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Well-Funded Lockyer Has Had a Stress-Free Race Against Parrish

October 15, 2006|Steve Chawkins | Times Staff Writer

After bowing out of his anticipated run for governor, Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer is aiming for election as state treasurer, a job he sees as less stressful.

If the campaign is any indicator, the treasurer's position should be downright tranquil.

Lockyer, a fixture in Democratic politics, is running against Claude Parrish, a little-known Republican who has served on the state Board of Equalization since his election in 1998.

Termed out after eight years as attorney general, Lockyer has more than $10 million at his disposal, mostly in funds left over from past campaigns. He was in the Legislature for 25 years.

Parrish has about $323,000. He has no campaign website and has hired no consultants. He turned down an invitation by the San Francisco Chronicle for a televised one-hour debate with Lockyer, later explaining that he didn't want to place himself in a situation that could encourage mudslinging.

As treasurer, Parrish said he would issue state bonds in $100 denominations, opening the market to everyday investors. He also would "eliminate the Wall Street middlemen" from large bond transactions, saving the state substantial fees and capturing sales tax revenue by using California-based brokers.

He said he sees the job as crucial but well-defined: "I can't make your kid behave better in school," Parrish said. "The treasurer doesn't have that authority."

Lockyer expresses a broader vision of the post, saying one major challenge will be to effectively finance massive improvements to the state's highways and water systems. He said he also would use the treasurer's position on the boards of the pension funds for state employees and teachers to negotiate better healthcare deals for workers and retirees.

While Parrish has been criticized for running a low-decibel campaign, Lockyer has taken heat for what some commentators describe as habitual grandstanding. Most recently, they point to the attorney general's lawsuit against major car companies over global warming, an action he said he took "because the federal government and automakers have refused to act."



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Bill Lockyer

Party: Democrat

Occupation: Attorney general of California

Age: 65; born in Oakland.

Residence: Hayward and Long Beach

Personal: Married; two children.

Education: Bachelor's degree in political science, UC Berkeley; law degree, McGeorge School of Law.

Career highlights: Elected to Assembly in 1973 and state Senate in 1982. Elected attorney general in 1998.

Platform: Curb state deficit spending; strike better healthcare deals for state workers and retirees; plan for financing improvements of outdated highways, schools, water systems.


Claude Parrish

Party: Republican

Occupation: Member, state Board of Equalization

Age: 59; born in Los Angeles.

Residence: Rancho Palos Verdes

Personal: Single

Education: Associate's degree in accounting, Los Angeles City College.

Career highlights: Los Angeles County insurance commissioner; elected to Board of Equalization in 1998.

Platform: Slash state expenses in issuing bonds by avoiding Wall Street "middlemen"; make state bonds affordable for more residents; hold the line on unnecessary debt.

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