Eye on the East Bay: End of a short but colorful era in Richmond
Contra Costa Times
Posted: 01/18/2015 12:00:00 AM PST0 Comments
End of an era: With a few subdued City Council meetings, not only did 2014 draw to a close, but so too did Richmond witness the inglorious denouement of one Corky Boozé, the longtime gadfly and former race car driver who streaked to a City Council election victory in 2010 and spent the next four years grinding everyone's gears.
Boozé, scrappy and ebullient as ever at age 70, filled Eye columns for years with high jinks, memorable quotes and junkyard dog antics.
He trotted out his gay ex-wife to vouch for his love for the LGBTQ community, brawled in the street with a political rival, fostered near-riots in the council chamber, flouted city rules by maintaining what city officials deemed a toxic junkyard, and helped stretch council meetings into the wee hours with indefatigable rants.
For good measure, he routinely referred to himself in third person without a wisp of irony.
But, marginalized by spurned colleagues, Boozé was short on legislative achievements. The failure of his reign was tallied on Election Day, when he was trounced, garnering less than half the votes he earned four years earlier.
It was a sad, dark turn for the political career of a man who, for his faults, can at his best be a high-octane jolt of enthusiasm to local politics.
During his outgoing speech on Jan. 13, Boozé struck some notes of conciliation, even thanking friend-turned-foe Mayor Tom Butt for helping him get on the council, but was mostly defiant. He vowed to resume his role as gadfly now that he has been bounced from office.
"Remember this: I am not going anywhere," Boozé said.
Since his loss, Boozé has been uncharacteristically mum when asked questions by The Eye. Perhaps the best epilogue is a quote he gave in 2013, when mounting controversies still hadn't sapped his verve.
"I never thought I'd find anything in my life to match the rush and thrill of drag racing," Boozé said. "Being on the City Council has topped it. I love every minute."