Protect Our Pensions’ concern is the act of divestment politicizes pensions and potentially undermines the financial interest of pensions.
When I worked as a firefighter, my main job was to protect and serve my community. Since retirement, I’ve been trying to find new ways to do this through organizations and activism. One issue in particular has caught my eye, and I’m surprised no one really seems to be speaking out about it: divestment.
My concern is the act of divestment politicizes pensions and potentially undermines the financial interest of pensions. My pension is tied to the investment savvy of the DC pension board, which I feel strongly should make decisions based on financial interests, not political activism nor policy.
There are many different types of divestment and many sensitive feelings about each type of divestment. But, I started this group to see if others share my concerns about politicizing pensions –and it turns out they do. Our core beliefs are simple:
Don’t Politicize Pensions: State pensions are the livelihood for many retired state workers, including teachers, police officers, and firefighters. We have growing concerns around the politicizing of pensions – a movement that could be detrimental to the financial well-being of our pensions and our retirement savings.
Keep Your Fiduciary Responsibility: State treasurers and pension boards across U.S. states should help ensure investments are being made with only the sound financial consideration of the pension. A pension board or retirement board’s paramount fiduciary responsibility is to generate steady financial returns their pensioners and shareholders. This objective should not be undermined by a misguided political agenda..
Public Policy Debates Should Not Affect Investments: Public policy debates should not interfere with financial investment decision-making. Issues surrounding gun control, prison reform, and environmental preservation are all worthwhile and essential discussions. But, these discussions should not affect the financial holdings of public pension funds.
Our hope is that maybe together we can help change this growing trend. – James Short
Coalition Members Information
Council Member, Fountain Valley City Council
A long-time community activist and leader, Mark McCurdy was first elected to the Fountain Valley City Council in 2010 and reelected in 2014. Prior to his election he served on the city’s Traffic Advisory Commission and Housing Community Development Board, as well as served as President of the Fountain Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Council Member , Buena Park City Council
Elizabeth “Beth” Swift is currently serving her second term on the Buena Park City Council and was unanimously selected by her colleagues to serve as Mayor for 2017. A retired public school teacher, she also served as a member of the Buena Park School District Governing Board before her election to the City Council. She also currently serves as Chair of the Orange County Fire Authority.
Mayor Pro Tem , City of San Clemente
Tim Brown is currently serving as Mayor Pro Tem of San Clemente and has been on City Council for over 3 years. He was also selected to be a member of the General Plan Advisory Committee consulting on the update of San Clemente’s General Plan. Tim has also represented Council on the City’s Economic Development Committee, Coastal Animal Services Authority and Southern California Association of Governments, Safety/Quiet Zone initiatives and is the City Liaison to Camp Pendleton.
Mayor, City of Fullerton
Mayor Bruce Whitaker was elected to a two-year term on the Fullerton City Council in November 2010 and was reelected to a full four-year term in November 2012. Prior to being elected to the Fullerton City Council, Bruce Whitaker had served for three years as a Fullerton Planning Commissioner. He also currently serves as Director, District 10 of the Orange County Water District Board; the Santa Ana River Flood Protection Agency; the Water Advisory Committee of Orange County; and the Santa Ana Watershed Protection Agency.
Former Mayor of Tustin
Jerry Amante served his community through his ten years in public office as Council Member of Tustin, Mayor of Tustin, and Board Member and Chairman of several regional government agencies.
Board Member, Village of Skokie
Michele Bromberg was first elected to Skokie’s Board in 2001. Along with serving in a public office, Bromberg is responsible for planning and implementing state-wide policy for the uniform administration of the Illinois Nurse Practice Act and Rules in her role as the Nursing Coordinator for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and is also the Chairperson for the Illinois Center for Nursing Advisory Board.
Alderman, 21st Ward
Inspired to public service by his father, Howard Brookins is currently serving his fourth term as Alderman of the 21st Ward. He is also currently the Chairmen of the Committee Education, past chair of the Chicago City Council Black Caucus, and is a former Assistant Public Defender, Assistant States Attorney, and Special Assistant Attorney General.
Marc Brown has served as Trustee for West Deerfield Township. He attended George Washington University and DePaul and now is the owner of a successful cleaning business which operates throughout the Chicagoland area.
Mayor Pro Tem, City of Rancho Palos Verdes
Throughout his professional career and personal life, Brian Campbell has always strived to serve his community. His current occupation as mayor pro tem of Rancho Palos Verdes is no exception. Prior to his mayoral duties, Campbell built a career in commercial real estate and was also an officer in the U.S. Army where he took part in many assignments, including a tour in Korea.
President & CEO, Orange County Taxpayers Association
Carolyn Cavecche currently serves as President and CEO of the Orange County Taxpayers Association. Cavecche has over a decade of public policy experience from serving on numerous city, county and regional governing boards, including serving as Mayor of the City of Orange for six years.
Council Member, City of Tustin
A Tustin native, Doug Davert is currently a partner at the law firm Davert & Loe, which specializes in real estate, land use and business matters. He also serves as a Judge ProTem for the Long Beach/Los Angeles Superior Courts. Davert has a long and continuing record of community service, both in Tustin and in Orange County. He is currently a Council Member for the City of Tustin and was previously mayor of Tustin in 2006. Davert also served on the Tustin Planning Commission as chairman and vice chairman, the Tustin Pride Committee as chairman and secretary, the Area Council for Fine Arts as secretary, and on the Tustin Old Town Association.
Former Council Member, City of San Diego
Carl DeMaio served on the San Diego City Council from 2008 to 2012, and narrowly lost the race for Mayor in November 2012. In 2000, DeMaio founded the Performance Institute, a non-partisan, private think tank dedicated to reforming government through the principles of performance, transparency, competition and accountability. Under DeMaio, Performance Institute grew to become the largest government reform think tank in the nation and the leading authority on performance-based management in government, law enforcement, non-profits and schools.
In 2003, DeMaio also founded the American Strategic Management Institute (ASMI), which provides training and education in corporate financial and performance management.
Dr. John C. Eastman
Henry Salvatori Professor of Law & Community Service, Dale E. Fowler School of Law at Chapman University
Dr. John Eastman is the Henry Salvatori Professor of Law & Community Service and former Dean at Chapman University’s Dale E. Fowler School of Law. He is also the founding director of the Claremont Institute’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, on whose behalf he has appeared before the Supreme Court of the United States in more than one hundred cases of constitutional significance. A former law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas, Eastman has a Ph.D. in Government from the Claremont Graduate School, a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, and a B.A. from the University of Dallas. He is Chairman of the Federalist Society’s Federalism & Separation of Powers practice group as well as a Chairman of the Board of the National Organization for Marriage.
Chief Executive Officer, Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Reuben Franco is the President and CEO of the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Prior to joining the OCHCC, Reuben spent 16 years in the banking industry, where he served as a lender to numerous entrepreneurs in Southern California. Reuben’s current work with the OCHCC is focused on advocating on behalf of business at the local, state and federal level and providing the needed resources it takes to help Orange County Businesses succeed.
Mayor Pro Tem, City of Aliso Viejo
Dave Harrington has been an active member of his community since moving to Orange County at the age of six. He served in law enforcement for over 28 years, coached several community sports leagues, helped build homes with Habitat for Humanity, and began a nonprofit organization to help orphanages around the world. Now Harrington is serving his community as Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Aliso Viejo.
Board Member, Pontiac P.R.O.U.D
Tisha Harty is a healthcare worker from Pontiac, IL and is on the board of Pontiac P.R.O.U.D. She has been a social worker for 23 years and has been in the health care industry for 14 years. She has great passion for what she does and believes serving the needs of the elderly in her community gives her purpose.
Science Teacher (ret.), Detroit Public School System
Radio Host, “Get Down to Business With Shalom Klein”
Shalom Klein is a sought-after business consultant, well regarded community activist and entrepreneur. Shalom hosts the popular “Get Down to Business with Shalom Klein” radio show in Chicago. Shalom has worked with businesses and community organizations around the country in developing strategies for external affairs and marketing success.
Siskiyou County Sheriff
Sheriff Lopey has been serving his country as a peace officer for nearly 38 years. He started his career as a Reserve Police Officer for the Vacaville Police Department while attending California State University, Sacramento and has since advanced quickly through the ranks. Sheriff Lopey is a decorated officer who also belongs to a number of law enforcement organizations including the California State Sheriffs’ Association, National Sheriffs’ Association, California State Coroner’s Association, California Peace Officers’ Association and several veterans’ organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and Marine Corps League.
Member, IUOE Local 150
Robert “Bobby” McDonald
President, Orange County Black Chamber
McDonald is president and executive director of the Black Chamber of Commerce of Orange County, where he is credited with expanding the chamber’s membership, due to what members say is his creativity and innovation. He also developed the chamber’s educational outreach programs, including the Bricks and Bridges program and the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Program with Christ Our Redeemer AME Church in Irvine. He received the Human Relations Leadership Award from the Orange County Human Relations Commission in 1999, and in 2000, was named the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Millennial Man of the Year.
Former Employee, State of Illinois & Pension Holder
Board Member, Eastern Municipal Water District
Paul was re-elected as Board Member for Easter Municipal Water District in 2014. He has been a board member since 2007 and has worked at various levels of government for more than 20 years. Previously Paule served as Board President from 2013-2014 and is on the board’s Executive Committee, Administrative Committee, and the Ad Hoc Committees for the Hemet/San Jacinto Groundwater Management Plan and the Lake Hemet Municipal Water District. Currently, he also serves as a liaison with Western Municipal Water District and the Soboba Tribal Committee.
Mayor Pro Tem, City of Costa Mesa
Leading the charge to provide more transparency and efficiency to citizens of Costa Mesa, Jim Righeimer currently serves as mayor pro tem for the city. During his time as City Council Member, and earlier, Planning Chairman and Commission Member, Righeimer has made it his goal to streamline city government, reduce pension liabilities and provide improved services to Costa Mesa.
Ambassador, Canton Chamber of Commerce
Jason Rockhold is a Canton alum and lifelong resident possessing a degree in Business Management after attending Lincoln College, St. Ambrose University and Western Illinois University. He is a Canton Chamber of Commerce ambassador, Fulton County TRIAD Treasurer as well as a traveling softball coach for his daughters.
Vice President, Dempster Street Merchants Association
Yitzchak Rosenberg is a CPA and financial planner in West Rogers Park, and has been a business owner for two decades. He currently serves as Vice President of the Dempster Street Merchants Association and is a frequent volunteer for many community organizations, including The ARK and Shalva.
Council Member, City of La Habra
Tim Shaw was first elected to the City Council of La Habra in 2008 and served as Mayor in 2012. Practicing his belief in the importance of civic involvement, Shaw currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Orange County Transportation Authority and has previously worked in the office of a U.S. Congressman, the Governor, an Orange County Supervisor, and a State Senator.
Former Assistant City Manager, City of Tustin
Christine Shingleton is the owner of Community Strategic Advisors, which was formed in July 2012 after Christine’s retirement from the public sector. With 40 years of experience, Christine assists private and public clients in pursuing development opportunities and working through complex development projects with government agencies. She is viewed on a national level as a foremost expert in planning and redevelopment, including development of former military bases and in public sector negotiations of complex real estate transactions.
CEO, Hispanic Chambers of Commerce of San Francisco
Carlos Solórzano-Cuadra has a strong background as a chamber and business executive with over 20 years of experience. He is the current CEO of the Hispanic Chambers of Commerce of San Francisco and has previously held many other leadership positions including: CEO of the Latin American & Caribbean Chamber, President and Board Member of the Solano Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Executive Director of the Nicaraguan-American.
Deputy Fire Chief (ret.), Washington, D.C., Fire Department
A native Washingtonian, James Short is a retired deputy fire chief with the D.C. Fire Department where he served for many years. During his time as a firefighter, Short became interested in the pension process and learning what he could do for his fellow retirees.