Moving toward divestment

➤ “Pension board could dump oil funds,” The City, Wednesday

Moving toward divestment

In your recent article, you reported that the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System board voted to reject a proposal to divest the $16 billion pension fund from fossil fuels. In fact, the board did not reject divestment, but voted to take a small, but historic, step toward dumping fossil fuel stocks. Here’s why this decision is significant:

First, the retirement board did not reject divestment outright, but instead officially recognized that there are fundamental problems with the business model of the fossil fuel industry that need to be addressed.

Second, now that the board’s divestment procedure is underway, advocates have a formal process to push toward full divestment.

Third, while they may not be aware of it, the research the board members want to see before fully divesting has already been done. The risk climate change poses to the Bay Area is well-documented by The City’s own studies; banks like HSBC, legendary investors like Jeremy Grantham, and government advisers like the U.K.’s Lord Nicholas Stern have highlighted the financial risk of staying invested in fossil fuel companies. Also, decades of shareholder advocacy efforts have shown that there is no way to proxy-vote a fossil fuel company into fundamentally changing its business model.

Wednesday’s retirement board meeting was by no means a full success, but it certainly wasn’t the failure your paper makes it out to be.

Jay Carmona

Divestment Campaign Manager

350.org

Jack Lucero Fleck

Divest SF, San Francisco

Keep profitable oil stocks

San Francisco taxpayers and employees owe a debt of gratitude to the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System board for not divesting its energy company investments and replacing them with investments with lesser yields.

Too often the “progressive” members of the Board of Supervisors waste staff time and taxpayers’ dollars on nonbinding resolutions that would have negative effects on The City if put into law. Like it or not, at this time there are no feasible replacements for fossil fuels.

Howard Epstein

San Francisco

Fleet Week

Avalos gets his wish

Well, sequestration cuts did what John Avalos has always wanted: grounded the Blue Angels and the Fleet Week events that would normally be taking place right about now. Of course, this means there won’t be any extra visitors to our city to spend their money, use our services and visit our many great sites, and no aerial aerobatics show.

I know my son is disappointed the Blue Angels won’t be flying. It’s something he looks forward to each year. But never mind that, there are many benefits that come to The City from Fleet Week. Still, Avalos is opposed to that. So, on principle, he wins.

Edmund Lee

San Francisco

➤ Government shutdown

Blame GOP, not Democrats

How can it be that all the talk about the shutdown is not simply referred to as the Republican government shutdown? Somehow we’re supposed to believe that President Barack Obama and the Democrats have a hand in it.

Passing a law that all Americans must buy health insurance is thought by Republicans to cause the full faith and credit of the U.S. to be destroyed in the very near future.

The Republican solution? Destroy the faith and credit of the U.S.

How’s that for statesmanship?

Mike Caggiano

San Mateoletters to the editorOpinion

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