I applaud the Kern County Board of Supervisors and the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce for supporting Supervisor David Couch's local investment policy.
The Kern County Employees' Retirement Association should not overlook this issue. The same principles KCERA currently applies to its national and global investments would apply to any potential local investment. Certainly Coca-Cola and General Electric are great investments, but there are also many success stories here in Kern County: Grimmway Farms, Paramount Farms, and the Tejon Ranch Company, to name a few. There are many public retirement funds across the nation that have adopted local investment policies. What's the harm in considering a local investment? KCERA can always say no.
To assure the safety and fairness of the investment evaluation process, and to uphold its fiduciary duty to its membership, KCERA should adopt a local investment policy and this policy must be discussed and debated in the light of day, not behind closed doors. A good investment is a good investment whether you walk by it on they way to work or read about it in The Wall Street Journal.