Nadia Lockyer, County Residents Are Hurting; When Will It Stop?

Lockyers in December 2011.

ANALYSIS///NADIA LOCKYER
April 13, 2012 | One thing is clear: the Lockyer household is in shambles and its tumult threatens to overwhelm her constituents. Thursday’s latest chapter in the very public and meteoric fall from grace of both Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer and her husband, State Treasurer Bill Lockyer appears to have reached critical mass. In an email to a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News, Nadia Lockyer said her husband supplied her drugs in the past and shockingly signed off by saying, “Goodbye to everyone.” She later told the paper she had composed part of the email, but claimed her ex-boyfriend Steve Chikhani had somehow hacked into her phone and adding the part about Bill. What to believe?

Even the East Bay Express, in a stunning reversal today, called for her resignation. “The public needs to be able to know that their elected officials are telling the truth. But Lockyer, probably because of her addiction, can’t seem to come clean,” wrote Robert Gammon. “And she may not be able to until she resigns her position, and fully concentrates on overcoming her addiction.”

The community in Hayward, still recovering from Lockyer’s escapades and the circus around Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, not only needs to trust their supervisor, but also needs to know she’s doing her job. It is not clear whether Lockyer is actually doing anything since her return to the supervisors chambers two weeks ago, according to sources at the county level. Her appearance continues to be pale and thin. Her is speech halting and at times incoherent as she addressed county staff during the last two board meetings. In addition, there continues to be a sense that her time in rehab, which was actually a wellness center, has not really done anything to begin to cure what ails her.

One former county staffer told The Citizen, “If she can’t help herself, how is going to help others?” This point may become crystal clear next week when staff reveals the county’s funding gap for the coming fiscal year. Last year’s shortfall approached $140 million. This year’s round of cuts to services for the poor, children and the elderly could rival that figure. The board of supervisors may be forced to again tackle the immense job of bridging the funding gap with just four members. St. Rose Hospital in Hayward is also teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and its hazy future could literally be a question of life and death for many poor, uninsured and under insured county residents. Lockyer had made the hospital’s viability a signature issue before news of her February rendezvous in Newark made national headlines. The nature of the board of supervisors is unique in local government. No other body directly affects more people in real-life situations than at the county level. It is the safety net for hundreds of thousands of Alameda County residents. In some ways, its heartening for a supervisor to directly witness the fruits of their good work, but equally troubling to see the excruciating pain their decisions can mean for those less fortunate. It’s no longer clear, Lockyer can make that distinction any longer.

Like so many who enable Nadia’s behavior, are we now to believe Bill is the biggest of them all? Did he supply her over the years with drugs, as her email suggests? Who knows? The suggestion made by the Mercury News that Bill had never been linked to drug use was called “hilarious” by one long-time East Bay political observer. The paper reported Bill Lockyer’s spokesman said, in effect, the state treasurer was once a young man willing to experiment with drugs, but never abused them. Bill Lockyer’s bachelor days in the State Legislature in the 1980s, though, tell a different story. In fact, Bill’s wild exploits with women and other stimulants is well-known and recounted wistfully among those who participated in his bacchanalian days.

This current spiral towards personal destruction between both Nadia and Bill seems far from reaching an endpoint and, in fact, evidence show it has been swirling for quite some time. Nevertheless, it is obvious Nadia’s constant contact with the Mercury News reporter shows Bill has lost control of her in both the public and private sphere. From his perspective in maintaining his own power and legacy, she has gone rogue and their demise has been a long time coming. Rumors of their separation had percolated around the end of last year and reports of Nadia meeting up with her paramour last June appear to line up with other observations that, in hindsight, paint a difficult past nine months for the Lockyers. Last October, during a speech celebrating the 50th anniversary of Chabot College, Lockyer began whimpering near the end of an address recounting a story about his family and the loss of his mother. At the time, the scene appeared odd, but innocent. Weeks later, though, at an event in San Leandro, a first-person source told The Citizen then that Bill became inconsolate after he repeatedly urged his wife to grab a plate and eat. She resisted and walked away from the group. He somberly confided to the person, “I don’t know what to do with her.” Yet another report in the Mercury News said last year Nadia called police to their Hayward home claiming Bill had become violent with her. The police told them to go to separate areas of the house for the night and left. Maybe a similar cooling off perioid is now needed.

When Nadia ran for office in 2010 she often said the her candidacy was for the “women and children” of the her district. Maybe her exit from the office should be for herself.

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