After weeks of scandalous revelations about her tempestuous affair with a methamphetamine addict, Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer said Friday she was resigning from office to recover from her own addiction and care for her 8-year-old son.
When asked in an exclusive interview to explain why she was quitting, Lockyer, who celebrates her 41st birthday Saturday, paused for a moment, tears welling in her eyes, and told this newspaper: "I'm resigning today as a mother, and as ... I don't like to say the word 'victim,' but as somebody that didn't realize how difficult it would be to heal from what I went through the last year."
The wife of state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, Nadia Lockyer began a public meltdown in February after reporting she'd been assaulted in a Newark hotel room by an ex-lover and then revealed she was going into rehab for "alcoholism and addiction." The two months since brought a series of sordid accusations -- from embarrassing text messages and voice mails to claims of blackmail.
"The public deserves and I think wants some answers and is tired of hearing about me and all this drama," Lockyer said Friday in an emotional interview from her Hayward hills home. "I do need to resign and really, really focus on my recovery from both the assault and that abusive relationship, healing my heart and my psyche."
Bill Lockyer, 70, on Friday afternoon issued a statement saying he fully supported his wife's decision to resign
"She has worked hard and well for her district," he said. "But the last year took a great toll on Nadia. It's best for her, best for Diego and best for our family that she leave public office."
As a reporter interviewed his wife in their living room, Bill Lockyer arrived home carrying his dry-cleaning, then sorted mail and went about household tasks.
Shortly after Friday's interview, Nadia Lockyer issued a letter to her constituents and friends: "Without a doubt, being a mother is the most important role and duty of my lifetime. I can surely be a great mom and effectively represent the 325,000-plus constituents of District 2, yet not while also (treading) the waters of early recovery from addiction and the aftermath of interpersonal violence."
Adrienne Dell, an attorney for Lockyer's ex-boyfriend, Stephen Chikhani, of San Jose, said Friday she thought the supervisor made the right decision to resign.
"She needs to take care of her personal business," Dell said, adding that there's "no point in commenting on the rest of her statement."
Newark police investigated Lockyer's complaint that Chikhani attacked her, but because she used to work for the Alameda County District Attorney's Office, the case was passed along to the state Justice Department.
A department spokeswoman said Friday afternoon that the case remains under investigation with no timeline for a decision on whether criminal charges will be filed.
No one on the board can remember a supervisor resigning for personal reasons. The last to step down was Wilma Chan, who left to take a seat in the Assembly from 2000 to 2006; she was re-elected to the board in 2010.
Supervisors must vote at Tuesday's board meeting to officially recognize Lockyer's resignation, and then they will have 60 days to appoint a replacement to serve until her term expires in 2014. If they don't act within that period, Gov. Jerry Brown would have the prerogative to do so.
Board President Nate Miley declined to name any candidates, but said Lockyer suggested someone when she and Miley spoke before Tuesday's board meeting. During that conversation, Miley had suggested two options to Lockyer: recover her health by taking an unpaid leave of absence, or resign. "The status quo is unacceptable," he said he told her.
The continuing revelations and being exposed to the drama associated with her private life were "beginning to get to me," Miley said.
He said he told Lockyer: "I have my demons. We all have our stuff. But you have to take care of yourself."
Lockyer told him she was considering her choices, and Miley later in the week consulted with county counsel Donna Ziegler in case Lockyer chose to resign.
But her decision still came as a surprise Friday.
Fellow Supervisor Keith Carson said he saw no sign she would step down when he last saw her at Tuesday's board meeting.
After the meeting, Lockyer had spoken one on one with advocates who had pleaded with supervisors to reinstate a grant for the Centro De Juventud in Oakland, a nonprofit that serves Latino youths. Lockyer promised to follow up with the group.
She stayed until the end of a long board retreat, which ended at 5 p.m., Carson said.
From the start of her 2010 term as supervisor until 5 p.m. Tuesday, he said, "I found her to be a pretty dedicated board member. It did seem like she had a passion for public service."
It was a contrast to the image that emerged since the scandal erupted in February, Carson noted.
That was echoed in a statement issued on behalf of the board shortly before 6 p.m. Friday.
"We respect Nadia's decision to place her own health and the well-being of her child and her family before her career as a county supervisor," the statement said. "Our thoughts now turn to supporting our colleague as she addresses the personal issues she has cited in her resignation letter."
Contact Julia Prodis Sulek at 408-278-3409.