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Carol Platt Liebau

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John Campbell

John Campbell (R-Irvine) is a California State Senator representing the 35th District in Orange County. He represents the cities of Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach and Cypress. He can be reached through his Senate website and through the website for his California Senate campaign. [go to Campbell index]

The Song Remains The Same
From Assemblyman to Senator, but...

[John Campbell] 12/24/04


Yes, no more reports from Assemblyman John Campbell. I was sworn in as Senator of the 35th district on December 6th. On to a new office, but many of the same issues and problems.

Ross Johnson

The man whose seat I now occupy, but whom I could never replace, is former Senator and Assemblyman Ross Johnson. Senator Johnson served Orange County in the legislature over a career which spanned 26 years, starting in the era before term limits. During that time, Ross was Republican leader for both the Assembly and the Senate. Ross was known as being one of the most effective legislators in Sacramento. He was a tenacious fighter for Republican causes and issues. Even in his final year in office as a member of the minority party, he shepherded through major political reform to blunt the French/Louisiana style primary. During these 26 years, Ross amassed a list of legislative accomplishments too long to list, but his record demonstrates his commitment to fiscal responsibility and strong support of limited taxation. But perhaps most notably, the halls of the Capitol will remember Ross as the consummate senator, a party stalwart and the person everybody, Republicans and Democrats alike, turned to when a problem needed to be solved. But he never forgot his home in Orange County and the Senator helped clean up the Back Bay in Newport Beach and took care of many other local needs here in Orange County. As citizens, we will miss him. Ross, enjoy your well deserved retirement, and thank you for all that you did for us.

Calpers Pensions

I have been telling you for months about the coming crisis in state and local pension funds caused by overly generous pensions and politically motivated lower investment returns. Recently, the President of Calpers, Sean Harrigan was removed from his position. This is long overdue, but it remains to be seen whether this one change will return Calpers to an investment strategy that seeks high returns over their current political agenda. Some examples of how Calpers of late has used its financial clout to become an organization of political advocacy rather than an investment organization are as follows:

  • Harrigan and Calpers asked for the resignation of the CEO of Safeway during the grocery strike and threatened to sell the $77 million of Safeway stock owned by Calpers unless they accepted the union's contract offer. Arguably, Calpers was threatening to sell a stock unless they paid their employees more and reduced their earnings. Not exactly what most investors are looking for.
  • Calpers called for the resignation of Warren Buffet from the board of Coca Cola because he also served on the audit committee of that same company.
  • Calpers threatened a company that had 3 interrogators involved in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison disputes. Calpers, through a State Treasurer Phil Angelides letter, said that the company executives should "get out of denial" and be "held...accountable for any misconduct that has hurt both shareholders and the country". While the Treasurer and Calpers were lambasting the company politically and suggesting that it officers should be removed, the stock has risen over 50% and is still rising.
  • And recently, General Motors, along with other car companies, has filed a lawsuit against the state of California to put a stay on the Davis administration's global warming regulations for cars. GM believes that this is the exclusive regulatory right of the federal government. Calpers is threatening to disinvest in anything involving General Motors unless they drop the suit.

Why should you care if Calpers sacrifices returns for a political agenda? Because if their returns do not cover the defined benefit pensions offered to state employees, then your tax money will be used to make up the difference. Over the last 5 years taxpayer contributions to Calpers have risen from $200 million to over $2 billion this past year according the Legislative Analyst. And continued poor returns will mean these big numbers will get even bigger.


Even though, as most of you know, I am a big USC football fan and the BCS did properly put the Trojans in the national championship game this year, those of you Cal Bear fans definitely got a raw deal. Cal should be in the Rose Bowl, just like SC should have been in the Sugar Bowl last year. The BCS stinks and we should recall it. In the meantime, I am a good California State fan. Go Trojans, Bears and Bruins!

Until 2005, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year! CRO



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