During his talk about pensions before county, city and labor leaders in Petaluma on Thursday, former Assemblyman Joe Nation showed a satirical video concerning the county’s pension obligation bonds. It involved a mock TV interview between a Larry King-type personality and someone representing Sonoma County. The subject was the county’s $400 million shortfall on pensions and its decision to issue bonds – pension obligation bonds – to deal with that debt.
It was difficult to hear the video that morning in the large hall at the Sheraton Sonoma County, but it clearly left a few county employees grumbling.
When county Administrator Veronica Ferguson got up to talk during the last session of the conference, she said she wished Nation had stuck around so she could talk to him about the video. (Nation left after his talk and Q&A session)
So who made this video? Nation had mentioned casually to me that day that it was put together by a Bill Sharpe. When I contacted Nation this week to get a link to the video, I asked for more background on the guy.
His answer: “Bill Sharpe is a Stanford Graduate School of Business professor emeritus. He won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1990,” Nation wrote in an e-mail. “ A very ‘sharp’ guy who is obviously interested in the pension issue. We trade periodic emails on the state of public finance and pensions, in particular.”
Oh, that Bill Sharpe. I guess he has credibility.
- Paul Gullixson