Media Advisory: Bay Area Council to Hold Forum on California’s Unfunded Public Pension System

With tensions flaring all across the country over public pensions, tomorrow, March 9th at 8:30a.m., the Bay Area Council will bring together a panel of California’s leading voices from both sides of the debate for a discussion on the current state of California’s public pension system. The event, entitled, “Is California Headed for a Super Storm of Unfunded Pension Liabilities” will take place in San Francisco at the offices of SNR Denton, 525 Market Street, 26th Floor, from 8:30am to 11:00am.

“California’s public pension system has been described by some as a ‘time bomb’ or a ‘tsunami’ and by others as an over blown hoax,” said Jim Wunderman, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council.  “This forum is a chance to get down to the facts and see how much we actually owe, and to examine how to make reforms to get the state back on track.  With the cast of speakers we’ve assembled, we expect this to be a lively debate.”

Confirmed panelists include:

  • Jeff Adachi, San Francisco Public Defender
  • Bob Foster, Mayor of Long Beach
  • Marcia Fritz, President of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility
  • Dave Low, Chair of Californians for Health Care and Retirement Security
  • Joe Nation, Stanford Professor and former State Assemblymember
  • Harvey Robinson, President of the Retired Public Employees Association of California


  • Corey Cook, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good, University of San Francisco

Estimates vary wildly on just how large California’s unfunded pension liabilities actually are.  CalPERS and CalSTRS management maintain that their fund finances are sound, however, some analysts put the liability figure at $265 billion, and others project it to be as high as $737 billion.  To put that latter figure in perspective, it amounts to over seven times the total planned budget expenditures for the whole State of California in 2011.

The forum will also be streamed live online at starting at 8:45am. Viewers will have the opportunity to participate in the discussion by tweeting questions via Twitter during the forum, using the hashtag #BACpension. For those interested in hearing just the audio of the forum, a conference call number will also be available upon request.

*** All media planning to attend in person should RSVP to, 415-946-8725 ***

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