Voters need to understand intergovernmental pools better. They also should understand that risk involves the possibility of loss.

In an election in early June, Robert Citron, 69-year-old treasurer of upscale Orange County in southern California, trounced his challenger, John Moorlach, a certified public accountant, by a 61-to-39 margin. Moorlach told voters that Citron's use of derivatives to increase the rate of return on the county's $7.5 billion investment pool was too risky, but the voters obviously disagreed.

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