Printed letters, October 16, 2012
In the Oct. 2 edition of The Daily Sentinel was an article entitled “State retirement plan in peril, official says.” I would like to respond publicly to two statements attributed to State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, a current PERA ex- officio board member.
First, he believes the system does not have “meaningful transparency” and second, the state is “operating under the false premise” of 2010’s Senate Bill 1.
Stapleton filed a lawsuit against Colorado PERA for not providing the information he requested concerning individual records of the top 20 percent of Colorado PERA retirees based on benefit level.
Denver District Court Judge Edward D. Bronfin ruled in favor of PERA by stating, “The treasurer — just like any Trustee of the PERA Board — is not entitled to unlimited, unfettered access to individual PERA member and benefit recipient information which is rendered confidential by statue. ... Colorado law requires PERA to maintain the confidentiality of ‘all information’ in PERA’s member records.”
Senate Bill 1, signed by the governor in February 2010, had the following provisions:
It reduces PERA’s liabilities and returns PERA to long-term sustainability. Ninety percent of the savings are from members, retirees, and new hires. All PERA divisions are expected to be close to fully funded in 30 years. PERA board and members, retirees and employer organizations supported SB 1. PERA will usually earn higher returns than individuals.
PERA’s investment program is designed to produce attractive risk-adjusted returns over long periods. PERA’s financial projections are based on an 8 percent annual rate of return. PERA is a long-term investor so that doesn’t mean that it will make the 8 percent benchmark every year. PERA expects the rate will be higher some years and lower others, but average 8 percent over the long term.
Colorado has over 96,000 retirees and the benefit payments made to Colorado retirees have far-reaching effects. Colorado PERA makes payments to benefit recipients who reside in every county in Colorado. Western Colorado, which includes Mesa County, has over 6,000 retirees who contribute over 197 million dollars to the economy of western Colorado.
Much PERA information is readily available to any interested party. Ask any PERA retiree.
Turn nation’s risky course around by getting out to vote
As we face a very critical election, one must consider what is at risk. There has never been a clearer contrast between the candidates, especially with the presidential race.
As we look for guidance in this regard, great resources are available. One is a film, “Last Ounce of Courage.” This movie frames what is most at risk today — our freedom as Americans.
My father fought on the shores of France. It cost him his health, and it haunted him for the rest of his life. But he loved this country, and never once complained about what it cost him.
Today we are burying the last of the greatest American generation, our World War II vets. These men gave their all for our freedom and it changed the world for the better. Do we want to risk losing this heritage of freedom?
Consider this: We have a president who has leaked extremely sensitive information to compromise our security, selected czars who are appointed officials with no accountability to anyone except the president, has alienated our best friend in the Mideast — Israel — and has cozied up to the Muslim leaders of the world. He has not led in the Arab Spring, which has become a nightmare.
Further, he has spent the last four years apologizing to the world about the success and generosity of the American people.
Remember, he said he would get economic recovery done in one term or be replaced. But instead, for four years he has blamed President Bush and anyone else he could while implementing his failed policies, including a bureaucratic nightmare called “The Affordable Health Care Plan,” i.e. Obamacare.
If he gets re-elected, this country will be changed forever and we will give up freedoms we never imagined we would ever lose.
Let’s vote and support this country. We have the greatest country the world has ever seen. Let’s not be defeated by the negative powers out there today. Americans who love this country and its heritage can make this election a turnaround event if they would all vote.
Experience, dedication make Gallegos right for CU board
Short, sweet and to the point: This community, our community, must, in my clear view, elect Glen Gallegos to the CU Board of Regents. Our dedicated and well-informed current CU regent, Tillie Bishop, is retiring his board tenure this year. An exceptionally well-qualified Glen Gallegos has Bishop’s full endorsement.
Gallegos has more than 30 years in education at all levels. Beginning as a school teacher, he climbed up the education ladder to become assistant superintendent of schools for Mesa Valley School District 51, and then became a trustee at Mesa State College, now CMU. Gallegos is also a successful businessman. He knows well how to successfully manage educational operating budgets during hard economic times. In these economic times, CU and we need this know-how.
As a Mesa State College trustee, Gallegos was exceptionally instrumental in bringing about the academic alliance between Mesa State and CU to found and establish an accredited mechanical engineering program, to be totally taught in Grand Junction, with our local graduates being granted a CU engineering degree.
After only the first four years, we have nine local graduates that have earned CU degrees in engineering. With Gallegos as our next CU regent, we can maintain our direct connection with CU to continue to grow our CMU-CU engineering program.
S. JOHN ARCHULETA
US can give UN more aid in addressing key issues
Oct. 24 is United Nations Day. I would like to call attention to the essential role that such an institution plays in our world community.
Besides all of the humanitarian efforts of the United Nations, today’s world is ever in need of collaborative discussion and negotiation. Even though it took several efforts to get the UN established (consider the League of Nations), such a worldwide collaborative body was necessary and inevitable.
As we realize our commonality as citizens of planet Earth, we need to negotiate common concerns of world peace, human rights and environmental stewardship. We are no longer isolated communities or even isolated nations. We are a world community, and what each local group of people does affects our entire globe in one way or other. Our current effects of climate change are just beginning to awaken our whole globe to its seriousness.
We, as a country, can pay our proportionate dues, give more serious consideration to such UN documents as the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the Agenda 21 document for environmental sustainability, and appoint notable representatives such as former President Jimmy Carter. We need to show the world our collaborative seriousness by upgrading our own participation.