The Year When Accountability Died In The East Bay And How It Got That Way

FINAL WORD ON 2012//ESSAY | This was the year East Bay politicians learned there was always a second chance for their errors. Not because they deserved that uniquely American second act at redemption, but because the political establishment has no mechanism for saying no to them. Whether it was Mary Hayashi stealing clothes from Neiman Marcus in October 2011 and then expecting us to believe it was benign brain tumor that made her do it, Bill Lockyer being accused by his wife of supply her with illegal drugs or Jesus Armas secretly fucking his colleague on the Hayward school board, nothing it seems could convince any of our public officials to ride off into the sunset. Instead, they stuck around like that deadbeat roommate you thought you had kicked out of the apartment two months ago.

Hayashi stole $2,450 in high-priced clothing, pleads no-contest to a lesser charge during the first week of the year and still thought she could win Nadia Lockyer’s vacated seat on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. How could she think that? Well, nobody in in the State Assembly admonished her or asked her to resign and party leaders in Alameda County were too afraid to confront her. There is no Republican Party in the county to apply pressure on her, so, she continued on until she began flirting with the idea in May of running for supervisor. She didn’t get much support from local elected leaders, but few firmly told her she was crazy because they also believed she could win and feared her wrath. Ultimately, voters got the message and delivered a shocking third place finish for Hayashi. But, guess what? Hayashi is still a likely candidate for the state Senate in two years. Even if she loses again, the winner of that race will have to expend of large portion of their own war chest to do it.

If the party establishment is too afraid to speak truth to power when it comes to Hayashi, it surely won’t make a peep when it comes to Bill Lockyer. Somehow, through the harrowing arc of nasty addiction afflicting his wife, Billy Boy got off scot-free when, in fact, his actions from literally buying a seat on the board for his wife, who was already dealing with substance abuse during the 2010 campaign, to his filing for divorce this summer while she was at her lowest point back in rehab makes him not only cad of the year, but a serious recommendation for naming the award in his honor.
Sure, Bill Lockyer is something of a laughingstock nowadays. But, those in Sacramento doing the laughing don’t do it in front of him. He is still feared and like Hayashi and all the rest, nobody will tell him no. So, he trots on thinking he can run for state controller in 2014—the last known statewide office outside of governor he has not served. At the same time, we again fail to listen to Nadia screaming for help this summer when she told a reporter it was Bill Lockyer who helped in part feed her addiction for illegal drugs a few years back. Oh, you mean, when Lockyer was the state’s top cop as attorney general? Yet, the media reported the accusation and conveniently dropped it in the wastebasket when nobody was looking.

Hayashi, Quirk, Armas, Heredia, Swalwell in 2011.

Hayward’s now-former school board member Jesus Armas is no different when it comes to avoiding the consequences of his actions. You would think the presence of a sex scandal among the people elected to protect and educate your children would be cause for cutting your loses, but not Armas and not the public officials in Hayward who looked away. Why? Because Armas is more than a former city manager and school board member, he’s the fixer. He’s the guy who brings the deals together and divvies up the spoils of the public’s treasury in a manner that keeps in mind there is no honor among thieves. In some ways, Armas’s credentials for fixing dilapidated Hayward’s school system appeared sterling. He should have been the guy who had the bureaucratic resume to turn it around, but Armas clearly showed that being the face of the school board was not the best place for the man who effectively prospers in the shadows. As a consultant for the city or school board, he could get away with banging whoever he wanted, but as school board president, such actions became everybody’s business. You may think he didn’t get a second chance, but he has and will continue to do so. Armas may have lost his seat on the school board, but did he really? The architects of Hayward gleaming City Hall built the dais in council chambers to accommodate seven council members, but the school board contains only five members. Let’s just call Armas the school board’s invisible sixth member doing what he does he does best, making the deals happen. He lost his ability to lead, but his power to make himself money at the city’s expense is undiminished.

“So, why did the East Bay political establishment blow up in 2012” is easily the most asked question I get. I have done a lot of thinking about it. Is it just an anomaly or the beginning of a trend? I believe it is the latter. What occurred is what I call the “The Theory of the Three Families.” Without asserting criminality, the East Bay’s power structure over the past 30 years has loosely featured control of Oakland by Don Perata, further south Bill Lockyer ruled the roost and somewhat overlapping those areas and the South County was Pete Stark.

They all ruled their kingdoms well. Of course, not without scandal, but the cynical view of government says good deals beneficial to the public cannot be made without a bit of political skulduggery, or, as Obama says, “government is imperfect.” The upshot of the Perata/Lockyer/Stark dynasties was everything ran smoothly. The three dons picked and choose the winners and losers and everybody played by the rules in hopes of staying on their good sides. However, the problem with political leaders who maintain power based upon their own personalities is one day they suddenly get old and eventually die. What will Apple become without Steve Jobs? What will the power structure in the East Bay become without Perata/Lockyer/Stark calling the shots?

I think 2012 proved to be a preview of what is to come and it will not be pretty. Perata has been battling Cancer, Lockyer has personal problems no 70-year-old man should have and Stark was deposed last November by a young up-and-comer. The old hierarchy is in its last days and more consumed with their mortality than keeping order. This is why Lockyer can hoist his wife to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and have it blow up spectacularly a year later damaging himself and his legacy. Did Lockyer gain power three decades ago because of stupid ideas like putting his drug addicted wife in public office? It was a proposition destined to fail. Stark did not become a noted congressman because he literally gave his rival the guns to shoot down his legacy. But it happened.

Fredo Corleone

What will come next will continue to shock us and will involve every punk politician with a smidgen of ambition attempting to rise to the top of the new world order by force. One amateur after another will gain control for a short time before being taken down. This is personified by Swalwell, a ridiculously unprepared and laughably animatronic congressman who is already viewed as weak even before he takes the oath of office next year. Predictably, Ellen Corbett and others who still ascribed to the tenets of the old order, have designs on overthrowing Swalwell, the new don with the leadership profile of Fredo Corleone. In fact, the most dire circumstance arising from this regional upheavals is the assumption its next leaders will not be the sort of Democrat most of us are accustomed to, but a middling moderate with troubling shades of conservatism. Swalwell didn’t just beat Stark last month, he did it with the help of the Tea Party and moderates in the Tri Valley. Swalwell may initially vote no different than Stark would have in Congress, but his election on the backs of conservatives did a great deal of collateral damage to the Alameda County Democratic Party. With Swalwell as their pied piper, conservatives won seats on the Pleasanton and Livermore City Councils while leading the charge in defeating Measure B1, the all-important county transportation initiative.

I can’t tell you how this will all play out in the end. The people who will eventually take control of the situation may not even exist yet and the same shenanigans that plagued 2012 will continue, I can assure you. However, the key to our future rests solely on heaping loads of accountability on the public officials we have now. If they can get away with violating the public’s trust once or twice, these assholes will assuredly try a third and fourth time. Political power in this region must not rest in the hands of a few people, but in yours, the citizen of the East Bay.

Categories: Bill Lockyer, Democrats, Don Perata, Ellen Corbett, Eric Swalwell, hayward school board, Maribel Heredia, Mary Hayashi, Nadia Lockyer, Pete Stark, Republicans, shoplifting

10 replies

  1. Thank you steve for saying all that needed to be said so brilliantly. We will continue to rely upon your coverage of local politics to help us all be the watch dogs; the whistle blowers; the conscience of our communities. Keep up the good work. TRUTH TO POWER STEVE!


  2. If Jesus Armas is off the board, what does his company have to do with the district? Jesus Armas, President of Hayward Schools Financing Corporation- updated November of 2012? I suspect this is someway related to make himself some money from the board? This man is a snake looking for his own self interest.


  3. Don't forget the SL schoolboard member recently arrested for dui. Now go hold assemblies for sober graduation. Bring another crashed car onto the high school campus or ask students once again to sign a pledge they won't drink and drive. It's okay seniors do as I say, not as I do. Great role model. Once again no body says nothing.
    Thanks Steve for doing a good job.


  4. This is a neat, insightful article: enjoyed reading it: Happy New Year, Steve!


  5. By MW:

    NOTE: Before I continue, let me first mention that I normally consider a major city or county to be one that has a population of five hundred thousand people or more, so therefore both Alameda County and San Francisco are among the cities and counties that qualify for these comments.

    Concerning how Alameda County politics got so extremely sleazy that it would tolerate and accept absolutely anything, for a long time San Francisco was head and shoulders “above” all other major cities and counties in the lies, sleaze, insanity, garbage, and corruption it would tolerate, accept, and sometimes even honor and glorify. But now AC is starting to follow SF's lead.

    For instance, SF made a hero out of Jim Jones and even gave him testimonial dinners, and rather than condemning him.

    And the San Francisco chapter of the American Cancer Society, and perhaps in a bid to be declared the winner of a contest for the stupidest decision of all time, even, believe it or not, gave its Humanitarian of the Year Award to Willie Brown, in other words the guy who over the last several decades has received far more money from the tobacco companies than any other politician in the entire country.

    And every time SF's most politically connected big boys arranged a murder or a multi million dollar arson fire so as to shut someone up or to destroy evidence, the local offices of the US Attorney and FBI refused to do a real investigation, and instead pretended that the murder or fire was just a coincidence and had not been arranged by certain organized crime connected lawyers, judges, politicians, and elected officials that actually run SF.

    So therefore since the FBI and US Attorney's Office, and perhaps including due to the influence of such extremely powerful SF power brokers as Dianne Feinstein and Walter Shorenstein (in fact, one of Shorenstein's own properties had an extremely convenient multi million dollar fire) refused to do anything about organized crime in that totally corrupt and cancerous tumor that is generally referred to as San Francisco, therefore the cancer and corruption spread, and including to other parts of the Bay area.

    In other words, SF was the trendsetter and gradually other parts of the Bay area, and especially Alameda County, began to imitate SF in tolerating, accepting, and practicing even the very most extreme sleaze, and with absolutely no limits whatsoever. More specifically and to give an example, I do not think a few decades ago that even AC's very sleaziest and most outrageous mainstream politicians would have tried to pretend that an extremely mentally retarded drug addict such as Nadia Lockyer was actually qualified to be on the Board of Supervisors, and when actually she was in no condition to even be a junior assistant manager of a sidewalk lemonade stand run by two or three five year old children.


  6. “She didn’t get much support from local elected leaders, but few firmly told her she was crazy because they also believed she could win and feared her wrath. Ultimately, voters got the message and delivered a shocking third place finish for Hayashi. But, guess what? Hayashi is still a likely candidate for the state Senate in two years.”

    Well, we won't be putting all those Hayashi files in storage just yet. The 2014 primary filing is only 14 months away.

    Meanwhile, I see no change in her Wikipedia page where it says the following

    “Her attorney and spokesman have stated that she had intended to pay for the items but became distracted by a cellphone call and a snack at the cafe and inadvertently left the store without paying.”

    No facts have ever been presented showing she was on her cell phone after concealing the merchandise, nor that she ever had a snack at the store cafe anytime that day.

    Surely she wouldn't plan to stick with that story if she ran for the state senate.

    If wisdom prevails, she won't be running in 2014.


  7. Steve,

    U forgot the dellums/lee/bates machine.


  8. Yes, also in states of decay. Although, isn't Dellums/Lee the same group?


  9. By MW:

    This article mentions Nadia “The Total Idiot and Worldclass Fruitcake” Lockyer, makes reference to her drug addictions, and also the suspicions that former California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, in other words her husband, was even supplying her with drugs. And, not surprisingly, both Nadia Lockyer and Bill Lockyer are lawyers. And there was also plenty of domestic violence in the relationship between lawyer Nadia Lockyer and her boyfriend Steven Chihkani, and with Nadia, believe it or not, sometimes even bringing her young son along with her when she went to motels to meet Chikhani for sex and/or to do drugs.

    Then we also had domestic violence in the relationship between East Bay politician Joel Young and his girlfriend, and who were also both lawyers, and furthermore if lawyer Joel Young is not on drugs, frankly if I were him I would still insist I was on drugs but in rehab, since I would not anyone to think that I could act as stupidly and erratically as he has been acting lately if he is in a so called normal and so called sober, and a supposedly non – drug, mode.

    Then we previously had San Francisco lawyers Robert Noel and Marjorie Knoller (in other words of the Diane Whipple case) who not only admitted they included their dogs in their sexual activities, but who furthermore even took the position they didn't think there was anything wrong or improper with doing such.

    And then periodically over the last few years it has come out that that the various lawyers in this or that Bay area DA's office have engaged in sex with each other in situations that have included allegations of rape and/or “play” that has also included such items as handcuffs, violence, sadism, threats, and weapons.

    And now the latest item to make the news involving a lawyer and sleaziness is the New Hampshire lawyer who became the pimp for her own fourteen year old daughter, and also evidently even had sex with some of her customers with her daughter watching, and other times stayed in the room and watched while her daughter had sex with customers.

    To sum up, let's take bets on exactly how many more years, and I think it will be only a few more years at the most, that sleazy mafia of drug addicts and the very sleaziest scumbags with law licenses will be able to successfully keep up the charade and big lie that it is a supposedly legitimate profession.


  10. MW Hates Lawyers, Volume CCCCCCXVIII.

    As to Steve's original post: I dunno, he makes a more effective case for the fact that accountability thrived in 2012. His list of political sinners, in order:

    Hayashi- finishes third (!) in Supervisors' race. Zero real chance of gathering support for more major office in '14, or any plausible path to gaining that support in future elections.

    Bill Lockyer- people don't have to curse out Bill in public for all of us to know that his chance of holding future Statewide office is cooked. Plus, he's almost as old as the Governor, and Jerry is now known for his highly (key word) UNUSUAL ability to win new office at an advanced age.

    Armas- in wide public disgrace; unelectable in the future; his ability to leverage relationships in order to gain access to public funds compromised. It's too early to gauge the full effect his affair will have on his future, but I wouldn't want to be him.

    As to the Three Families theory:

    Perata- Oakland Mayor election demonstrated that he lost his real political power when he left the Capitol.

    Lockyer- He doesn't shove County Party leadership around, despite the Nadia endorsement.

    Stark- Well, Steve wanted accountability!

    From the standpoint of reporting an old guard which may or may not have done a good job of recruiting an effective, ethical leadership bench, I have sympathy for that argument. But on balance, many of the angles here seem off. For example, I'm not the biggest Swalwell fan, but Eric is Fredo? Whaaaaat?


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