by Kelly Vance
This week, "Parsky's Party": How did the University of California's pension plan, once one of the most successful institutional investors in the country, suddenly become one of the poorest performers? Was it ... Satan? Writer Chris Thompson thinks it was someone almost as bad: Gerald Parsky, a reputed economic wizard and Republican political apparatchik who, as UC regent, steered the university's enormous investment account to an LA firm who just happens to have been a major Bush contributor. That firm went on to practically run the UC pension into the ground. And now university employees, who for years didn't have to pay into the fund because it had turned so much profit, are facing cruel reality - the fund may be too broke to cover scheduled benefits. So the price for Parsky's ambition (he wants to be secretary of the Treasury in the worst way) and his cronies' financial windfall is the financial mauling of thousands of UC employees. Meanwhile, Parsky has moved on -- although he's still on the UC Board of Regents. Governor Schwarzenegger just tapped him to revamp the state's two biggest retirement funds. Uh-oh.