By Steven Tavares
Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele doesn't do political endorsements, but she is making an exception for the race to succeed her. Steele has eschewed campaign horse trading for over two decades, until today, when she announced support for former state Sen. Liz Figueroa to replace her over Nadia Lockyer.
Supervisor Gail Steele
"Over $1 million dollars has already been raised and spent by one candidate to replace me on the Board of Supervisors," said Steele. "I am completely disheartened and troubled by this excessive expenditure to win an elected office, when our county has so many needs. When money is allowed to shape the future of elected government, proven community leadership loses out."
A person who truly comes from the community and has worked in the community does not need that amount of money to win an election. A person who is committed to public service will build name recognition and earn the reputation of getting the job done. Support should come from people working toward a common goal, motivated by principles, not money."
She described Figueroa's ties to the community as a prime factor in making her decision to endorse her. "She is the only candidate in this race who truly is from this community and has given back to it," said Steele. Figueroa said she is "beyond being honored" by Steele's backing and lauded her for her work in the community. "She will leave a legacy in the community that is not only about politics, but about helping people."
Steele's words reflect a growing chorus of voices who are growing critical of Lockyer's campaign after financial disclosure statements released last week showed the campaign of her husband, Bill Lockyer, has contributed over $1 million to her bid for supervisor. Noted environmentalist and former Cal State East Bay professor Sherman Lewis also spoke out this weekend on Lockyer's lack of community connections and called alleged arm-twisting of local politicians to support her campaign, "unacceptable." A spokesperson for the Lockyer campaign could not be reached this afternoon.