Quarter of a trillion

If you’ve lived in California long and read your daily paper, you’ve scanned (and skipped) dozens of stories over the years about CalPERS. The state’s employee-retirement system seems always to be in the news with word of its investment choices and retirement challenges.

But unless you or a family member are depending on retirement benefits from CalPERS, it’s probably been easy to pass those stories by as having nothing whatever to do with you.

Guess what? It’s simply not so.

As Ralph Brave illuminates in “It’s a CalPERS world” the institution is relevant to more than just its million-and-a-half members. In fact, the investment choices of this $246 billion fund (that’s a quarter-of-a-trillion bucks!) have major and far-reaching consequences for corporations and countries around the globe. And what makes all this really intriguing is that the system has initiated investment strategies that have to do with societal goals related to the environment and human rights, pursuing what former state treasurer Phil Angelides has famously called “the double-bottom line.”

Can CalPERS really do well by doing good? Find out here.

To switch to another subject: It’s time to introduce you to Matt Coker, the talented fellow who will be taking over as SN&R’s new editor. When asked to supply an autobiographical paragraph that would introduce him to staff here, Matt came up with the following: “After 13 years working at Southern California daily newspapers, Matt Coker finally graduated to alternative newsweeklies with the 1995 launch of OC Weekly, where he was hired as calendar editor and one of the first four editorial employees. He later became managing editor and news editor and film editor and Web editor, and when that became too much to fit on his business card, it was all condensed to executive editor. Back in the daily days, his column on the passing of Richard Nixon—which included the memorable line “Ding dong Dick is dead”—drew vehement reader complaints, an advertising boycott, international headlines, two or three death threats and one bomb threat.”

Huzzahs to all that! Join me in welcoming Matt to SN&R.