Alameda County Supervisors Deadlocked, 2-2, On Lockyer Appointment

June 5, 2012 | The mess that the Nadia Lockyer sex and drug scandal has brought to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors will take at least another week to sort out. The four remaining supervisors failed to make an appointment to replace Lockyer, who resigned April 20, after the vote became deadlocked, 2-2, between Newark Councilwoman Ana Apodaca and former Union City Councilman Richard Valle.

“This has been a remarkable situation,” said Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley as he adjourned the nearly two-hour special meeting Tuesday afternoon. The board has until the expiration of the sixty-day window following Lockyer’s resignation, which ends June 19, to fill the seat or risk Gov. Jerry Brown making the pick for them. However, it is entirely possible, with a November election scheduled for the seat, Brown could leave the seat vacant until then. The governor has the right to make the appointment, said county counsel Donna Ziegler, but, for instance, in the case of a judicial appointment, if he chooses not to fill the seat, it sits empty until election time.

Aside from the dramatic turn of events that saw the revealing of ballots returning a tie vote, each board member stood uncommonly resolute in their choices. Supervisor Wilma Chan surprised some by choosing Valle. In recent weeks, Chan had made it clear she desired another woman on the board and was leaning towards Apodaca. “I would be proud to serve with you guys,” she said to both candidates, but, “No one wants a woman on this board more than me.”

Chan based her choice on the candidate she believed could begin to mend the wounds in District 2 brought on by the Lockyer scandal. Her choice was Valle, while signaling a belief he would be the best candidate to stand against the likely strong field of competitors in November. Most likely, embattled Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi. “Whoever we pick will have to stand for election and, from what I’m hearing, they will be facing a competitive field,” she said. Miley also sounded a similar note in choosing Valle by saying, “A determining factor at the end of the day is electability.” If picking an appointment based on their chances in November was, indeed, the determining factor in today’s events, then the board is truly split.

Supervisors Scott Haggerty and Keith Carson voted for Apodaca and stood firm in their selections following the vote. Both supervisors ticked off a lengthy list of Apodaca’s accomplishments in Newark and the county. Although the board took a 10 minutes break to allow the two candidates to confer and possibly convince each other to concede, the stalemate could not be broken Tuesday. Haggerty joked, “Can we can put them in a small room and see who comes out?”

With still two weeks left before the deadline to choose a successor to Lockyer, the board still has time to make the pick, but the stakes will only get higher.