City of San Diego Retired Employees Association
March 14, 2017
General Meeting Minutes

The minutes of the February 2017 meeting and February 2017 Treasurer’s Report were approved.

Charles Hogquist, SDCERS Retired Trustee, reported good news for the pension fund. For the first six months of FY2017, the fund gained over 5%, approximately 354 million dollars. SDCERS is doing quite well. Fund value is now over 7 billion dollars. SDCERS will vote on COLA at their May meeting.

Jessica Packard, Communications Manager SDCERS, reported on the following workshops:

  • Retiree Health Workshop: April 5, 10:00 to noon re: open enrollment choices.
  • Health Day: June 16, 10:00 to noon. Open Enrollment is 6/5 – 6/30.
  • Medicare Presentation: October 6, 10:00 to noon.

All workshops will be held at the Balboa Park Club Ballroom. She will post videos and the presentations on the SDCERS website. She indicated that SDCERS will not know if there are any changes to the health care plans until just before open enrollment.


Today’s program was presented by Jack Brandais, the Joyride Guru. Jack has a Masters degree in Public Administration and is a former City of San Diego Employee. He has written two books on back country driving in San Diego County. His latest is entitled, “Joyrides around San Diego.” He also has a periodic column in the San Diego Union called “Weekend Driver.” The next column to appear will be about driving the 2017 Jeep Cherokee in Anza-Borrego State Park.

Jack wants to encourage people to get out and explore the back country of San Diego County. As he put it, it only takes about 1.5 hours to drive from the coast to the desert. He owns a 1991 Miata and loves driving on curvy roads all around San Diego. He also likes to take trips on the public dirt roads in the back country.

Jack showed us two videos he has produced on his joyrides. The first was a trip to Font’s Point in Anza-Borrego State Park. For that trip, he was driving a 2013 Chevy Equinox. There was lots of good footage driving in the sand and looking out over the Badlands. He equated the Badlands to the Grand Canyon. They did look spectacular.

The other video took us down Old Highway 80 which parallels Highway 8. He rode it from Imperial Valley to Pine Valley. He started out at the Desert View Tower, stopped at the Wisteria Candy Cottage (est. 1921), went to the Golden Acorn Casino and had a hamburger at Frosty Burger.

One of his favorite drives is the Old Highway 80. Another favorite is a ride which starts by the Lawrence Welk Resort and parallels Highway 15 in the North County. On that ride, the Deer Park Winery and Auto Museum is worth a stop. They have a great collection of convertibles. He also likes the Nate Harrison Grade up to Mt. Palomar. Nate Harrison was a freed or escaped slave that moved there in the 1860s. He graded the road to get to the top.

Overall, it was a very interesting presentation. It certainly encouraged me to hit the road.