One of Santa Barbara, California's more distinguished figures during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Clio Lowell Lloyd occupied the office of Chief Clerk of the California State Assembly for nearly a decade, later being elected as the Mayor of Santa Barbara for a two-year term. Lloyd's time as mayor saw him survive two attempts to oust him from office, due to unfounded accusations of "failing to perform his official duties".
Born and raised in Mercer County, Illinois, Clio L. Lloyd's birth occurred in Keithsburg on April 24, 1864, a son of Marion and Jennie Patterson Lloyd. The origin's behind Lloyd's peculiar first name "Clio" can be traced back to Greek mythology, being the name of one of the nine muses, all of whom were daughters of the Greek god Zeus. Clio is remembered as the muse of history, and the name also translates from its original Greek to both "make famous" or "to celebrate". While his first name is quite unusual, the following question remains: Why exactly would two 19th century Illinois parents choose to name their son in honor of a Greek muse?
Clio Lloyd spent the first nine years of his life in Keithsburg, later removing with his family to Santa Barbara, California. He attended public schools in this city and "later took a course of higher study" a private school in Santa Barbara, eventually beginning an eight-year stint as a school teacher in the city. Lloyd eventually gave up teaching and moved into the field of journalism, taking on the position of manager of the Santa Barbara Daily Independent and Morning Press. While still active in newspaper work Lloyd also began dabbling in real estate, and in 1893 took on the prominent position of commissioner from Southern California to the World's Fair, being held that year in Chicago.
Campbell's Illustrated Weekly, Volume 3 of March 1893 devoted a large amount of coverage to the "World's Colombian Exposition" and with that coverage took special note of Clio Lloyd's stewardship of Santa Barbara County's exhibit at the fair. As commissioner, Lloyd's "pleasant and agreeable manners made him a favorite amongst the thousands of people that daily thronged through the building and desired information" , and he is also noted as being the designer of the exhibit's "Cleopatra Needle", a large obelisk made out of bottles of olive oil, the "chief product of the county."
From Campbell's Illustrated Weekly, Volume 3, 1893.
In 1901 Clio Lloyd was elected as the Chief Clerk of the California State Assembly and served in this capacity for nine years, the longest tenure of any clerk up to that time. While still the incumbent clerk Lloyd was elected to a seat on the Santa Barbara Board of Education in 1905 and was later named as president of the Board of Trustees of the Santa Barbara State Normal School. His time in the latter post gained him statewide repute as the "Father of the State Normal School at Santa Barbara" due to efforts in getting the bill (which advocated the creation of the school) passed by the state legislature.
In the final year of his time as assembly clerk Clio Lloyd became a candidate for Mayor of Santa Barbara, and in December 1909 won the election, defeating Democratic candidate Dr. E.J. Boesekes by a vote of 1,121 to 853. Lloyd's tenure as mayor began with a rocky start, and two months after winning the election became the target of a recall movement calling for his removal from the mayor's office. This movement gained steam with the vocalization of disappointed office seeker Benjamin P. Ruiz, who stated in the February 19, 1910 Los Angeles Herald that mayor Lloyd had promised him the appointment as Santa Barbara Chief of Police during the latter's mayoral campaign in 1909. However, Lloyd had reappointed the popular incumbent police chief James Ross to the post, subsequently drawing the ire of Ruiz. Eight petitions for Lloyd's recall were circulated during February and March of 1910, and the movement needed to sign 544 names to bring about a recall election.
Lloyd vehemently denied offering the post to Ruiz, and explained that the "real weight of the movement is to get the Chief of Police Ross' head". The petition for Lloyd's recall was eventually withdrawn in early March 1910, with the San Francisco Call deeming the motive behind his potential ouster to be "entirely personal." Three months after this recall movement came to naught further charges were leveled at mayor Lloyd, this time alleging that he had "failed to perform his official duties" when he neglected to "enforce laws" against the "resorts of the red light district". In a San Francisco Call article related to the charges, Lloyd called the charges frivolous, noting:
"I am too busy looking after the interests of the city to bother with this little bunch of knockers and scandal mongers, but now that they are going into court I will be glad for the opportunity to present the facts as they are."
The case was eventually brought to court in late June, and on July 1, 1910, a judge ruled in favor of the mayor, stating that the charges against him were "inoperative" and "if there was such a duty neglect there-of did not call for such severe penalty as dismissal from office."
Clio L. Lloyd, from the 1907 California State Blue Book.
Lloyd's term as Santa Barbara's mayor concluded in 1911 and is noted by the History of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura Counties, Vol. 2 as having given Santa Barbara "a most popular and progressive administration." Despite being popular among most of his constituents (as well as his surviving two attempts to boot him out of office), Lloyd couldn't please everyone, as the following San Francisco Call article illustrates! In July 1911 Lloyd and Mike Strupelli (a Santa Barbara paving contractor) began an argument over a "sewer question", and said argument ended when Strupelli socked Lloyd in the jaw, knocking him to the ground! The irate paving contractor was later arrested for assaulting the mayor but was later released, and the Call later related that "the mayor will file no charges against him."
From the San Francisco Call, July 22, 1911.
In the year after leaving office, Lloyd was appointed as the assessor of the city of Santa Barbara, filling out an unexpired term. He was later elected to a term of his own as city assessor, serving until 1918. Clio L. Lloyd died three years later on February 6, 1921 in Santa Barbara, aged 56. A lifelong bachelor, he was later interred at the Santa Barbara Cemetery in that city.