PENSION MYTHS / ASSESSMENT / MPS FUNDRAISER / EVENTS

8/11/17

I.  PENSION MYTHS and FACTS
II. NEW PENSION FUND ASSESSMENT
III. MPS FUNDRAISER UPDATE
IV. EVENTS

…Absolutely guaranteed anonymity –

Former Musician’s Union officer

…The one voice of reason in a sea of insanity –

Nashville ‘first call’
scoring musician

…Allows us to speak our minds without fear of reprisal

– L.A. Symphonic musician
…Reporting issues the Musicians Union doesn’t dare to mention – National touring musician

===========================================

I. PENSION MYTHS AND FACTS

FACTS, NOT MYTHS
MPS responds to President Ray Hair’s July 2017 International
Musician article

Dear Plan Participants,
Ray Hair attempts to “bust the myths” related to our pension
fund’s crisis in this month’s International Musician, which
was copied verbatim from the AFM-EPF June newsletter
(that message can be found here and here). President
Hair’s message actually raises more questions than it
answers.

President Hair’s Myth #1:
The Fund is not critical and

declining so we’re “safe.”

MPS Question #1: Why the dramatic deterioration in the past
12 months? President Hair states that avoiding critical and
declining status this year doesn’t mean that our fund is
healthy. We agree with that. But he doesn’t address the
key issue.

The recent Annual Funding Notice shows the funded
percentage of our plan (view here) has declined from
81.6% to 69% in just one year. That is a decrease of
12.6 points, which is our largest decrease since the
financial crisis of 2008-9 (funded percentages since
2009 are 75%, 94.5%, 91.8%, 88.5%, 86.9%, 85.6%,
and 81.6%.). So while that percentage has been
trending down moderately, this past year it took a
dramatic fall. Why? President Hair does not say.

————-
President Hair’s Myth #2: 
The Keep Our Pension

Promises Act (KOPPA)
proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders is good
for participants.

MPS Question #2: Why is President Hair so
enamored with a law that numerous
Senators and Congressmen want repealed
or revised (read about MPRA)?

Mr. Hair asserts that he met with staffers of
Democratic senators in Washington, D.C., on
June 6, and discovered that with the current
Republican senate in place, KOPPA would likely
not be enacted into law. If this was news to Mr.
Hair and Mr. Gagliardi at their meeting, it certainly
isn’t to anyone else. MPS stated back in May that
it is unlikely this legislation would be passed in
today’s current political climate, but it could be
passed after the 2018 and 2020 elections. It also
shouldn’t stop our trustees from seeking
improvements to already existing laws, or lobby
for a new piece of legislation altogether that
would be better suited to the needs of all plan
participants.

Mr. Hair and our trustees only seem interested
in one piece of legislation: the Multiemployer
Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA), which
allows the trustees of financially-troubled multi
employer pension plans to apply to the US
Treasury for reduced benefits to retirees and
their widows/widowers. Numerous senators
and congressmen on both sides of the aisle
have expressed extreme dissatisfaction with
MPRA. In fact, a number of them have stated
that they want it substantially revised, or repealed
altogether. Several Republican senators have
joined with Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, to
revise MPRA (Pension Accountability Act).

Portman’s proposal would disallow any benefit
cuts without a majority of the votes cast by the
plan participants. Despite these proposals for
substantial revision to MPRA, our trustees
have not engaged with these efforts, choosing
to enforce MPRA as written, allowing benefit
cuts over the objections of plan participants.
Regarding the possibility of our plan falling
into MPRA in the next year or two, President
Hair has clearly overlooked one very important
scenario – in the event that MPRA is revised to
benefit the plan participants after the 2018 or
2020 elections, those who already had cuts
enacted may very well be denied the new
favorable benefits of the revised law.

It has become clear over the past several months
that the trustees view MPRA as the only legislative
tool in their toolbox. A question MPS still wants
answered is whether the trustees used plan money
to help draft and lobby for the passage of MPRA in
2014. We asked the trustees this question in our
information request last month (read here), and
they refused to answer.

————————
President Hair’s Myth #3: The plan lost 40% in
investment returns when other plans lost 25%.

MPS Question #3: Why won’t the trustees answer
our questions regarding the losses of 2008-9?

Mr. Hair would like us to know that the plan lost 29%
in investment returns for the 12 months ending
March 31, 2009, not 40% as some have alleged.
There have been numerous conflicting communications
from the trustees on this subject. MPS formally
requested detailed information regarding the Fund’s
realized losses in 2008-09 (read items 6-8), but the
trustees refused to answer those questions.

Executive Director, Maureen Kilkelly, informed us
that they would provide only the documents required
by law, and that they “… are not responding to
the remaining requests.* ”

MPS also asked the trustees for detailed information
regarding the performance of the alternative investment
portfolio. It’s clear that the trustees have revised their
investment strategy since 2014, and shifted to a more
aggressive investment mix. Currently, approximately
32% of plan assets are allocated to alternative
investments, including private equity. Our questions
regarding the private equity portfolio, including the
nature of the fees and investment returns, were not
answered by the trustees.

We also asked whether they received any legal
advice that the plan had a viable lawsuit against
any of its investment advisors for the poor performance
during not only in the 2008 financial crisis, but also
the past 10 years – a lost decade from an investment
point of view. The trustees refused to answer us on
this critical point as well.

——————————

President Hair’s Myth #4: The Fund office received
huge staff pay increases in 2009.

MPS Question #4: Why won’t the trustees answer
our questions about expenses?

President Hair indicates that plan participants
misunderstand why expenses seem to have gone
up abruptly in 2009, and continued to increase since.
It is precisely this reason that MPS asked
numerous questions regarding expenses
(see items 11-16). The trustees refused all
requests. We again ask that the trustees
respond fully to our information request so
we may understand exactly what went wrong
with our fund, and what can be done in the
future to repair it.

President Hair, who has been the AFM trustee
co-chair since 2010, isn’t busting any myths –
he is using carefully curated facts in order to
make his case. When asked questions that
are uncomfortable or inconvenient, AFM-EPF
refuses to answer.

This is not transparency.

President Hair focuses on “busting myths”
because he and the other trustees choose to
dodge the facts – over the past decade, our
fund has endured poor performance with an
average 3.2% return net of investment fees,
spent $250 million in fees, and left us with
serious questions about how our plan money
has been spent. One thing is obviously missing
when it comes to the communications from Mr.
Hair and the other trustees ­­­– what is the
trustees’ strategic long-term plan moving forward
to deal with the continual problems at the AFM-EPF?

President Hair, is the plan to fix the AFM-EPF
fund a myth as well?

Sincerely,
Musicians for Pension Security, Inc.
*Ms. Kilkelly included a disclaimer on her
email that prevents us from sharing it publicly.

[EC: Our dues pay the salaries of the trustees,
they have no right to refuse answering reasonable
questions of their employers (us).

Why haven’t these people been fired?]

===========================================

II. NEW PENSION FUND ASSESSMENT

This is as good an analysis as I’ve seen or our AFM

pension situation.

“The AFM Pension Crisis – A View from the Membership”.
Three months in preparation, this paper has received

endorsements from two of the leading authorities on

pension finance in the U.S.:

http://www.AFMPensionPerspectives.com

Here’s the intro:

We are long-time AFM members with an interest

and background in finance and math. Our only agenda

is to try to bring our pension fund back to a usable

state for all members, of all generations. We are

concerned that if the Fund continues in its

present course, those of you who are now fifty

may receive only a few years of a (possibly

reduced) pension. If you are forty-five or

younger you may receive nothing at all.

This is not inevitable and we think there

is a good chance our fund can be saved. To

do this, we think it’s important to understand

how pension funds work. If you are allergic

to numbers or finance, but have had a savings

account or taken out a loan, you will be able to

understand the basics of a pension plan. There

are many different versions of how we got into

this mess. In particular, we find the Trustees’

version inexplicably incomplete. Our version

has the advantage of being consistent with the

views of pension experts and unfolds naturally

as we explain how pensions work in Part 1.

Since our story differs from the Trustees version in
numerous ways, we realize it might be controversial.
To remove any doubt you may have that our comments
are within the mainstream of financial thought and not
some crazy theory, we invited the highly respected
pension authorities M. Barton Waring and Ronald J.
Ryan to review our work. Their complete comments
to us follow this introduction. We are grateful for
their time and efforts.

Talking about things without knowing much about
them is a good way to generate a lot of heat without
generating any illumination. We think there’s been
a lot of that going on and we hope this will help fix that.
Along the way, we also talk about ways to evaluate
pension fund investment performance, the serious
issue of our shrinking pension ’nest-egg’, and some
possible ways that we can all work together to fix
the fund.

Moving forward looks like it will require the efforts
of many members. If you are a member of an
orchestra committee or other influential group,
we hope you will try to do something to get your
colleagues to help bring our pension back to a
healthy status. We advise you not to wait for an
initiative from the AFM, which may or may not arrive.

You can fix a copy of this document in PDF
format or HTML, along with other pension
articles of interest on our website:
AFM Pension Perspectives.

While we wrote this for our colleagues in the
AFM, what you are about to read applies to
every defined-benefit plan in America, both public
and all favors of private. The magnitude of the problem
is currently measured in the trillions of dollars and
climbing. As a result, not only do we hope you find
this document useful, we hope you will share it. And
we hope you will share it not only with your fellow
AFM members, but with anyone who is a participant
in a defined-benefit pension plan.
In Solidarity,
Scott & Tom
NYC & LA
August 8, 2017

===========================================

III. MPS FUNDRAISER UPDATE
75% of our goal reached in 2 weeks!

Dear Plan Participants

The MPS fundraising campaign is off to a great start! Thanks to
the generosity of plan participants across the country, we have hit
the 75% mark of our total fundraising goal. As of today we need
less than $3,900 to reach our fundraising goal of $15,000.

Please help us by clicking here.

With these funds, we have already taken two huge steps toward
protecting our fund:
1    1. Actuarial, financial, and investment documents have
2    been purchased from the AFM-EPF.
3    2. The services of Tom Lowman, FSA, of the highly-accredited
4    actuarial firm Bolton Partners, Inc., have been retained to
5    analyze the plan documents and provide a clear independent
6    actuarial analysis of the AFM-EPF.

If this email was forwarded to you, and you are reading about
Musicians for Pension Security (MPS) for the first time, please

share it with all you know!


===========================================

IV. EVENTS
DEAN AND RICHARD
are now at Culver City Elks the first 
Friday of 
every month.
7:30pm-10:30pm,
11160 Washington Pl.
Culver City, 90232
310-839-8891
————————————-
LA WINDS JAZZ KATS 584
NO COVER, NO MINIMUM.
Every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month at
Viva Cantina
7:30-10:00.
900 Riverside Drive, 
Burbank.

Free parking across the street at Pickwick Bowl.
Come hear your favorite charts played the way
they 
should 
be. 

We are in the back room called
the Trailside Room. 


Come on down.

Guaranteed to swing.

http://www.responsible47.com

—————————————-

8/13/17

Alvas Showroom Presents

GROOVE LIXICON
Sunday 8-13-2017 at 4pm
By Bill Fulton on Aug 05, 2017 07:12 pm

The Groove Lexicon is a dynamic group of some

of the finest Jazz musicians in Los Angeles! Come

on out and experience it!!

1417 W 8th St • San Pedro CA 90732
310-833-7538 •

AlvasShowroom.com

The Band:

Christine Guter (vocal)

Mark Hollingsworth (alto sax)

Dave Thomasson (tenor sax)

Jeff Jarvis (trumpet)
J

acques Voyemant (trombone)

Dave Hill (guitar)

Bill Fulton (keys/composer/arranger)

Adam Cohen (bass/composer/arranger)

David Anderson (drums)

———————————————

8/19/17

From Charlie Ferguson

This is to let you know that my sextet will be
performing at Bar Fedora in downtown Los Angeles
on Saturday, August 19, as part of Cathy Segal-Garcia’s
Saturday Night Jazz concert series. This venue (which
also hosts occasional concerts on Friday nights) has
recently celebrated their 100th concert since being
established in January 2016, and we are thrilled and
proud to be a part of it. This will be a fun program of
my arrangements of jazz standards and original
compositions. Details below:

Charlie Ferguson Sextet
performing live at
Bar Fedora (at Au Lac Restaurant)
710 W. 1st St. (corner of 1st and Hope,
across the street from Disney Hall)
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Saturday, August 19, 2017
7:30 – 11:00 PM (2 sets)
Tickets: $10-$30

Charlie Ferguson – piano
Gene Burkert – tenor and soprano sax
Ron Stout – trumpet and flugelhorn
Scott Whitfield – trombone
Chris Conner – bass
Bob Leatherbarrow – drums

———————————————

8/22-29/17

RESERVE YOUR SEATS NOW
AUGUST 22nd, 25th, 27th, 29th
SEPTEMBER 9th, 11th, 12th
Each Evening at 7:30 pm
MALIBU COAST MUSIC
FESTIVAL 2017

Intimate Musical Soirees with
Old World Hospitality and Charm
Presenting Extraordinary Concert Artists
and Distinguished Speakers

Seven Evenings of World Class Music Making
Each Concert Featuring
Unique Programming & Artists

Tickets and reservations are available at
www.malibufriendsofmusic.org

RESERVE ONLINE
www.malibufriendsofmusic.org

PHONE RESERVATIONS:
(310) 589-0295

Featuring Festival Artists from
Across the Nation and the World
Performing Exceptional Works of
Antonin Dvorak, John Corigliano
W.A. Mozart, Antonio Vivaldi
Alberto Ginastera, Alfred Newman
Frederick Chopin, Astor Piazzolla,
Maria Newman, Scott Joplin,
Randy Newman, William Bolcom,
George Gershwin

FESTIVAL PROGRAMS

Tuesday, August 22nd at 7:30 pm
MONTGOMERY ARTS HOUSE FOR
MUSIC AND ARCHOTECTURE
MAHMA Great Room
“CHAMPAGNE GALA OPENING CONCERT”

Friday, August 25th at 7:30 pm
MONTGOMERY ARTS HOUSE FOR
MUSIC AND ARCHITECTURE
MAHMA Great Room
“FRIDAY FOLKLORE & ANCIENT ANTIPHONS”

Sunday, August 27th at 7:30 pm
MONTGOMERY ARTS HOUSE FOR
MUSIC AND ARCHITECTURE
MAHMA Great Room
“MARVELOUS MOZART, TANTALIZING
TANGO, AND A TRAVELING SALESWOMAN”

Tuesday, August 29th at 7:30 pm
MONTGOMERY ARTS HOUSE FOR
MUSIC AND ARCHITECTURE
MAHMA Great Room
“WONDERFUL AND WILDE”

Saturday, September 9th at 7:30 pm
MONTGOMERY ARTS HOUSE FOR
MUSIC AND ARCHITECTURE
MAHMA Great Room
“SONGS FOR SOLDIERS”

Monday, September 11 at 7:30 pm
MONTGOMERY ARTS HOUSE FOR
MUSIC AND ARCHITECTURE
MAHMA Great Room
“IN REMEMBRANCE”

Tuesday, September 12th at 7:30 pm
MONTGOMERY ARTS HOUSE FOR
MUSIC AND ARCHITECTURE
MAHMA Great Room
“FANTASTIC FESTIVAL FINALE”

MCMF 2017 Festival Artists:
Nicholas Goluses, classic guitarist
Miko Kominami, pianist
Eric Kutz, cellist
Paula Hochhaler, cellist
Hal Ott, flutist
Christina Borgioli, soprano
Nandani Maria Sinha, mezzo soprano
Diana Tash, mezzo soprano
Wendy Prober, pianist
Maria Newman, Composer-in-Residence
and violinist
Scott Hosfeld, Music Director/Conductor
and violist
Malibu Coast String Quartet
Members of the
Malibu Coast Silent Film Orchestra

For more information on the
Malibu Friends of Music
please visit: www.malibufriendsofmusic.org

———————————————

Wu Nation,

We will be appearing at Rusty’s Surf Ranch on Saturday,
August 26th 2017, starting at 10:00 pm and will play two
sets of your favorite Steely Dan tunes!  We want this to
be a fun evening for all, so please bring your friends
along and enjoy a great time with us.

The line up for this show will be:

Tony Egan: Lead Vocals
Leigh DeMarche: Vocals
Jodi Fodor: Vocals
Gil Ayan: Guitar
Steve Bias: Bass and Vocals
Roch Bordenave: Trombone
Jeff Dellisanti: Saxophones
Mark Harrison: Keyboards
Frank Villafranca: Saxophones
Kurt Walther: Drums

Rusty’s Surf Ranch
256 Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 393-7437
http://www.rustyssurfranch.com/

We look forward to seeing you there!
The Doctor Wu Band
http://www.doctorwuband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/doctorwuband

—————————————————

8/27/17

SUNDAY’S LIVE with Susan Greenberg
and friends.

Hi. Please join us for a free chamber
music concert at

LACMA Sunday August 27, 2017 6 pm.
Put it in your calendars!  Susan

Sundays Live Concert Sunday August 27, 2017

6 pm  FREE

Los Angeles County Museum of Art  Bing Auditorium

Susan Greenberg, flute
Pasha Tseitlin, violin
Tim Richardson, viola
Judith Farmer, bassoon
Nic Gerpe, piano

Trio Sonata in b Minor for flute,
bassoon and piano…………….Jean-Baptist
Loeillet  (1680-1730)
Largo
Allegro
Adagio
Allegro con Spirto

Serenade in D Major, op. 141a for flute,
violin and viola……..Max Reger (1873-1916)
Vivace
Larghetto
Presto

Ghost Train for flute, bassoon and piano
……………Gernot Wolfgang  (1957-)

Sonata for flute, violin and piano
……Nino Rota (1911-1979)
Allegro Ma Non Troppo
Andante Sostenuto
Allegro

Concerto for 2 violins, flute, bassoon
and piano………………..
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Allegro
Largo
Presto

—————————–

8/27/17

CENTERSTAGE OPERA
Café della Vita in West Hills hosts our next Musical
Dinner August 27th!
Opera, Broadway, jazz standards and soft rock sung
by CSO Artistic Directors Shira Renee Thomas,
Dylan F.Thomas and friends

Choose from 3 delicious entree choices:
grilled salmon
chicken marsala or
lasagna (meat or vegetarian).
The entire evening, including full-course
meal and entertainment, is just $55
which includes tax and tip (wine available
at additional charge).

Reservations are required & limited, so act now.

call 818-517-4102

Café della Vita
23759 Roscoe Blvd., West Hills

UNTIL NEXT TIME,

THE COMMITTEE FOR A MORE RESPONSIBLE LOCAL 47

6 Responses to “PENSION MYTHS / ASSESSMENT / MPS FUNDRAISER / EVENTS”

  1. Anonymous says:

    “[EC: Our dues pay the salaries of the trustees,
    they have no right to refuse answering reasonable
    questions of their employers (us).

    “Why haven’t these people been fired?]”

    ??? Trustees don’t receive any compensation as trustees. What are you smoking?

    • Buell Neidlinger says:

      those trustees just took an all -expenses- payed trip to Nashville for a week.
      some of my friends who play in clubs in N’ville saw them drinking like fish and eating huge meals, slappin each other on the back about how they’re gonna fuck us, and then going back to their expensive hotel rooms.
      the only good thing about Ray is his hair. Nice and thick…

      • Anonymous says:

        So you didn’t actually witness this. But your friends on their gigs could recognize the trustees by face, were nearby enough to clearly overhear dinner conversation in a music club, and were able to track the alcohol consumption.

        And you know, I assume, that the union-side trustees are also all participants in the Plan, and that what happens to the Fund affects their retirement, too – in a big way? Every one of the union trustees have a big stake in the outcome of this mess.

        • Anonymous says:

          mostly they recognized the president of their local and figured out the other
          guys were at the table with him because they were in town for the pension meeting. these musicians also record all the time, have an enormous stake in the Pension, and are completely wise to the whole deal that Ray and the Boyz are pulling. they work in clubs at night for the music.
          i guess, Anonymass, that you never played in a club; otherwise you’d know that one of the fun things to do there is watch assholes eat too much, and count the countless rounds of drinks they consume, wondering how they’ll ever get home being that loaded …didn’t you vote for Dump?

          • Anonymous says:

            You’re right; I’m a show player.

            So, exactly what is the “whole deal that Ray and the Boyz are pulling?” The pension fund is in trouble, but your comment implies that there’s some sort of conspiracy. To accomplish what, exactly?

  2. JJ says:

    can I be added to the mailing list?

Leave a Reply