For me, the Assemblyman's latest work product demonstrates this classic sensitivity. Gatto has a little essay in the Jewish Journal regarding relations with Iran and true investor divestment at the State fund level. The essay demonstrates to me his classics orientation in the way it's set up.
First, with a republican (please note the small "r") sense of humility, he wonders whether or not it's even appropriate for a state legislator to work towards any particular international end (short answer: it is).
Then he invites the State of California to step up its sanctions via true divestment.
As the eighth largest economy in the world, California can impose painful economic sanctions. Our state pension funds send billions of dollars abroad in foreign investment.True enough. Gatto knows that the State more or less divested Iranian investment via something called CPDIA in 2007. But in fact CPDIA has not been aggressive enough. Gatto notes:
The years since CPDIA have been disappointing. CalPERS and CalSTRS have not divested from companies operating in Iran, stating that their holdings in those companies were too big to divest from without hurting their funds’ rates of return. CalPERS and CalSTRS have also, for the most part, declined to state how much money was going to companies on the “do not invest” list. And they have stated that the transaction costs related to divestment would be too high, even though leaving money invested in such an unstable country could clearly result in a total loss of capital in future years.Is there a classical "call to action" here? Yes.
I ask you to continue the fight too. Ask your friends who are retired state employees if they know their hard-earned investment dollars are being used to invest in a regime that tortures people like the dissidents with whom I recently met. Ask them if they are aware those dollars are being spent to help a regime so diametrically opposed to our foreign-policy interest and values. Then, urge them to write a letter to the relevant retirement fund asking for full compliance with CPDIA.&c.
You might consider all this. As a state, California had much success in battling apartheid in South Africa; even the City was involved. We are called upon to do it again.