to the tune of $500 billion.

A panel discussion will be followed by an hour-long Q&A session from the audience.

Thursday, January 20, 2011
6 to 8 p.m.

The Half Moon Bay Brewing Company
390 Capistrano Road, Princeton-by-the-Sea, Calif.

Admission and snacks are complimentary. Beer, wine, and other beverages will be available for sale at the event.

For more information:
Call 650-728-2739 or visit