PERSWatch.net will sponsor a “CalPERS Candidates’ Forum,” moderated by the League of Women Voters of Sacramento County, on Wednesday, July 6, 2011 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The forum will take place in the CalPERS Auditorium, Lincoln Plaza North, 400 P St., Sacramento, California. Free parking will be available under the building. Enter on the Q Street side between 3rd and 5th Streets.
As discussed below, no new information is forthcoming from CalPERS regarding the candidates. Candidate statements and videos remain unchanged for the runoff. Although you may find some new information on candidate websites, you know these are essentially ads, created to put candidates in the best light possible. At our forum you can put candidates on the spot with tough questions and compare them side by side.
Democracy is a two way street. It works best when an educated electorate fully participates and evaluates the candidates – their experience, qualifications, platform, dedication – whatever you place as high priorities. Hopefully, engagement with members continues after the election to ensure directors are truly representing our interests.
In the first round of the current election only 14% of members voted. Perhaps low turnout is attributable to a low interest or knowledge, a declining sense that voting as a civic duty, the difficulty of voting, or limited contact with the candidates. Whatever the reason, I personally can’t remember a time when the stakes were higher.
Both candidates running in the Special Runoff Election, to fill the Member-At-Large Position B vacancy, have confirmed their attendance. The forum is open to all CalPERS members, media and the general public and is free of charge. Attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions to the candidates via question cards, available upon arrival. League volunteers will group and consolidate questions submitted in order to avoid repetition and cover a broad range of material.
No food or drinks will be allowed in the Auditorium. Seating is limited. Please minimize the use of perfume and cologne out of respect for those with asthma or chemical sensitivities. In addition, please arrive several minutes in advance so the program can start on time without distraction.
Since there was no majority vote winner in the balloting held earlier this year, a runoff election will be held between the two candidates who received the highest number of votes, Michael Bilbrey and Richard H. Ross. As a result of a random drawing, Bilbrey’s name will appear first on the ballot.
CalPERS members as of June 1, 2011 are eligible to vote in the runoff election. Ballot packages will be mailed beginning June 30, 2011 and must be postmarked or received by CalPERS on or before July 28, 2011 in order to count. Unofficial election results will be available online in mid-August 2011. Below are links to documents previously posted by CalPERS and you can click on candidate names to go to their campaign sites.