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A few of Bill Lockyer’s notable quotes

As I report today on California Treasurer Bill Lockyer’s decision not to run for controller in 2014, and so to retire from elected office after a 46-year career, I thought it might be nice to revisit some of his “straight talk.”

Nov. 2006 – Lockyer is elected state treasurer: “This victory that Democrats have had all over the country only has meaning if we govern well.”

Dec. 2008 – Lockyer tells lawmakers the state is going broke: “Adopt an honest, balanced budget, very soon: no gimmicks, no phony accounting, no borrowing that merely postpone the day of reckoning – those cupboards are bare. Stop relying on the tooth fairy and other fantasies.”

Oct. 2009 – Lockyer urges lawmakers to stop passing so many “junk” bills: “I’m sorry, two thirds of the bills that I see come out of the Assembly, if they never saw the light of day, God bless it. … Just stop it, just stop it, just stop it, they’re junk and they’re consuming all your staff time with junk. … Nancy Reagan was right: ‘Just say no.’”

May 2010 – Lockyer fires up the state Democratic convention at GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman’s expense: “We are the true patriots who are going to start putting what the people of California need ahead of selfish, scare-mongering, silly and stupid right-wing ideology.”

Oct. 2010 – Lockyer made his “straight talk, no bull#*+!” the theme of his 2010 re-election advertisement:

Feb. 2012 – Lockyer tells the state Democratic convention that California’s only spending problem is that we’re spending too little on our priorities: “Rick Perry’s lean and fit model of state bureaucracy is actually a flabby couch potato compared to California. So where’s the evidence that California has an overspending problem? The same place you’ll find Mitt Romneys compassion, Newt Gingrich’s humility, Rick Santorum’s tolerance, and Ron Paul’s chances – nowhere.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • GV Haste

    “Dec. 2008 – Lockyer tells lawmakers the state is going broke: “Adopt an honest, balanced budget, very soon: no gimmicks, no phony accounting, no borrowing that merely postpone the day of reckoning – those cupboards are bare. Stop relying on the tooth fairy and other fantasies.”

    And yet all through those years I heard Bill Lockyer repeat over and over and over that California had such a “lean” government by comparison with other states.

    Many, many times he would say exactly that.

    He would tell audiences about the “lean” government and the “modest” pensions.

    Smooth talker, but very loose with the facts.

  • JohnW

    Lockyer occasionally said some remarkable “truth to power” things to his fellow Democrats. Unfortunately, he didn’t really follow through on any of it.

  • Elwood

    Big hat, no cattle.

  • GV Haste

    JohnW-
    “Lockyer occasionally said some remarkable “truth to power” things to his fellow Democrats. Unfortunately, he didn’t really follow through on any of it.”

    Exactly! A quote here and there, followed up by a brief media kerfuffle and then NOTHING.

    He was never a reformer or even a person who rocked the boat. Just little quips to briefly make everyone roll their eyes and say “There goes Bill again”

    By comparison, one single act by someone like Lt. Gov. Able Maldonado, pushing the “top two” voting system, will have done more to change California politics than the entire sum of Bill Lockyer’s 45 year career of “speaking truth to power”.
    (no, I’m not supporting Maldonado for Governor)

  • Mike Montgomery

    Talk to Dianne Watson and Becky LaVally if you want good Lockyer quotes.