County Supervisor Advocates For Gail Steele As Placeholder To Replace Lockyer

Gail Steele

April 24, 2012 | After just 472 days in office, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors Tuesday formally accepted Nadia Lockyer’s resignation and immediately raised the possibility of a familiar face returning to replace her.

“We would like to wish our colleague the best, in terms of her journey in recovery,” said Supervisor Nate Miley. “I don’t think there is no person in this room–in this society or this world–who hasn’t dealt with issues of one type or another.”

We expect public officials to held to a higher standard, but elected officials are human as well and have frailties and weaknesses and challenges and we have unfortunately seen some of that played out with our colleague over the last few months.”

Supervisor Scott Haggerty called accepting the resignation one of the hardest thing he has ever done as supervisor, despite her short time in office. “I know that when Nadia got here, her heart was clearly in the right place,” he said.

Although a few potential replacements to fill Lockyer’s seat are already working the back channels in Hayward and the county, including former Union City councilman Richard Valle, Supervisor Keith Carson raised the possibility of former District 2 supervisor Gail Steele returning on a interim basis until the November election. The Board of Supervisors has 60 days to appoint a successor, but an election will be held in November with the winner serving the remainder of Lockyer’s first term until 2014.

Carson said he called Steele last Sunday to gauge her interest in returning to the seat she held from 1992 to 2010. “She said she was willing to do so,” said Carson. “As a result of good government, she could step into that position for that short window of about eight months to serve in that capacity.”

Steele’s relatively short time away from the board and possibility of avoiding an extended period of “political drama” as candidates jockey for position presents “a less intrusive way to bridge the operations of the county,” said Carson.

During her nearly two decades representing District 2, Steele was both popular with residents and consistently labelled as one of the best public officials to work for by former staffers. Upon retiring from the board, she surprised many in 2010 when she broke her traditional silence when it came to political endorsements by backing Liz Figueroa to replace her and passing over Lockyer. At the time, she questioned Lockyer’s experience and limited knowledge of the district’s residents.

The board also announced Carson will have oversight over Lockyer’s former staff until a replacement is appointed. Carson said he would not introduce legislation on the district’s behalf, only maintain stability for residents to answer questions and continue case work.

The next two months are destined to be a highly chaotic for the board. In addition to finding Lockyer’s replacement before June 20, they will also begin grappling with closing a substantial $88 million funding gap before July 1.

Categories: Alameda County Board, Election 2012, Hayward, Keith Carson, Liz Figueroa, Nadia Lockyer, Nate Miley, resignation, Scott Haggerty, supervisor

30 replies

  1. How can there be a paid staff when there is no Supervisor? Didn't Nadia hire them?


  2. Putting in Gail for 8 months is a good idea. Then the public can decide who they want for the next two years without an appointed Supe getting the upper hand.


  3. Problem with no one gaining the upper hand is you have two Sacramento-types (Hayahi and Torrico) looking at this seat. Now imagine being City Councilmember or School Boardmember or just an average Joe, you gotta compete against those two heavyweights. It is very treacherous waters and not an even playing field.


  4. Agree with post above. But, there is no way this county votes for Torrico or Hayashi for even dog-catcher again. They both represent what's wrong with politics.


  5. Best idea I've heard from the ALCO BOS in years. Get Gail Steele back on the BOS ASAP. Perhaps when it comes to the November election for her seat, the people will listen to her this time when she endorses someone. Clearly she knew Nadia was NOT the person for the job.

    Hayashi is an absolute joke!! She clearly has some sort of brain injury!!


  6. You read a lot in the comments section of this blog about “we need new blood” and “the old guard controls too much”. Yet, here are a bunch of people advocating for the retired guard to be brought back in. Confusing.

    I'll remind people that local, state and national political history is full of politicians who offered to accept appointment to an abandoned office with the promise that they would not run for election, then broke their word.


  7. Valle almost took out Steele in the 2006 Supervisor election. Steele had become less popular with residents, apparently. Or, Valle had become popular enough to come within a percentage point of defeating an incumbent Supervisor.

    Or both.


  8. In reference to 9:59 (above),

    I believe the reason many support the return of Steele is that it removes a political appointment that could later be played as an “incumbent” card.

    It also allows for all the wantabe's for the seat to be fully vetted before November, something that will be high on the voters minds in light of the Lockyer scandal.


  9. Re: Valle 2006
    My recollection is Valle raised a ton of money. While Steele didn't raise much. The closeness of that race is probably a function of the campaign funds.


  10. Carson is signaling that he believes that there will be a lot of improprieties if the decision is left to the BOS. Probably afraid of Nate Miley selling the seat in return for personal favors again.

    Sounds to me like Carson is trying to protect the people.


  11. Anonymous 8:09,

    Gail Steele has not spoken in public on this issue. She has not stated that she would be a placeholder; she has not stated that she would not run for re-election. Carson's quotes here do not claim that Steele gave these assurances; people here are making assumptions with no direct evidence.

    And what if Steele gave these assurances? She could break her word, as many veteran politicians have done before her. Have no doubt that many would urge her to do so, and if she did she would have the power of incumbency, the very thing you seem to claim would be unfair. I don't agree with that entirely, but I believe the most important thing is not what would be more “fair” in November, but who we believe would be the best Supervisor right now.

    No one here has stated a concrete policy reason for why Valle would be less suitable than Steele right now. Revealing, that.


  12. 9:58 … policy I think all of potential candidates would have similar policies. They are all democrats and progressive. They all adhere to the same values. So I think that's a wash until we hear from all the candidates.

    But the fact Nadia and Bill forwarded Valle's name opens up question. Why do they think Valle is the best choice? Or has Valle promised Bill something? Both Nadia & Bill's judgement is really shaky. Makes you wonder


  13. So even you concede that Valle or other candidates would be just as suitable. You're not far away from conceding that Valle, given that he is currently serving the people of Union City, a significant portion of the District, might even be a bit more up to date in his understanding of District issues.

    I would not concede that Bill Lockyer's professional judgement is suspect simply because he and his family are going through personal difficulties. Those are simply not the same thing. Quarrel with policy choices, if you can; secondhand smears of Valle are rather insulting, though.

    While it's true that the Lockyers' personal difficulties are proving to be quite spectacular in their public revelation, every single one of us has personal difficulties; most of us, politicians included, are fortunate enough to have our private problems remain private. Should I believe that your judgement is suspect because of your private and family problems? That seems unjustified.


  14. do you need a rehash of where Bill & Nadia's professional judgment is spotty? And where their personal choices affected their professional lives?

    They messed up so royally that it creates this scrutiny. If they had annoited the Pope as their chosen successor there should be a vetting of their reasoning and relationship to their chosen one.


  15. You seem to have no critique of Richard Valle's public service. I like good governance, and don't care for the high school gossip session you wish to draw us into.

    Richard has plenty of supporters outside of the Lockyers. In 2006, he had about 16,000 of them.


  16. with reference to 8:09am,

    Dude, how much did you get paid to write your post?

    Are you freakin serious…”I would not concede that Bill Lockyer's professional judgement is suspect”…the guy (Bill Lockyer) spent $1.7 million (more money per vote then ANY prior California Election) to buy his addicted wife a seat on the ALCO BOS, and it now appears…if the allegations are proven true…he may have been supplying her drugs prior to buying her the ALCO BOS seat.

    Oh let's not forget, he has stood buy her after receiving a sex tape she made with a “low-level drug dealer” and admitted drug user. That same low-level drug dealer states there is a “way bigger story then the sex tapes”…the same sex tapes it appears Bill Lockyer was attempting to destroy with the help of Nadia's lovers father??

    I would say Bill's judgment is well beyond suspect at this point!!


  17. The Valle supporter doesn't seem to understand being affliated with the Lockyers right now opens up yourself to scrutinty. Just look at the Quirk/Green exchange.

    The BOS should ask Valle why do the Lockyers feel you are the best candidate? What role do they have in your campaigns? What role would they have if you were on the BOS?

    These are fair questions considering all the lies, misstatements, and impropriety the Lockyers have done to cover up their faults. Now that her ex bf isn't going to be charged for the feb3rd incident, you wonder if the media will focus on the drug allegation. And how many public agencies or individuals were dragged into the Lockyers spin attempts.

    That is why their affliations need to be vetted.


  18. None of this has anything to do with Richard Valle. This is like saying that every family and every business is responsible for every private misbehavior of any member or any employee. I know you wouldn't like to have your own life opportunities restricted by that standard.

    Again, not one policy position is named which makes Valle an unsuitable servant. I have no idea what you want out of governance, other than gathering a group of people who hate on the Lockyers real hard.


  19. to: 4:34pm

    Mr. Valle's suitability is to be determined by the people he “may work for”…ie a job interview by the taxpayers of ALCO.

    Everything in his past is open for review and vetting as would be the case for any high profile job in the private sector…including criminal and civil background checks, an investigation by a corporate PI, etc…

    Appointing Mr. Valle without a formal job interview is bad business and foolish in light of recent scandals involving ALCO elected officials.

    With regard to your question of what people want from governance…the fact you asked that question implying the people of ALCO expect too much tells me your part of the problem and likely very closely aligned with the Lockyer's.

    Wake up buddy…the Lockyer train-wreck isn't over yet…all of California is waiting for Bill's spin on his wife's allegations of supplying her drugs. Remember…”there is a way bigger story then the sex tapes”…


  20. You ridicule the idea that people want something from our governance. Revealing. Tea Party much?

    I believe a diligent Board of Supervisors effort here should, and will, incude interviews of the applicants for this appointment. So what's your problem there?

    Look at your pasty, lip-licking, palm-sweating glee in he last paragraph. Again, all ZERO to do with Valle, but revealing of you. Perhaps you might wish to excite yourself again by cracking open your dog-eared copy of the Starr Report.


  21. to 7:35am,

    Either you are intentionally avoiding (perhaps paid to avoid) the point of this story to further your political desires for Valle, or you are clueless.

    To help you understand, the point is to have Steele return to a BOS seat she was once elected to until November to AVOID a political appointment by the BOS that could be be used in November as an “incumbent card”. Long and short, this plan allows all prospective candidates for Nadia's seat to play on a “level field” for a November election.

    The fact you support by-passing that in favor of appointing Valle now would indicate you DON'T feel Valle is the ideal choice for voters if he were put on a level field with the other candidates.


  22. P.S. to 7:35am

    I believe you may have misunderstood 9:00pm comment about governance…I read his/her comment as challenging the position of 4:34pm who is clearly implying the people of ALCO expect too much from the people who they elect….”I have no idea what you want from governance other then to hate the Lockyer's.”

    To me it appears 4:34pm is trying to guilt readers into lowering their standards while accepting the actions of the Lockyers. Just more twisted political spin.


  23. There is no assurance that Steele wod not run for re-election. She has not said she would accept the appointment with that precondition, and even if she did, many politicians have broken that word in the past. Many people woud urge Gail to run, in fact.

    That said, Gail had lost support from the voters during her last years. This idea that a Steele appointment would reflect the clear wishes and interests of the citizens is not supported by evidence.

    I expect the Supervisors and every other elected official to solve problems and to protect people. It is exceedingly clear that there are many people who think that government programs and agencies should be eviscerated and people should be forced to fend for themselves. It is also clear that those people do not represent the majority in any part of Alameda County.

    If our commenters wish to debate what government should or should not do, and how we should pay for government services, I welcome that debate.


  24. Gail Steele looks like a saint now! I'm sure her district would want her back compared to what Nadia's actions caused.

    In the interim until November, perhaps returning Gail Steele back would be a good thing.


  25. Keep in mind Gail Steele was NOT voted out of office, she did not run for re-election. For all intents, she is the true incumbent, so even if she did decide to run again, what difference would that make.

    The one clear and overriding position that all voters should know about Gail Steele, she is NOT part of the Lockyer machine, (remember she did NOT endorse Nadia) which is even more reason she should be returned to the seat she so successfully occupied for many years. Clearly her political insight is far better then most would give her credit, and clearly she knew what was best for her district…and that was NOT Nadia Lockyer…


  26. For heaven's sake, Steele's decade-plus of incumbency, something you consider a monolithic guarantee of re-election even if the incumbency were for a few months, was nearly overcome by Valle in 2006. Out of over 32,000 votes cast, Richard was edged out by 500 votes. Then, in 2010, Steele tossed in the towel rather than face re-election.

    Is Sarah Palin for all intents the true incumbent as Governor of Alaska? She quit too.


  27. Your love for Valle is overwhelming!

    Did you just mention Gail Steele and Sarah Palin in the same post?

    For Valle's sake, I hope you're not his campaign consultant.


  28. Let's face it, this is an open forum for comments, clearly many of the above posts are coming from the same Valle supporter or even Valle himself.

    If Valle were smart and a true leader for the people, he would endorse the “level playing field” approach…only a career politician with self-serving interest would seek an unlevel playing field.

    No doubt the Palin, Steele comment wasn't too smart… Palin's replacement is still in office, and as far as we know is not making sex tapes, doing drugs or visiting his/her lover in jail on taxpayer time.


  29. If we're talking about an unwillingness to acknowledge political realities, consider your unwillingness to acknowledge the fact that, if appointed, there would be a meaningful chance that Steele would run for re-election. And then, where would your argument be about how unfair the playing field would be in favor of the incumbent?


  30. You are quite the Valle supporter…looking for any excuse to justify an un-level playing field approach.

    Steele retired and was not seeking the appointment…she was asked to hold the seat until November. My recollection is Steele was always a woman of her word.

    If you/your man Valle were smart he would support Steele's appointment and then seek her endorsement. All things considered, her endorsement may be more valuable then an appointment considering she did NOT endorse Lockyer…which now makes Steele the most insightful retired elected official in ALCO.


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