Index
Monday
Aug032015

SACRAMENTO: California Public Employees' Retirement System, disclosure, private equity performance bonuses/"carried interest": "CalPERS' private equity investing fees are expected to be 'ginormous'" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "CalPERS' private equity investing fees are expected to be 'ginormous'" - From the LAT:

CallPERS is finally about to reveal how much it really pays Wall Street for its most rarefied services — and taxpayers can expect a dose of sticker shock.

Last month, the California Public Employees' Retirement System announced with some fanfare that it would disclose the full amount it pays for private equity investing, the high-stakes, high-reward business of buying and selling whole companies dominated by massive global players such as Carlyle Group, Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts and Blackstone Group.

At issue are the performance bonuses, known as carried interest, which for decades have been collected by Wall Street giants as part of their compensation, but have not been disclosed by pension funds to the public. Typically, the bonuses are 20% of profits over a certain target that come on top of a 2% management fee, a formula known as 2-and-20.

Private equity observers say the figure will be big, and its release could usher in a new era of greater disclosure and more public pressure to lower fees. "All pension funds are going to be embarrassed when they have to reveal just how much they are actually paying private equity in performance fees," said Eileen Appelbaum, senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a Washington think tank, and author of "Private Equity at Work: When Wall Street Manages Main Street."  "And once CalPERS publishes what it has paid, it will be difficult for CalSTRS (California State Teachers' Retirement System) and other pension funds to refuse to do so. The amounts are going to be ginormous, and public officials are going to ask whether these payments ... are warranted."

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Private equity defenders say the carried interest issue has been wildly misunderstood and that what critics call a "fee" is actually just a share of profits taken out by private equity firms before delivering investors' share, known as the "net return." As such, it doesn't need to be reported as a pension fund expense. What's more, they say, carried interest costs have always been available to investors in audited financial statements, even if not always in a uniform format ......................

Monday
Aug032015

AFTERNOON MEMOS: L.A. Dept. of Water and Power, "Owner takes action after DWP bloodies his dog"; San Pedro, "San Pedro's waterfront Red Car draws support as it nears closure"; 2016 presidential election, "Marist suspends primary poll to avoid being part of debate"; national politics/Republicans, "Is GOP resurrecting its 'war on women' image?" ....

***Various items this afternoon from across the spectrum of politics and/or public policy....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Owner takes action after DWP bloodies his dog"

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Is GOP resurrecting its 'war on women' image?"

* Daily Breeze:  "San Pedro's waterfront Red Car draws support as it nears closure"

* Sacramento Bee (McClatchy D.C.):  "Marist suspends primary poll to avoid being part of debate"

Monday
Aug032015

POLITICS (National): 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump, charitable donations?: "Proof of Trump's charity giving elusive" ....  

I San Francisco Chronicle (AP):  "Proof of Trump's charity giving elusive" - From the Chronicle:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump, widely believed to be the wealthiest American ever to run for president, is nowhere among the ranks of the country's most generous citizens, according to an Associated Press review of his financial records and other government filings.

Trump has said he donated $102 million worth of cash and land to philanthropic and conservation organizations over the past five years. But his campaign has provided little documentation for most of these contributions, and tax filings of the Donald J. Trump foundation show Trump has made no charitable contributions to his own namesake nonprofit since 2008. Without an endowment, the fund has continued to give grants only as a result of contributions from others.

Even the $102 million would not impress the wealthy elite whom Trump counts as his peers. Billionaires like Michael Bloomberg, George Lucas and Warren Buffett have both given far more and pledged to donate most of their wealth to charity during their lifetimes.

It is possible that Trump has been donating money anonymously through avenues other than his foundation, whose tax records the AP reviewed. But pressed by the AP on the details of his contributions, Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks provided a partial list of donations that appeared to correspond with the foundation's gifts — indicating that Trump may be counting other people's charitable giving as his own. "I give to hundreds of charities and people in need of help," Trump said in an emailed response to questions from the AP about how he tallied his own philanthropy. "It is one of the things I most like doing and one of the great reasons to have made a lot of money."

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request that it identify donations that Trump himself gave. Trump has not released his own tax records even though some other presidential candidates have disclosed theirs. Such documents would likely provide a clearer picture of his giving ...........................

Monday
Aug032015

MORNING MEMOS: Orange County, "Even with O.C. resources strained, cost-of-living increases are pushing more into the '100K club' for pensions"; Bay Area, "Invedstigators tight-lipped about stolen gun used in pier killing"; Los Angeles, "At Temple and Glendale, an only-in-L.A. tableau that's easy to pass by" ....

***Various items this morning from across the spectrum of politics, policy and/or urban affairs....

* Los Angeles Times (Steve Lopez):  "At Temple and Glendale, an only-in-L.A. tableau that's easy to pass by"  

* Orange County Register:  "Even with O.C. resources strained, cost-of-living increases are pushing more into the '100K club' for pensions"

* San Francisco Chronicle (Matier & Ross):  "Investigators tight-lipped about stolen gun used in pier killing"

Monday
Aug032015

POLITICS (National, State, Local/Maryland): Follow-up, "Friendliest town on the Eastern Shore," racial tension, report/analysis: "A Maryland Town Fires Its Black Police Chief, Exposing a Racial Rift" .... 

***Following up on earlier items noted here ("Friendliest town on the Eastern Shore," firing of black police chief)....

* New York Times:  "A Maryland Town Fires Its Black Police Chief, Exposing a Racial Rift" - From the NYT:

POCOMOKE CITY, Md. — Kelvin Sewell figured he had landed his dream job in 2010, when he retired as a Baltimore police officer to help run the tiny 16-member force in this little riverfront city, which calls itself “the friendliest town on the Eastern Shore.” A year later he became its first African-American police chief.

Blacks and whites have coexisted, sometimes uneasily, in Pocomoke for centuries, but Chief Sewell, with his easygoing manner, quickly fit in. He prodded officers to patrol on foot, pleasing business owners. He helped poor students fill out college applications. Crime, everyone agrees, went down on his watch. But the chief’s abrupt dismissal in June, without explanation, by a white mayor and majority white City Council that voted along racial lines, has torn Pocomoke asunder, wrecking old friendships and exposing a deep racial rift in this community of roughly 4,100 people, split almost evenly between black and white.

The drama in Pocomoke is a tiny slice of America’s searing national conversation about race, playing out largely in big cities like Baltimore, St. Louis and most recently, Cincinnati, around police mistreatment of African-Americans. A recent New York Times/CBS News Poll found nearly six in 10 Americans, including majorities of blacks and whites, think race relations are generally bad, and nearly four in 10 think they are getting worse .......................