Tuesday, July 14, 2015

CalPERS Fail

L.A. Times:
The California Public Employees' Retirement System said it missed its return target by a wide margin, hurt by a sluggish global economy and an under-performing private equity portfolio.

The nation's largest public pension fund said its investments returned just 2.4% for its fiscal year, ended June 30, far below its 7.5% investment target.

In a conference call with reporters Monday, CalPERS' chief investment officer, Ted Eliopoulos, said the main culprit was a sluggish world economy that held down returns on its giant stock portfolio, which makes up 54% of the $301-billion fund.

The stock portfolio's return was only 1%, underperforming the 1.3% returns at its benchmark portfolio. Eliopoulos noted that the fund has done better than the 7.5% target over the previous three- and five-year periods.

“We try not to focus or get too excited about any one year's given return,” he said. “We look more meaningfully at longer time horizons.”
Well, if you look more meaningfully at longer time horizons, Ted, why are you only telling us about 3- and 5-years, and not your 10- or 15-year record? Cherry-picking much?
The system was only 77% funded as of June 30, 2014, the latest figures available.
The poor performance will mean yet another increase to Encinitas' already rapidly rising pension costs. Good thing we're skimping on road maintenance!

UPDATE: It's worse than we thought.
Recently newspapers have reported that CalPERS earned 2.4% over the last twelve months and contrasted that return with its 7.5% assumed rate of return. But what those newspapers have not reported is that CalPERS needs to earn much more than 7.5% per annum for its unfunded liability not to grow.

This is because (i) under US public pension fund accounting, liabilities grow at the assumed rate of return and (ii) currently, liabilities exceed assets. That means assets have to grow faster than the assumed rate of return in order to keep up with liabilities.

As a simplified example, let’s say a public pension fund has a 77% funding ratio, which means that it has assets equal to 77% of liabilities. For greater simplicity, let’s say it has assets of $77 and liabilities of $100, and therefore an unfunded liability of $23 (100-77). Because of item (i) above, liabilities grow 7.5% per annum. That means liabilities that today equal $100 will in one year equal $107.50. For the unfunded liability not to be larger than $23 at that time, that means assets have to grow from $77 to $84.50 (107.50-84.50 = 23). That means that the pension fund needs to earn 9.7% ($77 times 1.097 = 84.50). Anything less and the unfunded liability will grow.

This is why it’s so hard for US public pension funds to catch up once they fall behind. See this relevant article from The Economist.


  1. Dump a few more city services - have to pay those pensions first! Judging by the performance of the Chinese stock market, these investments are inherently risky and subject to collapse.

  2. Unless CalPERS has increased it efficiency, any numbers for the city don't represent today's news.
    The CAFR figures on unfunded pension liabilities is 2 years behind which would be 2012 CalPERS numbers. The next city annual financial report for fiscal year ending June 30, 2015 would only have CalPERS 2013 figures.

    1. So how can they claim that we are in great financial shape. We need a forensic audit now.

    2. "Trust me" is Blakespear's motto. Ignore that horrible scraping noise as the USS Encinitas hits the pension iceberg.

  3. Now there's an irony for you — CalPERS' chief investment officer is Greek.

  4. 1% gain on a stock portfolio in the year ending June 30 is shockingly low.

    An S&P index fund did north of 6% before dividends. There are blue chip companies with stable and reliable income streams with dividends at 4%.


    Lesson for everyone. Active managers cost money and usually underperform once their fees are accounted for.

  5. 7.15%, expense ratio: O.1%


  6. Blakespear says pensions are just like a mortgage so don't worry about it.

    1. The way our city spends our money reminds me of the stories of lottery winners who blow through fortunes and end up in debt. I don't consider the funds north of $300,000 for a lawyer who charged us six-figures to tell us that we didn't have a case--in her opinion. Why didn't they hire Everett DeLano or the author of our current General Plan, Kevin Johnson. I bet that THEY could have put up a good fight and maybe even won the case. If it was unwinnable, I would expect that they would have said so before charging us $100,000.

    2. 8:08- I am sure you are right. DeLano is an outstanding attorney and seems to have our best interests at heart, while still abiding by the law. That is a good attorney in my opinion.

    3. Gee Sabine isn't the ticket?

  7. Our road are crumbling and look as bad as San Diego and all Council can do is go into debt to buy unneeded art space and a fricken life guard tower for $13,000,000.

    Unbelievable. Dump all the incumbents.

  8. Sure hope Brust brings some financial sense to Encinitas, because this City Council doesn't have a clue and just keeps building more trophy projects as other needed projects do not move. I heard of another high speed accident on the drag strip north of Encinitas Blvd. How come that streetscape project is not moving. Pull the $3 million dollars of funding for the lifeguard tower and appropriate it towards the streetscape project. It has a much better return on investment and improves the safety and quality of life much greater than a lifeguard tower. If they need a new tower, by another plastic one like all the other areas. The city should not be building structures on prime towel area of the beach. Where is surfrider and the coastal commission on this one?

    Marco - You out there? Why not do some good for Encinitas and protect our beach instead of drunks?

    1. 6:20- Hard to protect something when one is a part of the problem. Marco needs to make money and I doubt that this is the cause he will take on. Give him something more high profile and watch him go for it. Happens every time. One thing about him, he is predictable.

    2. Surfrider is too busy whining about seawalls - a collection of quasi-environmentalists who are ill informed and can't see the bigger picture. Phony petroleum suited, stryofoam floating hypocrites.

  9. The Leucadia Streetscape plan cannot be an economic boost because it does not provide significantly more parking. Along with that downer, cramming five roundabouts at the north end and single-laning the southbound lanes will jam the traffic when it's anything but light.

    When the traffic is light, there will still be a speedway between Jupiter and El Portal. That's 1.2 miles.

    Leucadia Streetscape is the dumbest plan imaginable. Most people who know its details are against it. The city and the merchants' association push it because they think it will increase revenues. A plan that creates traffic jams and provides only 12 new parking spaces over 2.5 miles can't do that.

    1. You tell'em CRAP LOVER. We crap lovers love crap.
      Keep Leucadia CRAPPY.

  10. 10:12 Another rambling by Lynn, but a shorter version. Let's get those round abouts in soon.

    1. 10:12 wasn't me, jerk. But I agree, six roundabouts in less than two miles will cause more traffic jams, will hurt business, not help it, and will limit access/egress to the beach. Plus there would be more cut through traffic and slower emergency response times.

      Not to worry. All the City can afford is to pay staff and contractors for more and more studies, reports and plans. We can't afford five one lane roundabouts on many, many levels, and the Coastal Commission is likely to agree.

  11. 10:12, You're wrong. Keeping traffic flowing at a safer pace is a main goal of a lower speed limit, designated bike lanes and roundabouts.

    * Bike lanes have "narrowed" both sides of 101 for 2 years now if you haven't noticed and traffic as well as ever.
    * Nothing snotty against Lynn here, but roundabouts will greatly aid circulation, remove many unnecessary stops, and create safer left turns.
    * The slower speed limit has already made 101 safer.
    * The resuraced N 101 for 2 miles has made it safer.
    * 40 more parking spaces are designated for west 101, and with thanks to NCTD and Tony on its board, NCTD has allowed for a myriad of spaces on the east side of 101.
    * Regarding the "speedway" between Jupiter and and El Portal.
    a: There is still a red stop light at the half way mark at Leucadia Blvd half of the time.
    b: The speed limit was lowered to 35mph all of the time.
    c. The designated bike lane encourages drivers to favor one lane.

    Like it or not, Downtown Encinitas' Streetscape is a huge economic boost to Encinitas and makes it a hell of a lot safer and by far more appealing that it used to be. And its first phase was done without eminent domain or a penny frorm a Redevelopment Agency. The dumbest plan imaginable is no plan but continual neglect and decay.

    1. I didn't make that post about the disadvantages of roundabouts, 11:49. Please keep my name out of your pro roundabout propaganda, unless you are replying to a post I actually made, using my name.

      The speed limit is not lowered to 35 mph "all the time." It is only 15 MPH through roundabouts. Traffic comes to a standstill, already, during peak traffic periods, such as during the fair, and racing season.

      Do you drive on Leucadia Blvd much? There is almost constantly a backup at the roundabout at west of the traffic light at Orpehus. On that street, there are 11 stop lights between Camino Real and Coast Highway, two roundabouts and one four way stop. Installing two roundabouts did NOT take away any of the traffic lights.

      As others have noted, at problematic intersections, there are often traffic signals installed, later, at the cross-streets with roundabouts. That is very likely what will happen if and when the roundabout at La Costa is installed. That should be the first one to go in, per previous council, and because the City of Carlsbad is helping to pay for traffic mitigation at 101 and La Costa.

      The parking that Tony is working on with NCTD will have to be leased, paid for by the City, and, ultimately, those parking, perhaps. Right now, it's kind of the "wild west," with no parking citations being given for parking in the dirt, except when it interferes with a bus zone.

      Should all six roundabouts go in, there will be a net loss in parking, because some of the unpaved parking spaces, presently on the west side of the tracks, will be lost to the roundabouts themselves.

    2. Excuse me 2:47, but I never named you @ 11:49 or anywhere else. Names aren't really important here. Opinions and facts are.

      Yes of course, where the speed limit is not 35mph all the time, it is much less near and within each circle. Thanks for the correction. And true, the R's on Leuc Blvd did not remove any stop lights. But thankfully, they have prevented them and stop signs from popping up as per dangerous 20th century intersection rituals.

      The La Costa roundabout is too small to ever require stop lights. And yes, Carlsbad has already given us 3.5 million toward the construction of the La Costa roundabout.
      And thanks to NCTD for the wild west parking lot. I like your phrase. Future details of parking fees there however remain to be determined - if ever. Meanwhile, NCTD has not only been gracious to everyone on both sides of the tracks allowing parking, but have improved much of it with gravel and log barriers at no cost to users.

      As far as parking at corners on 101 being lost because of future roundabouts, that's not so. Curbs there are already painted red for about 30 feet on each side of each street and never have been parking spaces. Nice try.

    3. The parking which would be lost is the parking on the west side of the RR tracks, in the dirt, not parking on the west side of 101. But, with the parking that would be lost in the RR right of way, there will most likely be a net loss in parking. Any gain in parking by requiring back-in diagonal parking will be minimal, and more business would be lost than gained, through long drawn out construction, and from people avoiding the area due to never-ending traffic jams caused by reducing a circulation element highway down to one lane northbound and one lane southbound.

    4. 1:39, I don't think I've ever seen anyone park in the dirt within 100 feet of where roundabouts would "take away parking" at Grandview, Bishops Gate, Jupiter or El Portal. Have you?

    5. There is no parking on any of those streets!! Check your facts.

  12. I just got back from Europe (Paris and Rome) and guess what - roundabouts work! Whenever I was at a standstill in traffic it was because there was a 4 way intersection with a light. If the traffic was congested but moving slow - you guessed it - a roundabout!! Now how's this for a mind bender - in the really large roundabouts they have traffic lights!!! Oh my.......

    - The Sculpin

  13. Yes. Large roundabouts sometimes require lights. Ewwww.

  14. I don't often agree with Sculpin, but on this one I do. I've lived in Italy where, especially in Rome, there are roundabouts everywhere. And, with the traffic that CIty experiences, the roundabouts sure do help. I live close to the one on Santa Fe. It had its glitches at first, but now, I think most of the drivers have no problem navigating it. And, I haven't heard of any drunks crashing into the middle of it as happened in the beginning. It takes a while to get used to them, I will admit that. But after that, they do keep traffic flowing. At least that has been my experience.

    1. I don't often agree with Sculpin, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.

      But then he gets mad, because Sculpin is a registered trademark of Balast Point Brewery.

      It gets very confusing, but the point is, Sculpin is the Most Interesting Man In The World.

      Or a bottom feeder. Again, it's complicated.

    2. I don't always agree with 2:39, but when I do, I think we all could use him on council for gravity with a dash of seasoned humor.

  15. A quote comes to mind when I read the strong opinions against roundabouts:

    "It ain't ignorance causes so much trouble; it's folks knowing so much that ain't so."

    --Josh Billings, 19th Century American humorist.

  16. The crap master is at it again. That is the only crap being spread around here.

    Roundabouts in Europe and elsewhere are not what streetscam is trying to push on us here. All of ours are at t-street locations. Comparing ours with those others is invalid.

    Sure, they can work when there are cross streets with a fairly equal amount of traffic but our t-street intersections where these will go are not. The DOT does not support roundabouts at T-street intersections. Get that through your head, crap master. This has been repeated endlessly to you Charley boy/man/child and it never seems to sinks in.

    You can continue to ignore the fact that the DOT does not support these in our situation, as you have been and that is your choice to make. Crap on crap master.

    1. Whew, I would say anger management is a must for this person. Could this be Lynn again?

    2. "Exhibit 5-1 presents a diagram of vehicle-vehicle conflict points for a traditional three-leg (“T”) intersection and a three-leg roundabout. As the figure shows, the number of vehicle-vehicle conflict points for roundabouts decreases from nine to six for three-leg intersections."



    3. Good job, 5:48. But she still won't get it.

    4. That wasn't me. You are so obsessed with me, it's not funny.

    5. Debt forgiven. Taxpayers Screwed, Lynn free to spread her crap lies all over town.

      Lynn enjoy your walk tomorrow.

      The lynn label is nothing. I could do it in one second.

    6. Everyone is free to offer his or her opinion. Funny that you use the moniker that Lynn ascribed to you. You know of what you are full.

      There was no debt to forgive. If the taxpayers were screwed, they were screwed by past Council Members and a crooked city attorney for prosecuting a frivolous case to silence someone they wanted to shut up.

    7. From that same DOT link:

      "5.3.4 Bicyclists
      As shown in Exhibit 5-17, at British roundabouts bicyclists fare worse in terms of crashes at roundabouts than at signalized intersections. . .

      • People were more frequently killed and seriously injured per crash (+25 percent) on roundabouts than at signalized intersections;
      • Proportionally, two-wheel vehicle users were more often involved in crashes (16 percent) on roundabouts than at signalized intersections. Furthermore, the consequences of such crashes were more serious. . .

      All European countries report that a more careful design is necessary to enhance bicyclists’ safety. The type of bicycle crashes depends on the bicycle facilities provided at the roundabout. If there are no bicycle facilities, or if there is a bike lane on the outer area of the circulatory roadway, crashes typically occur between entering cars and circulating bicyclists as well as between cars heading into an exit and circulating bicyclists. Improperly placed signs on the splitter island may also be a contributing factor. As a result, most European countries have the following policies:

      • Avoid bike lanes on the outer edge of the circulatory roadway.
      • Allow bicyclists to mix with vehicle traffic without any separate facility in the circulatory roadway when traffic volumes are low, on single lane roundabouts operating at lower speeds (e.g., up to 8,000 vehicles per day in the Netherlands (4)).
      • Introduce separated bicycle facilities outside the circulatory roadway when vehicular and bicycle volumes are high. These separated bicycle facilities cross the exits and entries at least one car length from the edge of the circulatory roadway lane, adjacent to the pedestrian crossings. In some countries, bicyclists have priority over entering and exiting cars, especially in urban areas (e.g., Germany).

      Other countries prefer to give priority to car traffic showing a yield sign to bicyclists (e.g., Netherlands). The latter solution (i.e., separate bicycle facilities with vehicular traffic priority at the crossing points) is the standard solution for rural areas in most European countries."

  17. Another 3 legged roundabout wins an award. Just up the street on the old PCH in Carlsbad.


    I think Bitchy Witchy has a credibility problem. Like she has zero credibility.

    Sorry Bitchy!! Have a nice walk tomorrow. Haaa!

    1. Bicyclists at that intersection, have the option of using the rail trail corridor, separated from the highway.

      For roundabouts planned for 101 through Leucadia, there will be no alternative. Bicyclists will not have their eight foot wide bike lane, but will be forced to go through narrow one lane roundabouts with all of the northbound and southbound traffic, plus any traffic caused by someone wanting to access or egress the beach or their homes west of 101. At that location in Carlsbad, there are very few, if any homes, west of the highway. You are comparing apples and oranges, once again.

      Stop attacking me by attributing other people's posts to me, and calling me names. There are many besides me who do not feel that five T intersection roundabouts, narrowing a major circulation element to one lane northbound and one lane southbound, are a good idea.

  18. A speaker at tonight's council meeting asked the council to install temporary stop signs on 101 because of the speeding cars at 50 miles an hour and the wrecks in the last few weeks.

  19. 5:27 and any of the others who falsely claim Lynn is responsible for posting. She is not. I am and that no one addresses the fact that the DOT does not support roundabouts at T-street crossings continues to be ignored by the same old crap supporters.

    If the streetscape plan did not include these, you might have already have had some more community support, other than those who stand to directly profit from these innumerable roundabout sites.

    Consider giving up on this stupid part of your idea and just maybe the rest of your plan can gain some real traction.

    1. Please post your source for DOT guidelines.

      I posted the link above to the comprehensive DOT roundabout guidelines, which says nothing negative about three legged roundabouts.

      What's your source?

  20. Correct, 7:10. The DOT encourages roundabouts wherever they may be useful. In lockstep insurance companies do as well because of their proven record of less accidents which of course not only save more lives but save them more $.
    Yes 10:30, businesses do prosper from beautification and infrastructural improvements. Perhaps if Streetscape impeeded business you would have voted for it. What a sour sort. What do residents think? Ask the hundreds of them living at Sea Bluffe if their roundabout at Bishop's Gate will be useful or not. They are currently stuck with only one entrance / exit onto 101 that's a dangerous daily bastard. Similarly, lefts onto 101 are difficult at nearly every other exit onto 101 most of the time, "But Jupiter, Grandview and El Portal create too many roundabouts". Should we give up on this "stupid" part of Streetscape to gain some real traction? Its already in gear.

    1. If you, or Council, want to know what the public thinks, and not just special interests, this issue could go on the ballot in 2016 for under $30,000. That should have been done before another $800,000 was budgeted for more engineered plans.

      The best public needs assessment is a public vote.

    2. The plans resulting from decades of local public input have been decided already and will work very well for everyone, in this neighbor's opinion. Don't be so Del Martian and let it be.

    3. It's really quite simple.

      For future traffic, would you rather be Del Mar or Birdrock?

      You want to put something on the ballot? There's your ballot question.

    4. Lynn, have you kept your end of the bargain you cut with the city?? If not why not?? Keep the deal. KEEP THE DEAL.

    5. 6:58, Now you know they'll pipe in and say "we don't want to look like Birdrock!" But that wasn't the question was it?

    6. 2:57, Where do I send my dollar? All you need are 27,999 more obstructionists to get it on the ballot. I'm serious. I'll send you a dollar.

    7. The plans have not already been decided, as they have not gone through environmental review yet.

      All of the workshops were slanted toward pro-development interests in receiving mitigated negative impact declarations, and so that future development on and nearby the 101 corridor, through Leucadia, would not have to grade the intersections with roundabouts with a letter grade, projecting ahead to 2030, or beyond, that intersections would not receive F grades after redevelopment in the area.

      Also, at the workshops there were always many in attendance who opposed the plans for so many roundabouts in such a short stretch of highway. Only a roundabout at Grandview received what the consultants labeled as "enthusiastic support."

      At the most highly attended workshop, in 2008, well over 60% of those responding to the survey said no to roundabouts altogether. The roundabouts were first considered, through the roundabout lobbyists, in 2008. They have not been in the works in Encinitas for decades.

      Another survey was done in 2009, after another less well attended workshop, in which there was no alternative for "no roundabouts." The only alternatives were for traffic signals or five roundabouts, and for front in or back in parking.

      The surveys were not scientifically conducted. The consultants, Peltz and Associates are roundabout promoters/lobbyists, who go across the country, including to Florida, pushing roundabouts, and being paid handsomely to do so. Their fees were to include design for Phase I, but those turned out to be "cartoons" not engineered plans.

      Roundabouts, according to the Dept. of Transportation, work best when traffic at the cross streets is approximately equal. They would not work well in the situation, here, where there are so many in a row, with a narrow diameter, because of the RR tracks, and no through cross streets dissecting the five one lane roundabouts planned.

    8. Prove it.

      You are misrepresenting the DOT research.

      What the research shows is:

      • from a total capacity perspective, roundabouts are equal to or better than two way stop control in all traffic conditions, although the roundabout capacity advantage narrows as the proportion of minor street traffic relative to the major street declines.

      • if the minor street traffic is less than 10% of the major street, the capacity of a roundabout and two-way stop control are basically the same. (Exhibit 3-8, page 17, http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/00067/000673.pdf)

      • That's only considering capacity. Roundabouts also reduce total accidents, injury accidents, accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists, injury accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists. Basically, roundabouts are safer. (Exhibit 5-9, page 12, http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/00067/000675.pdf)

      • Roundabouts have a traffic calming effect. Even between roundabouts, if drivers know they will have to slow again, they accelerate less between roundabouts.

      •. Beautification. Roundabouts create a stage for landscaping and/or art.

      Basically, I call BS on you. You are a bottomless well of misinformation and misrepresentation. Please stop, you are making a fool of yourself, whoever you are.

    9. 8:00;
      1:10 believes is you say something long enough, it will make it so. No, our 3 legged roundabouts would not "work better" if there was more traffic coming from the side streets. It doesn't take a degree in physics to realize that.
      Bad examples for "Mitigated negative impact declarations" next to other roundabouts state-wide have already been requested on this blog to no reponse. But some here don't want any develoment here at all and figure the passage of Prop A isn't enough to protect Encinitas. They'd rather impose more dangersous "controlled" intersections on the highway, than to see what could be built on any corner anyway, even with a mitigated negative declaration of impact. Not so? Where's your examples? .

  21. That's a little harsh, don't you think?