“The ebb and flow of the markets is one thing. Then you have decision-makers, particularly at the state level, that as soon as the projections get rosy, they start handing out more money. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a benefit proposal on the table as these unfunded liabilities are perceived to be going down. And again, the taxpayers will get stuck holding the bag.” The record LACERA assets – which mirror an 11.2 percent gain in the California Public Employees Retirement System fund that pushed it to a record $200.1 billion last year – comes amid growing concerns about how public agencies are going to pay for the enormous unfunded liabilities, the difference between the assets and liabilities. In California, taxpayers are on the hook for an estimated $110 billion to $185 billion in unfunded pension and benefit liabilities. Nationwide, taxpayers are exposed to more than $350 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. These debts have grown significantly since 2000 as public pensions have become increasingly generous, boosting retirees’ monthly checks, making it easier for employees to retire earlier, and spending more on health benefits. National pension expert Stephen D’Arcy, a professor of finance at the University of Illinois, said the question of whether the improving stock market will reduce the unfunded liabilities significantly depends on elected officials. “In the long run, we can’t count on investment returns themselves bailing us out of the problem,” D’Arcy said. “We still have to have the discipline to fund the plans on a regular basis to meet the long-term needs. So if the public entities continue to put the funding in that is required, that coupled with some very good years in returns, will solve the problem. “What I’d be concerned about is if public officials look at the great investment returns, and then cut back on annual funding thinking they don’t need to put the additional funding in.” Troy Anderson, (213) 974-8985 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card “I think it’s great news,” county Chief Administrative Officer David Janssen said. “We tend to forget that the markets are cyclical challenges. They go down and they go back up. So the continued pressure on the county to fund the unfunded liability is greatly lessened by this. “I think (the unfunded liability) will go pretty close to zero. That’s what happened in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It went from a huge deficit to a surplus. It’s moving in that direction again.” George Passantino, a senior fellow at the Reason Foundation in Los Angeles, acknowledged the fund gains, but noted that the county issued $2 billion in pension bonds in 1994 to pay the plan’s unfunded liabilities, a debt the county will not pay off until 2010-11. And Passantino said Janssen’s predictions are too optimistic and that the county should focus on paying off existing pension debts, which total about $300 million a year. “That’s a roll of the dice that taxpayers should be a little concerned about,” Passantino said. “I’m sure there were a lot of attitudes similar to that in 1999 that, ‘We’re in good shape and it’s smooth sailing ahead.’ I’m not convinced that’s the case. Investment income from a gaining stock market and a hot real estate market helped boost Los Angeles County’s pension fund to a record $32 billion last year, the highest level in five years, county officials said Wednesday. The 11 percent increase is welcome news for the Los Angeles County Employee Association fund, which had faced soaring unfunded liabilities amid promised increased retiree pensions and rising health care costs and workers’ compensation claims. Officials said the boost – which pushed the fund over its previous record of $31.6 billion in 2000 – will help offset about $700 million of the fund’s $5.6 billion in unfunded liabilities last year. And the taxpayer contribution to the fund – which jumped from $522 million in 2003-04 to $750 million last fiscal year – is expected to increase more slowly, to about $779 million this fiscal year.
Since you’re here… Topics Share on LinkedIn US sports Read more Share on Twitter ‘She had changed’: Did a concussion push Kelly Catlin to a breaking point? Support The Guardian … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Concussion in sport The complaint, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, claims Martin’s concerns over her injuries and increasingly severe symptoms were “met with indifference and even disdain” by head coach Lisa Keys and assistant coach Jessica Chatto, who first dissuaded her from seeing a physician when she incurred a head injury during an October 2017 practice and then demanded she perform against doctor’s orders after she was diagnosed with a concussion, according to the suit.Martin went on to suffer three concussions in a four-month span, leading to potentially permanent brain injuries, the enlistment of ongoing medical care, forced academic leave from school and lost tuition, the complaint says. California Share on Pinterest A former collegiate cheerleader who suffered multiple brain injuries while on the cheer squad at the University of California, Berkeley, has filed a lawsuit against the school, the sport’s national governing body and her former coaches for failing to implement concussion protocols, endangering her health and ultimately forcing her withdrawal from the university, according to a complaint filed Wednesday in Alameda county superior court.Melissa Martin, who was a member of UC Berkeley’s cheerleading and stunt teams from April 2017 through February 2018, says her coaches bullied her into performing stunts even after she sustained her first serious concussion and that the school failed to take reasonable measures to prevent further injuries, court documents said. The suit alleges the defendants were negligent and violated California’s student athlete bill of rights and unfair competition law. Share via Email Share on Messenger The lawsuit throws a harsh light on the less familiar terrain of head injuries in cheerleading, which has not drawn the same degree of concern and media attention as the well-documented concussion epidemic that’s upturned American football. Competitive cheer, despite a low overall injury rate, results in the largest number of major injuries among women and girls of any sport, according to a 2012 report and policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics.“While there has been a lot of attention around concussion risks for young men in football, there has not been a corresponding level of concern about head injuries for young women participating in cheerleading programs,” Martin’s attorney, Jennie Lee Anderson, told the Guardian. “The University of California should be leading the charge in concussion prevention, but instead, Martin’s coaches forced her to cheer when she was still recovering from a brain injury and the university did nothing about it.”The complaint says Martin suffered her first head injury when she was kicked in the head during a practice in the presence of Chatto, who did not perform any kind of evaluation for signs of a concussion. After she developed severe headaches, vision problems and light sensitivity in the days that followed, Martin said Keys instructed her to not go to the campus doctor and pressured her to attend and cheer at the upcoming game, according to the suit.A pattern of negligence and intimidation from her coaches ensued over the following months as Martin was called upon to stunt in practices and at events despite not being medically cleared and symptom-free, the suit alleges. After suffering a third head injury while warming up before a basketball game, Martin resigned from the cheer and stunt teams in February 2018.The suit says Martin, who attempted to enroll in school again in fall 2018 but was forced to take a medical leave of absence due to her symptoms, has “endured months of therapy, and continues to experience headaches, nausea, confusion and light sensitivity” and “suffers from depression and anxiety over her inability to return to her normal life”.In addition to compensatory and punitive damages, Martin is seeking a permanent injunction demanding UC Berkeley and USA Cheer implement reasonable concussion protocols for collegiate cheerleaders.A university spokesman when reached for comment on Wednesday told the Guardian they had yet to have an opportunity to review the lawsuit and could not discuss specific individual cases due to privacy rights, but issued the following statement:“Cal Athletics closely follows the dictates of a comprehensive policy on concussion management. This policy includes essential elements of concussion education and protocols for management of concussion. Cal’s cheerleading coach maintains safety certification from several national agencies, including with the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators, which requires concussion education, and the coach has undergone additional in-person training on health, safety and concussions.“Our policy also requires all members of the Cal cheerleading team to have an examination by a medical staff member when they first join the squad; this process includes in-person concussion education from an athletic trainer and a review of the concussion handout produced by the NCAA for student education.”USA Cheer did not immediately respond to request for comment on Wednesday.Martin’s attorney said that she hopes the lawsuit can bring overdue attention to the danger of brain injuries in a sport not commonly associated with them.“Given that concussions can lead to life-long disabilities, it is simply inexcusable that the defendants exposed Ms Martin and other cheerleaders to unnecessary head injuries,” Anderson said. “We hope this lawsuit sends a message that the same safety protocols that apply to other collegiate athletes should be in place to protect cheerleaders also.” Reuse this content Share on Facebook Share on WhatsApp
Financial expert Edmund Shing explains why now is the perfect time to invest in UK financial institution Lloyds Banking Group.1) FTSE 100 companyLloyds is a FTSE 100 company (UK code: LLOY) in the banking sector.2) Profit growthProfit growth has been relatively robust for Lloyds Banking Group and should continue to be strong. This is driven by their retail banking business, in particular the demand for residential mortgages as people buy houses and flats.3) Its cheapAccording to Stockopedia the forward P/E Ratio for Lloyds is 0.09, which is much cheaper than the average company in the FTSE 100 Index.4) Attractive level of incomeLloyds also poses an attractive level of income for investors, with a divided yield of 6.4%, far higher than the average UK stock.5) Higher price targetFinally, the average analyst price target for Lloyds is some 20% above the current share price of 70p.Edmund Shing is Global Head of Equity Derivative Strategy at BNP Paribas in London. He holds a PhD in Artificial Intelligence.
The daily Prothom Alo in association with non-government organisations Brac, Nirapad Sarak Chai (‘We demand Safe Roads’) and the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP), organises the roundtable on ‘Effective measures needed to stop road accidents.’Growing pressure on roads due to shrunken waterways and neglected rail communications is mostly responsible for the increasing numbers of road accidents.Speaking at a roundtable on Monday, professor Moazzem Hossain, director of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)’s Accident Research Institute (ARI), said in the past few decades, the pressure on roads has increased tremendously as 70 per cent of the people travel by roads and 75-80 per cent of cargo is transported by roads at present.The daily Prothom Alo in association with non-government organisations Brac, Nirapad Sarak Chai (‘We demand Safe Roads’) and the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP), organised the roundtable on ‘Effective measures needed to stop road accidents.’Moazzem Hossain said all concerned persons, including drivers, transport owners and pedestrians, must be aware of road safety to reduce the accidents.He said the BUET institute has submitted two projects to the government to improve road safety.The projects will primarily take care of speed-check on highways and setting up driving schools across the country.Addressing the roundtable, he also said the speed-check will help identify drivers of the speeding vehicles while the proposed school will help produce skilled drivers.Renowned movie star Ilias Kanchan, chairman of Nirapad Sarak Chai, said in the last two and half decades, the number of road accidents had significantly been reduced.“In 2012, a total of 8000 persons were killed in road crashes, but the number of deaths was reduced to 5000 in 2016 due to awareness initiatives,” he said.Ilias Kanchan said prior to 2011, there were more than two hundreds ‘black-spots’ on the highways. With the help of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), the number of these ‘black-spots’ has now been reduced to 65.He also said that local people’s representatives and politicians have made the process difficult for the authorities to bring the culprits to book.BRTA former chairman Mohammed Ayubur Rahman Khan said, though nearly 10 per cent drivers did not comply with the traffic rules, they are not the sole catalysts to the indiscriminate road accidents.“The engineers who create the black-spots on roads,the committee members who give licences to unskilled drivers and the authorities who certify unfit vehicles are equally responsible for the road accidents,” he added.He also said the most important thing is awareness. If the owners themselves are aware and guide their drivers, road accidents will significantly decrease.Awareness is the key to stop the road crashes, he added.Valerie Ann Taylor, founder of the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP), said the number of deaths by being strangled by scarves (urna), is on the rise.Valerie Ann Taylor, who treated 45 cases of this kind, said, “If we counsel our relatives about this when they were going out, these accidents may be prevented.”Dilu Rikoba, whose only daughter was killed and husband and son seriously injured in a road crash, said, “I’ve lost my daughter and I can still feel her presence. Now my question is how much more news of such deaths of daughters do I have to witness in my life?”She urged the government to take quick initiatives to reduce the number of the casualties.Dhali Al-Mamun, who is one of the survivors of the accident in which famous film director Tareque Masud and journalist Ashfaque Munier Mishuk died, said corruption and mismanagement are behind every road accident.“I would call this a planned murder.”“I thinkthe case filed in connection with the incident is a wakeup call for all of us,” he added.Khandakar Enayet Ullah, general secretary of Dhaka Bus Owners Association, said, “We are usually blamed for every incident. But, many of the owners like me are working in this regard though the number is few.”He also said the over-speeding and over overloaded vehicles are considered prime causes behind road accidents.“I think the poor conditions of roads and traffic signals are also responsible for the road accidents.“Not only owners, but are the other government authorities involved with the process are responsible, as well,” he added.He also said the number of illegal vehicles – CNG-run local transports and three-wheeler –on highways is on the rise that is a key factor for accidents on highways.BRTA director Mahbub-E-Rabbani said, extra hours on the road for drivers and their lack of education also contribute significantly to road accidents.“Driving is very complex thing. A driver must keep in mind simultaneously some engineering and scientific aspects while he is driving a vehicle. Most of the drivers do not understand all this due to their lack of formal education,” he added.Educated people do not feel encouraged to work in the sector.Mohammed Atiqul Islam, deputy inspector general (DIG) of the Highway Police, said, “We conducted a study to find out causes behind increasing road accidents during Eid.”Among 18 causes, unawareness about road safety and roadside markets top the list, he added.He said Japan was faced with the problem in 1960s. But using the road safety awareness tool they had reduced number of accidents by 50 per cent.“If we can transform our mindsets towards the idea of safe transportation and if the authorities take it seriously, accidents will significantly be reduced in the near future.”Esha Chowdhury, director of operations, Traumalink, that provides emergency support to road accident victims, said, “It is a terrible situation. Our organisation provided medical assistance to 150 road crash victims since 22 August this year.”Brac Road Safety Programme director Ahmed Najmul Hossain told the roundtable that awareness about road safety has been increased more than any time in the past.He said, “We have developed a national action plan following the United Nations’ ‘Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020programme’.”He urged all the stakeholders to help bring the action plans into force.He also said women are mostly victims of the road accidents. “Thus we have included gender issue to the road safety guidelines.”Not mentioning the brand name, he also said there are huge numbers of vehicles of a certain automobile brand was rated ‘0’ by an UN agency, are running on our roads.“Thus, we should be very careful about vehicle rating while permitting new vehicles,” he added.Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman also addressed the roundtable, moderated by Prothom Alo associate editor Abdul Qayyum.
Listen at WEAA Live Stream: http://amber.streamguys.com.4020/live.m3uAnalysis of the first day of the Freddie Gray hearings with the AFRO’s Roberto Alejandro and legal analyst Sheryl Wood. Plus, Stephen Janis and Taya Graham of The Real News Network provide more reporting on the Freddie Gray hearings and some thoughts on yesterday’s interview with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. It’s all coming up this evening on AFRO’s First Edition with Sean Yoes.