ANALYSIS | State Treasurer Bill Lockyer next career move may be academia. The Sacramento Bee reported the 71-year-old Lockyer is interested in replacing outgoing CSU Chancellor Charles Reed, who announced his retirement last May. Lockyer’s two-year calendar was thought to have been thoroughly scheduled. He already formed a campaign committee to run for state controller in 2014, but floating of interest in the CSU job appears to signal the fallout from his wife very public meltdown is much more dire than most believe.
Aside from governor and lieutenant governor, Lockyer has held virtually every state and legislative office available. Controller was the only safe landing left for Lockyer. The rot of ineffective public officials playing musical chairs in Sacramento is no more comical than this: Lockyer has a committee for controller in 2014, while current State Controller John Chiang, has a similar committee open for Lockyer’s treasurer seat. However, Lockyer’s interest in replacing Reed may show even he is not impervious to the public’s collective catcalls over his considerable part in the fall of Nadia Lockyer from the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.
Clearly, Lockyer is a laughingstock around the East Bay and apparently in Sacramento, too. In recent weeks, he has appeared in public more often than any time since his wife fatefully called Newark Police to her hotel room in early February of this year and set forth one of the most tragic and bizarre stories these parts have ever seen. Lockyer, who possesses a highfaluting, professorial air to his politics used to be an astute voice of candid and insightful quotes, but when he speaks now, you can’t help think, ‘Who cares what you have to say?’”
Like Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi’s arrogance in dodging her constituents after being nabbed for shoplifting, Lockyer is following the same playbook, published circa 1998. Why did Lockyer foist upon the residents of Alameda County a woman who we now know was battling drug and alcohol abuse during the June 2010 primaries? What did he have to gain? Did she ever really want to be supervisor or was it his believe her personal problems would somehow be alleviated by purchasing a seat on one of the most stressful jobs in local politics? If you parse Nadia’s famous email to a reporter for the San Jose Mercury, you will find tattered bits of evidence that he found his wife’s truly devastating ailments as simply a sign of weakness easily cured with 1950s era secrecy and shame. Conversely, did he provide her with drugs as she still maintains and why has a statewide elected office holder been allowed to skate from such a serious allegations of criminality?
Before Lockyer makes any attempt to further his lengthy political career, let alone shift course for a $400,000 job leading the state’s decrepit institutions of higher learning, he needs to start answering these questions. Lockyer with his aw-shucks, faux common man persona, replete with the nerdy tone of his voice has fooled many over the years, but his dark private side is now the stuff of local legend. We cannot absolve Nadia of the pain and public waste of time she brought to the county, but there is no doubt who enabled it. Bill Lockyer created this breathtaking mess that may ultimately end with Hayashi sitting on the Board of Supervisors next year while she twiddles her thumbs two years before attempting a return to Sacramento, by way of the State Senate. In addition, it is his maddening disregard for the propriety of our government over the years that has taught legislators and local officials hailing from the East Bay alike to grin and bear their mistakes or blithely ignore them until they go away (and the do go away). The problems in this county are also compounded by a listless and non-existent counter-balance to the Democrats one-party rule. Bill Lockyer is the personification of this and everything that is wrong with Alameda County politics. Instead of calling it a career, Lockyer is throwing hubris out the window and searching for a Plan B so he can continue his drunken lust for power. How he succeeds is unclear, especially when everyone is laughing behind his back.