David Wescoe, the administrator of the city of San Diego’s pension fund, showed up at today’s City Council budget hearing and said there is no reason to panic over the staggering stock market losses suffered by the city’s pension fund in recent months.
Quoting uber-investor Warren Buffett, Wescoe said: “Over the long term, the stock market news will be good.” He went on to say that the city should avoid short-term mistakes “based on panic and fear.”
Wescoe disclosed that the pension fund had lost 10.8 percent year-to-date as of Sept. 30, and said that if the market does not come back, it will be “bad for us — and I don’t want to sugarcoat it.”
Then, knowing that City Attorney Michael Aguirre would talk next on the pension deficit, Wescoe said the data Aguirre would present is “not good data,” and disseminating that data is “irresponsible.”
Then it was Aguirre’s turn. He displayed charts showing the city’s contributions to the pension system since 2005, and $600 million in losses the fund has suffered since June 30.
“We have a pension system that is sucking all the resources out of our city,” Aguirre said. He went on to cite the fund’s estimated $2.78 billion deficit, a figure that has more than doubled in the past year.
Aguirre concluded by again advocating that the city consider bankruptcy. “If you go into reorganization, you don’t cut libraries, you don’t cut essential services,” he said.