PolitiCal

On politics in the Golden State

Category: Bill Lockyer

Bill Lockyer reelected California treasurer

Bill_lockyer_wins Treasurer Bill Lockyer was elected to another four-year term Tuesday, besting Republican Sen. Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel), according to early vote results.

Lockyer, a former leader of the state Senate, served two terms as state attorney general. He was elected treasurer in 2006, opting to seek the post instead of challenging Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's bid for reelection. Lockyer angered some Democrats by admitting that he voted for Schwarzenegger during the 2003 recall campaign.

The treasurer wields vast institutional power. He manages the sale of billions in  bonds for state infrastructure projects, and sits on both of the state's multibillion dollar pension boards.
Since becoming the state's top fiscal officer, Lockyer has been critical of lawmakers in both political parties for their failure to pass responsible budgets. He still sits on a campaign war chest of more than $5 million.

-- Anthony York

Photo credit: Jakub Mosur / For The Times

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It's going to be a busy weekend on the campaign trail, and The Times will have reporters following candidates throughout the state. Be sure you get all the latest. Follow PolitiCal on Twitter.

-- Anthony York in Sacramento

Do Democrats have a potty-mouth problem?

First, someone in Jerry Brown's camp was caught on tape calling Meg Whitman a "whore." Now the incumbent state treasurer is using an expletive in his first ad for reelection.

Do the Democrats have a potty-mouth problem? Or is it all passe in this era of a television show called "$#*! My Dad Says"?

Tom Dresslar, a spokesman for Treasurer Bill Lockyer, said these times call for tough talk: "We do believe that the people of this state are ready for some honesty and, as the ad says, straight talk from their elected leaders.

"Particularly when you're talking about Sacramento, the point is that Lockyer throughout his tenure has been candid, blunt with both sides of the aisle about the need to get out of the partisan bunkers and come up with some solutions for the people of California, particularly on the budget side of things."

Dave Gilliard, who is managing the campaign of Lockyer's Republican opponent, Mimi Walters, had another view of the ad. "He's trying to latch on to the anger voters have toward government right now,"  Gilliard said. "He's trying to get in front of a train that's about the run over a whole bunch of people who've been around for too long, but it's too late. He's been at the scene of the crime for the last 37 years. In fact, he was involved in the accident."

The Lockyer ad is running on television stations in Los Angeles, and will be running statewide in the coming days, Dresslar said.

You can watch the ad below.

-- Anthony York in Sacramento

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Lockyer predicts Cooley victory, chastises both gubernatorial candidates

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef011571a5a9f8970b-500wiAnyone looking for a little straight talk from their politicians may need to look no further than state Treasurer Bill Lockyer. Lockyer, a Democrat running for reelection this year, was once considered a top candidate for governor before the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003. But since that time, Lockyer has emerged as a paragon of political candor, even when it gets him into trouble.

This week, Lockyer spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle about the governor's race, the attorney general's race and other California political issues.

On the economic plans of the two candidates for governor, Lockyer said,"Neither of them has a plan that I've read that makes any sense." On the state attorney general's race, Lockyer predicted victory for Republican Steve Cooley. "I think Cooley's going to win, even though he's a mean, gloomy bureaucrat," he said.

Cooley's campaign put the back-handed vote of confidence in a press release this week. "The Cooley campaign, of course, takes exception to the career politician calling the career prosecutor a 'bureaucrat,' " the statement read. "Ironically, Lockyer was elected to office in 1973, the same year that Cooley began in the L.A. district attorney's office. As for being called 'mean,' that is also ironic coming from the volatile Lockyer, well known for his history of angry outbursts."

But Cooley took it all in stride, adding, "I appreciate Bill's confidence in the likelihood of my campaign's success. I thank Bill for that and certainly hope he has a nice day."

-- Anthony York in Sacramento

Photo: L.A. Times file

State misses $2.5-billion payment to schools because of budget delay

California's top fiscal officials Monday ordered the deferral of $2.5 billion in payments to the state’s public schools next month to conserve cash and stave off the need to begin issuing IOUs.

The state’s budget is 54 days late, and that delay has stretched the state’s depleted treasury to the breaking point. Issuance of scrip could come within weeks.

The deferral announced Monday “was not taken lightly,” state Controller John Chiang, Treasurer Bill Lockyer and Department of Finance Director Ana Matosantos wrote in a joint letter to the Legislature.

The payment delay –- which comes atop another $2.5-billion deferral in July –- was not unexpected, said Kevin Gordon, an advisor to school districts on state financing. Lawmakers approved the deferrals back in February.

“There was early warning to school districts about what the state's intentions were … giving districts enough time to make other arrangements,” said Gordon, president of School Innovations and Advocacy, an education consulting firm.

But the deferral will force districts to borrow more funds to cover their bills until the state pays up, driving up costs and taking money from classrooms, said Rich Pratt, assistant executive director of the California School Boards Assn.

“The more you borrow, the more interest you have to pay,” Pratt said.

State officials acknowledged the added hardship. “The lack of a state budget is levying additional fiscal stress on schools … deferral of state payments will further exacerbate the situation,” Chiang, Lockyer and Matosantos wrote.

Fiscal officials also ordered that a $400-million payment to counties be delayed; $700 million in county funds were pushed off in July.

The latest skipped payments to counties and schools must be repaid within 90 days, said H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the Department of Finance.

-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento

twitter.com/ShaneGoldmacher

Top Democrats take aim at governor’s pay cut order

Now that an appeals court has sided with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in his effort to reduce state worker pay to minimum wage without a budget in place, top Democratic lawmakers are taking aim at the proposal.

“The governor should not be toying with the lives of working families in order to gain a tactical advantage in budget negotiations,” said Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento).

Assembly Speaker John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles) accused the governor of playing “political games.” He called the minimum wage order a “political stunt that will not save the state a single penny,” because workers would be entitled to their full back pay upon a budget accord.

The governor’s office has maintained that Schwarzenegger is simply following the law.

The appeals court decision, said Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear, “underscores the fact that everyone loses when we have a budget impasse. Every day the Legislature fails to deliver a budget costs the state $50 million."

The new budget year began July 1.

-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento

twitter.com/ShaneGoldmacher

Lockyer raises doubts about Assembly budget plan

State Treasurer Bill Lockyer threw more cold water Monday on the Assembly Democrats’ budget proposal, which relies on a $9 billion borrowing from Wall Street that the treasurer would have to facilitate.

Lockyer, in an interview following a press conference on a new Senate budget proposal, said that last week’s opinion from Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown’s office meant that he could not go to market to sell the bonds the Assembly wants to use to balance the budget.

Assembly Democrats have proposed to borrow $9 billion from California’s bottle deposits fund, and then use the next 20 years of a new oil tax to pay back the loan. Brown’s office said the Assembly’s plan “could be suspect” in court and, therefore, they office could not offer unqualified legal approval. The state constitution was amended in 2004, when voters passed Proposition 58, to prohibit borrowing to “to fund a year-end state budget deficit.”

The attorney general’s opinion is crucial, Lockyer said.

“We can’t borrow without a clean bond opinion from the attorney general. Our role is simple: We get an opinion, we can borrow. We don’t get an opinion, we can’t borrow,” he said.

Lockyer, a Democrat, wasn't passing judgment on the Assembly Democrats' goal -- stopping many of the deep spending cuts Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed. He said he was "glad that they’re focused on trying to preserve vital services."

[Updated 3:18 pm: Shannon Murphy, a spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles) said, “We remain confident that [our] budget is legally sound.” Once the plan is fully drafted, she said, “We remain hopeful that there will be no real concern of legal challenges.”]

-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento

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