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A note to our website visitors:

If you've come here for some last-minute information or breaking news, thanks for visiting but sorry, we don't have anything else to say.

Everything we have to present about Perata and the Oakland mayor's race is already here.

We invite you to go through our website, if you haven't already done so. Even if you've been here previously, there's a wealth of information and links for you to look at and take in.

Otherwise, our job is done, and now it's up to you.

If you haven't already mailed in your ballot, go out to the polls on Tuesday and vote for the candidate of your choice. After all the rhetoric and action of this long mayoral campaign, that's more important than anything anybody else can say or do.

It's in your hands, friends.

Anybody But Perata For Mayor Website
November 1, 2010



What Don Perata Is Doing To Try To Buy Oakland's Election

See the full story here



Spending For Perata Campaign Tops $1 Million

By Robert Gammon
East Bay Express
October 29, 2010

Coalition for a Safer California, a Sacramento group with close ties to Perata, [has now] reported spending $55,000 on a new round of TV ads on behalf of Perata, along with $26,000 on a new mailer, touting Perata’s candidacy. That means the group has now spent $222,000 trying to get the ex-senator elected, pushing total spending for Perata over the $1 million mark.

[For The Full Story]

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What's At Stake In Oakland's Mayoral Election

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Anybody But Perata Website
October 28, 2010

At least once in every campaign season, you can pretty much count on someone to jump up and declare this particular election to be the election of the century, a monumental game-changer with the potential to alter our political and social landscape for a generation.

Usually this is just campaign hyperbole, designed only to stir up enough interest to get people out to the polls.

In this year’s Oakland mayoral race, however, there is good reason to believe that predictions of a landscape-changing election may be true.

Here are the reasons I believe this.

If Don Perata is defeated on November 2, it would probably give big, outside money interests pause when they think about  massive intervention in Oakland politics again. Their thinking would be much like Oakland gangs once discouraged LA’s bloods and crips from traveling north and taking over our streets. Big money always seeks a return on their investment, and after seeing more than a million dollars go into the Perata For Mayor campaign without reward, Oakland would not look as much like a productive field of play for them as it does right now.

Discouraging big outside money from overloading future Oakland political campaigns would not solve the rest of Oakland’s problems, but it would mean that Oaklanders would be better able to fight over the solutions to the problems amongst ourselves, which is the way it ought to be.

Just the opposite would be true, however, if Don Perata wins.

If Perata wins, big outside money would conclude the obvious, that throwing massive amounts of contributions into Oakland campaign works, and that breaking Oakland campaign finance law results in little or no bad consequences either to the interests giving out the money or the politicians to whom the money flows. Even if the Oakland City Council is eventually able to close up the independent expenditure campaign finance loophole that the Perata campaign has exploited in the current race—and that’s a big if—big outside money would treat Oakland like rodents treat a house they have successfully invaded. Blocking up the hole they originally used to get in wouldn’t discourage invasion, it would only cause them to scurry around looking for other openings. It would take many years, and much political struggle, for Oakland residents to get back control of our campaign finances—and our city—again.

In fact, we see the money influx into other Oakland political campaigns already happening. This week, the campaign of District 4 Council candidate Libby Schaaf is charging that the Rental Housing Association Of Northern California PAC has gone over the independent campaign expenditure limit on behalf of Jill Broadhurts, another District 4 candidate, thus triggering a negating of the campaign finance limits in that race. Like the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the levees have been breached and Oakland can expect to be flooded, and polluted, with more outrageous sums of campaign money.

Meanwhile Don Perata—the most prodigious big-money fund-raiser on the Oakland political scene today—can be expected to be the main person using outside big money donations to consolidate his power, if, in fact, he wins the power of the Oakland mayor’s seat on November 2.

Almost certainly, Mayor Perata’s first target—if he becomes mayor—would be creating for himself a solid working majority on the Oakland City Council in order to ensure that his budgets get passed and his favorite projects get approved. We could expect massive amounts of money poured into the 2012 City Council elections on behalf of Perata-supported candidates, when five Council seats will be up for re-election.

And since unlike Oakland mayors, Councilmembers are not subject to term limits. If a Mayor Perata could build another cadre of Peratistas on the City Council as he did a decade and more ago, those members could end up serving long past a one or even two-term Perata mayoral administration, just as some of the original Peratistas continue to serve on the Council now.

With a working Council majority in a Mayor Perata’s hands and with the massive outside financial capital available for his use to either fund the ballot measures he wants or block the ones he opposes, a Perata victory next on November 2 would have Oakland in danger of a radical restructuring of our political and neighborhood landscape. Just like the Oakland Unified School District became an experimental zone under the state takeover instigated and authored by Perata—an experiment that ended in a battered and wrecked OUSD—all of Oakland under a Perata Administration would become a testing ground for anyone with the working capital to pay Perata to play in and with our streets, our neighborhoods, our waterways, and our hills.

Some Oakland residents see this outcome as a desireable prospect, particularly when they overlook Perata’s detriments and only describe him as leader who can “get things done.” The problem is, most Oakland residents would have little sayso in a Perata Administration over what direction that “doing” would do. A man so willing to ignore the wishes of Oakland residents in destroying Oakland’s campaign finance limit would have no hesitation in moving to sweep away other checks and balances in city government once given the keys to Oakland’s kingdom.

That means many of the things we love about Oakland—the reason we live here instead of San Francisco or Walnut Creek or LA—would all be in jeapordy under Mayor Don Perata.

You think you’re being ignored and locked out of Oakland decisions now? You think Oakland is working for others and not for you? Just wait until the big money, outside-of-Oakland interests get their full hands around Oakland City Hall in a Don Perata Administration. As they used to say on those old West Oakland porches back before West Oakland neighborhoods were devastated by redevelopment in a previous big-money Oakland overhaul, “Lord, honey, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

That’s why the position I’ve taken in this year’s election is anybody but Don Perata for mayor of Oakland.

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Trying To Buy Oakland's Election


Spending For Perata Campaign Tops $1 Million

By Robert Gammon
East Bay Express
October 29, 2010

Coalition for a Safer California, a Sacramento group with close ties to Perata, [has now] reported spending $55,000 on a new round of TV ads on behalf of Perata, along with $26,000 on a new mailer, touting Perata’s candidacy. That means the group has now spent $222,000 trying to get the ex-senator elected, pushing total spending for Perata over the $1 million mark.

[For The Full Story]

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A's Owners Give Perata A Boost Through Coalition

By Cecily Burt
Oakland Tribune
October 27, 2010

OAKLAND -- After spending enough cash to help Don Perata bust through Oakland's voluntary spending cap in the race for Oakland mayor, the Sacramento-based Coalition for a Safer California appears to be amassing a new war chest for a last blast before the Nov. 2 election.

And guess who's helping out? Lew Wolff, owner of the Oakland A's, recently contributed $10,000 and his partner, John Fisher, contributed $15,000, according to campaign finance documents filed with the Secretary of State's Office late last week.

Wolff wants to move his team to San Jose, so maybe the contributions aren't surprising given recent published comments in the Tribune that Perata thinks the move is a done deal.

But Wolff said Wednesday that Perata's stance on the A's and the team's future home had nothing to do with his decision to try to help him win the election.

[For The Full Story]

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Big Corporations Pour Last-Minute Money Into Oakland Mayoral Race

PG&E, Comcast, and HealthNet all give donations to political action committee supporting Don Perata

Anybody But Perata Website
October 25, 2010

Corporate giants PG&E, Comcast, and HealthNet have all donated thousands of dollars in last-minute funds to a group called the Oakland Jobs PAC, helping the political action committee fund a $33,000 brochure mailer in support of the Oakland mayoral candidacy of Don Perata.

PG&E donated $10,000 to the Oakland Jobs PAC in the first weeks of October, while Comcast and HealthNet gave $5,000 apiece during the same period.

Meanwhile, PG&E, Comcast, and HealthNet were not the only donors to give big money this October to the Oakland Jobs PAC in support of Perata's mayoral campaign.

The Northern California Carpenters Regional Council Small Contributor Committee gave another $10,000 and Architectural Dimension of Walnut Creek and Rosendin Electric of San Jose, two major players in the building industry, gave another $5,000 apiece.

And the Nossman attorney firm of Los Angeles, which bills itself as a leader in the area of "eminent domain and other valuation disputes, representing public agencies, landowners, and business owners," gave $2,000 to the Oakland Jobs PAC.

The Oakland Jobs PAC is headed by Oakland-based consultant and legislative advocate Gregory McConnell, who is also executive director of the Oakland Safe Streets Committee.

In 2007, then-Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente appointed McConnell to Oakland’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Housing Affordability as a representative of Oakland’s homebuilding industry.

The East Bay Express reported that the Oakland Jobs PAC spent close to $50,000 in 2008 in support of former Oakland School Board member Kerry Hamill's campaign for the Oakland City Council At-Large seat against the eventual winner of that race, Rebecca Kaplan. ("Cops Measure Backers Supporting Hamill, Possibly Illegally" East Bay Express May 30, 2008) Perata supported Hamill against Kaplan in that race.

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A's Owners Give $25,000 to Perata Group After Ex-Senator Says Team Is Moving to San Jose

By Robert Gammon
East Bay Express
October 25, 2010

Oakland A's owners Lew Wolff and John Fisher, who desparately want to move their team to San Jose, are trying to influence the outcome of the Oakland mayor’s race, pumping $25,000 into a political committee that is backing ex-state Senator Don Perata. The move is unusual because Oakland sports team owners don't typically attempt to sway city elections and because Wolff is known for being frugal with his money. The large donations also came after recent statements made by Perata that stopping the A’s move to the South Bay will not be a priority if he becomes mayor.


In an interview, Wolff denied that Perata's stance on the A's had anything to do with his $10,000 donation, saying he's supporting the ex-senator because he thinks he's the best mayoral candidate. Fisher donated $15,000. "I've known him for years," Wolff said of Perata, "and I respect him." Wolff also said he hasn't been paying attention to what Perata has been saying on the campaign trail.

But an attempt by an Oakland sports team owner to affect the outcome of a mayor's race may be unprecedented in recent decades. “I’ve been in Oakland since 1964, and I’ve never heard of anything like this,” Newhouse said in an interview after being told of what Wolff had done. Newhouse also said that Perata’s disinterest in keeping the A’s in Oakland “makes more sense” in light of Wolff’s attempt to get the ex-senator elected.

Indeed, it seems unlikely that Wolff and Fisher would support a candidate who would try to stop their San Jose plans.

[For The Full Story]

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Perata Law Enforcement Ally Has $157,000 Campaign Warchest To Put In Oakland Mayoral Race In Last Days

From The Anybody But Perata Website
October 24, 2010

The Coalition For A Safer California—a Sacramento-based political action committee largely funded by Don Perata's prison guards union employers—reports close to $157,000 in the bank available to pour into the Oakland mayoral race in the next week, according to financial records available on the California Secretary of State website.

That will almost certainly mean massive campaign mailings can be expected to Oakland voters in the next few days either supporting Perata or tearing down his opponents.

The Safer California coalition was the funder of the controversial Oakland "police mailer" last summer which criticized two of Perata's major opponents in the mayoral race—Jean Quan and Rebecca Kaplan—during negotiations with the Oakland police union over closing the city of Oakland's budget gap.

The major contributor to the Safer California coalition is the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the prison guards union which gave $75,000 to the coalition in the last two weeks. In all, the prison guards union has given $225,000 to the Safer California coalition this year.

Perata has received at least $469,000 as a political consultant from the prison guards union since he left the State Senate in late 2008.

Including the money coming from the prison guards union, more than 80% of the Safer California coalition's contributions this month have come directly from Oakland residents or individuals or companies with Oakland interests or Oakland connections.

[For The Full Story, Including A Complete List Of Coalition Donors]

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Perata Spending Closes in on $1 Million; Marcie Hodge Fails to Disclose Donors

By Robert Gammon
East Bay Express
October 22, 2010

Campaigns attempting to elect Don Perata mayor of Oakland have spent a record $965,000, newly filed campaign finance reports show. Perata’s own mayoral campaign had spent at least $669,000 through October 16, and two other committees backing his candidacy spent at least $269,000 trying to put him in the mayor’s office. The totals easily shatter previous Oakland mayoral campaign spending records.

The two other committees spending large sums on Perata’s behalf are a Sacramento group with close ties to him, Coalition for a Safer California, and an Oakland committee, Oakland Jobs PAC, that also has links to the ex-senator. Coalition for a Safer California has spent $141,000 in support of Perata, while Oakland Jobs PAC reported spending $155,000 so far.

Both groups eclipsed Oakland’s $95,000 threshold for spending by independent committees. And Perata has now more than doubled the city’s spending cap of $379,000. Perata found a loophole in Oakland law that allows him to exceed the cap once other groups have done so — even if they're spending money on his behalf. The city's cap rule was designed to help candidates who are attacked by outside groups who spend lots of money — but the loophole also allows candidates like Perata to benefit from groups overspending in support of him.


Finally, it should be noted that mayoral candidate Marcie Hodge has yet to file a campaign finance report as required by law during the election. Hodge has spent significant sums on billboards, mailers, radio spots, and now TV ads. Several black leaders in Oakland believe that Perata supporters are bankrolling her campaign in an effort to siphon votes from Kaplan and Quan. Hodge has denied getting help from the ex-senator and said she loaned herself a large donation, but it’s unclear where she got the money, because she reported having no job, no income, and no investments on her official financial disclosures in August.

[To the Full Article]

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Greg Harland Reverses Field, Now Says Perata Is His Second Choice For Mayor Of Oakland

From The Anybody But Perata Website
October 22, 2010

Oakland mayoral candidate Greg Harland has suddenly changed his position on Don Perata, telling voters at a Thursday night candidates forum at Holy Names College that Perata is now his second choice for mayor of Oakland.

Harland said he felt Perata had the experience and was "well-qualified" to become Oakland's next mayor.

With all Oakland voters getting second and third choices for mayor this year in the city's new "ranked choice" voting format, candidates at the forum were asked who their second and third choices would be on the ballot.

Harland's position on Perata is a marked change from his position only a month ago. At the September 14 Oakland Climate Action Coalition mayoral debate at the Oakland Museum, Harland said that Perata was "not the candidate for Oakland," adding that Perata's front-runner status in the campaign was only due to "name recognition," which Harland implied was a poor way to pick a city leader. "If Charles Manson came to Oakland and ran for mayor, he'd beat us all out," Harland said.

Earlier in the campaign, Harland was one of the few mayoral candidates to offer specific criticism of Perata.

That changed abruptly two weeks ago, however, during the debate at the Pacific Renaissance Plaza, when Harland stopped criticizing Perata and instead turned his attacks on another mayoral candidate, Jean Quan. Observers noted at the time that it seemed odd that Harland would begin his criticism of Quan at a Chinese-American event, since it seemed more likely to cost him votes in that venue than to gain votes.

Since the Chinatown debate, Harland has criticized Quan in several debates—sometimes adding a criticism of mayoral candidate Rebecca Kaplan—but has stopped criticizing Perata. At Thursday night's College of Holy Names forum, Harland spent close to half of his two minute closing statement in a criticism of Quan and Kaplan, a time that other candidates used to promote their own candidacies.

Harland has offered no explanation as to his abrupt change of opinion of Perata, or his change of tactics in now repeatedly attacking Perata's closest competitors in the mayor's race.

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Perata Pulls A Double Wednesday No-Show; Skips Two Candidate Forums In One Evening

Anybody But Perata Website
October 20, 2010

Don Perata—whose campaign is based in part on a pledge to "show up" if he is elected mayor of Oakland—failed to show up for again for the two latest mayoral campaign candidate forums, one sponsored by the Alameda County Democratic Lawyers Club at Everett & Jones Barbecue at Jack London Square, the other by Alameda County Community Food Bank in East Oakland.

Most of the other nine candidates in the Oakland mayoral race attended both Wednesday night forums.

Perata has now failed now to attend six of the last seven Oakland mayoral forums, including the October 6 forum at Allen Temple Baptist Church, the October 11 progressive debate at Humanist Hall, the October 13 housing organizations debate at Youth UpRising, and the October 16 Standing Together for Accountable Neighborhood Development debate in North Oakland.

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How The San Francisco Chronicle Continues To Alter The Facts And Stack The Deck For Their Favorite Candidate, Don Perata

Anybody But Perata Website
October 20, 2010

As we have said several times before, the San Francisco Chronicle has been manipulating its news coverage of the Oakland mayoral race in order to promote its favorite candidate, Don Perata.

Here is one more example.

In an October 18 article on the budget plans of the four leading Oakland mayoral candidates ("4 Top Oakland Mayoral Candidates Split Over Budget"), Chronicle reporter Matthai Kuruvila critizes the budget figures given out by Oakland City Councilmember Jean Quan.

"[Quan] believes police make up too big a portion of the [City of Oakland] budget," Kuruvila writes, "though she frequently overstates police and fire costs by saying they account for 74 percent of the general fund, when the actual figure is 65 percent."

While Kuruvila includes criticisms of each of the candidates' positions by the other candidates in the race, Quan is the only candidate whose figures or positions he chooses to directly challenge himself.

The problem with Kuruvila's challenge of Quan's figures?

Last July, when the City Council was in the middle of the failed negotiations with the Oakland police union that led to the layoff of 80 police officers, Kuruvila wrote the following: "Oakland has been slashing nearly every part of its budget except public safety. Police and fire costs now account for about 75 percent of the general fund budget, compared to 61 percent just five years ago." ("Oakland Scrambles To Avoid Police Layoffs.")

In other words, Chronicle reporter Kuruvila was using virtually the same police/fire percentage of the Oakland budget last July that he is now criticizing and "correcting" Jean Quan for using.

It's possible that this was simply sloppy reporting and editing, a newspaper that's not even bothering to check back on the facts that it previously reported.

Or, is it a case of the Chronicle trying to subtly tear down the qualifications of the candidate who is closest to Perata in the polls, Jean Quan, and therefore the person Perata probably currently considers his most serious threat in the mayor's race?

You decide which explanation is correct.

Given the fact that this is not the first time the Chronicle has slanted its news stories to help Perata, we've already made up our minds which.

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Perata Flip-Flops on Debates and Ethics Commission

By Robert Gammon
East Bay Express
October 6, 2010

Ex-senator Don Perata has changed his positions in recent days on at least two issues of controversy during the campaign — the format of mayoral debates and his call for eliminating the Oakland Public Ethics Commission. For months, Perata said he would not participate in debates unless all ten candidates for mayor were invited. In fact, at least one debate organizer, the Sierra Club, changed its debate format to include all candidates after Perata refused to attend. But then late last week, Perata changed his tune and criticized the ten-person format for promoting superficiality.


But then late last week, Perata did a complete about-face, telling the Chronicle that having ten candidates at a debate — a format that he demanded — was depriving voters of substantive discussions. "We are promoting bumper-sticker speaking," the ex-senator told the newspaper, apparently with a straight face. Unfortunately, the paper failed to call him out on his flip-flop.

Throughout the campaign, Perata also has said he would help balance Oakland’s budget by eliminating the city’s Public Ethics Commission. But his plan prompted much derision because the Ethics Commission operates on a tiny budget that would barely put a dent in Oakland’s deficit and because the commission enforces the city’s ethics laws and Perata has had numerous questionable ethical dealings over the years.


So what did Perata do after his bright idea was exposed? He flip-flopped again. Last week, during a debate hosted by the Rockridge Community Council and League of Women Voters, he answered “no” when asked whether he was in favor of abolishing the Ethics Commission.

[For the Full Article]

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Fresh Face Or Old Guard?

Jean Quan, Rebecca Kaplan, and Joe Tuman hope to defeat Don Perata on Nov. 2 and end Oakland's love affair with career politicians.

By Robert Gammon
East Bay Express
October 6, 2010

Oakland voters may once again elect a big-name, career politician as their mayor in 2010. Recent polls show that Don Perata, the former president pro tem of the California Senate, state Assemblyman, and county supervisor, is leading the race even though there's scant evidence to suggest that he'll be any more successful than Oakland's last three mayors.

Indeed, there's ample reason to believe that Perata could make the city's problems worse. After all, he was the behind-the-scenes architect of the 1995 Oakland Raiders deal, perhaps the biggest financial debacle in city history, and one that is costing Oakland $10 million in debt payments annually through 2025. Perata also has a long history of putting the needs of his friends, his family, his donors, and himself above those of taxpayers. His ethically questionable financial dealings over the years prompted a five-year, public-corruption probe by the FBI.

Perata, 65, also seems no more interested in governing than Dellums. His campaign slogan is: "I Believe in Oakland," yet he has skipped the vast majority of the mayoral debates so far, and when he does attend, he mails it in. He repeatedly ignores questions and instead launches into long-winded, rambling critiques of city government without offering viable solutions for fixing what's wrong. At last month's Chamber of Commerce debate, he acted as if he didn't want to be there, often mumbling his answers into the microphone and forcing spectators to shout: "Speak up!" or "We can't hear you!"

Still, political mythology can be more powerful than reality. And the mythology surrounding Perata is strong. Over the years, he has fostered a reputation for being both a tough guy who cleans house and a political pragmatist who gets things done. But a closer look at his long political record shows that his true genius is raising campaign funds and rising to power — not bettering the lives of taxpayers. Several years ago, this newspaper conducted an exhaustive analysis of Perata's legislative record in Sacramento, examining every bill he ever introduced. It turned out that he had one of the worst records in the capital for getting his legislation passed into law.

As the leader of the Senate, Perata also failed to address California's systemic budget problems, including the unsustainable public employee compensation and pension benefits that are now helping bankrupt the state. Among the public employee unions he protected from budget cuts was the California Correctional Peace Officers Association. Then when he was termed out of office, the prison guard's union promptly hired him as a "political consultant." Records show that the union has paid him more than $400,000 since early 2009, while mounting no political campaigns — other than funding hit-piece mailers attacking two of Perata's main opponents in the Oakland mayor's race.

[For the Full Article]

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Oakland Tribune Columnists Give Devastating View Of Perata's Performance At the Tribune Editorial Board Endorsement Meeting

Perata Appeared Either "Lazy" Or "Tired." "His Attitude Was That He Had Already Won The Election." "We Were Shocked By [His] Evasiveness, Use Of Faulty Facts, And Ignorance Of Some Of The Major Issues Facing The City."

Anybody But Perata Website
October 18, 2010

Last week, the Editorial Board of the Oakland Tribune dealt a blow to the mayoral candidacy of Don Perata, saying that "Oakland deserves better" than Perata as its next mayor ("We Recommend Kaplan For Oakland Mayor").

This week, two members of the Tribune's editorial board, columnists Tammerlin Drummond and Dave Newhouse, give their individual reasons for rejecting Perata, painting a dismal picture of Perata's performance at the editorial meeting.

According to the columnists, the Tribune editorial board held close to a three-hour conference with who they considered the four top candidates in the Oakland mayoral race—Perata, Councilmembers Jean Quan and Rebecca Kaplan, and political science professor Joe Tuman—and Perata did especially poorly.

"The candidate who surprised me the most, but in a negative way, was Perata," Newhouse wrote in a Monday column. "He's considered the front-runner, but his attitude that day was that he already had won the election. Unlike the other three, he leaned back in his chair, offered vague answers, and was sometimes uninformed on city policy. He had to be corrected by council members Quan and Kaplan."

Newhouse continued that "Perata seemed lazy [during the editorial board conference], as if he was going through the motions. He was a hands-on politician in Sacramento, so this new demeanor was disturbing. Ron Dellums was talked out of retirement into running, and we've seen how that turned out. Maybe Perata thinks like Jerry Brown, that Oakland is a steppingstone to something higher. Or Perata is just tired." ("Four Mayor Hopefuls On The Hot Seat.")

Tammerlin Drummond's assessment of Perata's performance at the editorial meeting was equally devastating.

"During the interview," Drummond wrote on Sunday, "we were shocked by Perata's evasiveness, use of faulty facts, and ignorance of some of the major issues facing the city. Perata wrote the opposition to the Measure X $360-per-year parcel tax, which would raise the funds to avert more police layoffs.

"Yet when asked how he would find the money to retain the officers," Drummond continued, "Perata had no reasonable alternative. He said vaguely that he would lay off unnecessary employees in other city departments -- fixating on KTOP cable TV, whose budget is minuscule. He then insisted that Police Chief Anthony Batts present his strategic plan to the City Council -- completely unaware that the chief had already done so.

Drummond concluded that "Perata didn't offer up a single fresh idea and didn't even make an effort to appear prepared. Regardless of his standing in the polls, we felt that Perata's poor knowledge of the issues, combined with his history of ethically questionable dealings, made him a poor choice for mayor." ("Newspaper Endorsement An Educated Decision, Not A Science.")

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Perata Reverses Position On Abolishing Public Ethics Commission

Anybody But Perata Website
October 14, 2010

Oakland mayoral candidate Don Perata has reversed his controversial position on Oakland's Public Ethics Commission, answering "no" when asked at a Thursday night candidates debate if he was in favor of abolishing the commission.

The answer was an abrupt turnaround from Perata's previous psoition on the Ethics Commission. Since as far back as April, Perata has been calling for the abolishment of the Ethics Commission as a way to balance Oakland's budget.

The question—which came during a Rockridge Community Planning Council/League of Women Voters mayoral debate at College Preparatory School in Rockridge—was part of the so-called "lightning round" of the candidates forum when candidates can only answer "yes" or "no," without elaboration.

Perata was first reported calling for the abolishment of the city's Ethics Commission at a campaign appearance at Youth UpRising organization headquarters in East Oakland last April ("Perata Calls For Defunding Oakland's Citizens' Police Review Board And Oakland Ethics Commission As Cost-Cutting Measures"), and last September was quoted in a Chip Johnson San Francisco Chronicle article as recommending "saving $500,000 [in Oakland's budget] by closing the Public Ethics Office..." ("Perata Using Failed Oakland Government As A Foil").

Perata's previous position on abolishing the Ethics Commission had caused considerable controversy because Perata has been accused of numerous public ethics violations over the years, and Oakland's commission is charged with investigating ethics violation by Oakland public officials.

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Perata Refuses to List Job Title on Ballot

By Robert Gammon
East Bay Express
October 14, 2010

Oakland mayoral candidate Don Perata is apparently too embarrassed about his job as a highly paid consultant for the California prison guard’s union to list it on the November ballot. Indeed, the ex-state senator has taken the unusual step of listing no job title at all. As a result, his ballot designation just says, “Don Perata.”

A candidate not listing his job title directly under his name on the ballot is rare. Perata is the only candidate — statewide or in Oakland — not to have done so on the local ballot. His main competitors, Jean Quan and Rebecca Kaplan, list their jobs as Oakland city councilmembers, and Joe Tuman lists his as “professor/political analyst.”

“I think it shows what he really ‘believes’ about Oakland voters,” Kaplan said. “It shows that he ‘believes’ they won’t vote for him if they know he works for the prison lobby.”

The California Correctional Peace Officers Association hired Perata in early 2009 as a “political consultant” just after he was termed out of the state senate. The union is Perata’s only publicly known employer and it has paid him at least $469,000, records show. The high pay also has raised numerous questions about what Perata is doing currently for the union — or whether it’s merely about payback. During his time in the senate, Perata helped protect the union from state budget cuts. The union also financed two hit-piece mailers against Quan and Kaplan earlier this year.

[To Full Article]

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25 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Vote for Don Perata
Read this if you're still thinking about making the ex-senator one of your three choices for Oakland mayor.

East Bay Express
October 13, 2010

1. He's Lazy. Don Perata appears to be no more interested in putting in the hard work needed to solve Oakland's problems than the current mayor. Oakland desperately needs a fully engaged leader with viable plans for fixing the city, but Perata has offered no detailed proposal for how to do it. And he's been a no-show to a vast majority of mayoral debates so far, leaving voters to wonder what he believes in. And when he does show up, he usually acts as if he doesn't want to be there, offering rambling criticisms of city government and empty bromides about what he would do if he wins.

2. He's Corrupt. Perata's dizzying career of pay-to-play financial dealings convinced the FBI's public corruption squad that he was guilty of criminal wrongdoing. They investigated him for more than five years and then, when local prosecutors declined to file charges, took their case to Sacramento. The ex-senator claimed he was the victim of a right-wing conspiracy orchestrated by the Bush White House, but it was newspaper stories about Perata in the Oakland Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, and East Bay Express that prompted the FBI to launch its probe. The vast right-wing conspiracy actually spared the senator — by making his case look politically inspired when it was not.

3. It's All About Don. Perata has attempted to portray himself as a down-to-earth politician. But records show he has spent more than $1 million of his campaign funds in the past decade on living large — throwing lavish parties, dining at upscale restaurants, relaxing at expensive hotels, and showering gifts on himself, his friends, and his donors.

[To The Full Article (and the other 22 reasons)]

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Saying "Oakland Deserves Better,"Oakland Tribune Rejects Don Perata For Mayor

Anybody But Perata Website
October 12, 2010

In an editorial in which it endorsed Oakland City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan as Oakland's next mayor, the Oakland Tribune has dismissed the candidacy of former State Senate President Don Perata.

The Tribune selected political science professor Joe Tuman as its second choice for mayor and Oakland City Councilmember Jean Quan as its third. The Tribune said that "Perata did not make our cut" to be recommended for mayor.

The Tribune editorial gave a harsh view of Perata's mayoral qualifications.

"We found Perata's poor grasp of the issues appalling," the editorial said. "He has repeatedly dodged tough questions while blaming others for the city's problems rather than offering constructive solutions.

"He has no viable plans to avoid the looming layoffs of 122 more police officers. He also would not commit to reopening pension negotiations with the police union, which supports his candidacy.

"Perata was a major player in the horrible 1995 Coliseum deal that still costs taxpayers $10 million a year on a debt that stands at $150 million after 15 years of payments. Moreover, he has a history of ethically questionable dealings. In this election, he violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the law by surpassing the voluntary campaign spending limits."

The Tribune editorial concluded that "Oakland deserves better" than a Don Perata as its mayor.

[To Full Editorial]



More Details On The Predatory Don Perata

How State Senator Perata Took Campaign Contributions From The Sub-Prime Mortgage Industry While He Worked To Try To Kill A 2001 Oakland Ordinance That Would Have Protected Oakland Homeowners From The Predatory Lenders And The Home Mortgage Crisis

In 2002, the City of Oakland was fighting off the predatory home mortgage lenders and trying to protect Oakland homeowners from losing their homes. The year before, the Oakland City Council passed a "predatory lender" ordinance that gave greater protections to loan recipients than was present in the state law.

Specifically, according to the Oakland Tribune in 2002, the Oakland "predatory lender" ordinance mandated that "lenders [would] have to consider a borrower's ability to repay the loan before they service the customer. [The Oakland law] also [mandated] that no lender [could] make a high-cost home loan without making sure the client either receives counseling from a third-party credit counselor or waives such a session."

Without those protections, many homeowners were fooled into taking out loans on their homes that they couldn't afford, and later ended up losing their houses when they couldn't make the increased monthly payments.

Representatives of the mortgage lending industry sued to block the Oakland ordinance. A California Superior Court judge in Alameda County ruled in favor of Oakland, but the Oakland ordinance was still on hold by the mortgage lenders appealed.

It was here, late in the 2002 legislative session, that Don Perata—then a California State Senator representing Oakland—stepped in with a bill to block Oakland—or any California city—from passing its own ordinances aimed at predatory home lenders. Perata was taking contributions from one of the largest predatory lenders—Ameriquest—at the time, as well as from the California Financial Services Association, which the Tribune said at the time "represent[ed] much of the subprime or higher-cost loan industry."

Perata only dropped his bill after consumer advocate organizations protested and made his actions public, and after then-Governor Gray Davis said he did not want to have to deal with a bill during an election year that pitted mortgage industry representatives against consumers.

The "predatory lenders" eventually won their battle when the California State Supreme Court ruled with them and invalidated the Oakland consumer protection ordinance.

As a result, hundreds of Oakland homeowners unknowingly agreed to bad loans, and lost their homes.

A summary of this story has already been reported (see "Who Killed Oakland's Predatory Lending Law?", a 2009 East Bay Express article by Robert Gammon.

But the Anybody But Perata website has now received two stories from the Oakland Tribune, written in 2002 at the time Perata was working with the "predatory lenders" to try to kill Oakland's consumer protection ordinance, that give more details and a fuller story. We have posted them below, for thosewho are interested in who Don Perata really represents.




Predatory Loan Law May Be Blocked
Consumer Advocates Fear Proposed Statewide Moratorium May Kill Oakland Ordinance

By Steve Geissinger
Sacramento Bureau
Oakland Tribune
August 22, 2002

The consumer loan industry, perhaps aided by an East Bay lawmaker, is planning an 11th-hour legislative push for a moratorium on local anti-predatory lending measures, threatening Oakland's landmark ordinance, consumer groups warned Wednesday.

Consumers Union and other advocacy groups said the effort in the waning days of the [legislative session could kill the Oakland or]dinance or disadvantage Oakland in other ways.

Representatives of the California Financial Services Association, which represents much of the subprime or higher-cost loan industry, serving consumers who pose a greater financial risk, did not immediately return phone calls to comment.

Sen. Don Perata, an Oakland Democrat who has received campaign contributions from the consumer lending industry, also did not return calls requesting comment. A spokesman said he could "not confirm or deny" that the lawmaker planned to sponsor the measure.

[To Full Story]

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State Senator Drops Industry Attack On City's Loan Law
Moratorium On Lending Measures Would Have Hurt Oakland, Activists Say

By Steve Geissinger
Sacramento Bureau
Oakland Tribune
August 27, 2002

State Sen. Don Perata on Monday abandoned a loan industry-backed, 11th-hour push for a moratorium on local anti-predatory lending measures, which consumer advocates said threatened Oakland's landmark ordinance.

The Oakland Democrat dropped the effort after an Oakland Tribune report sparked protests by consumer groups and Oakland city officials, and word from Democratic Gov. Gray Davis that he didn't want the industry-versus-consumers melee landing on his desk during his re-election campaign.

Perata said in an interview on the Senate floor that his work on the issue in the waning days of the Legislature's annual session had been aimed at benefiting consumers in general and Oakland specifically.

But consumer activists said the senator was misled by the consumer loan industry.

"This was totally an industry sneak attack," said Norma Garcia of Consumers Union.

[To Full Story]

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Who Will Pay Perata's Bills?



The Prison Guards And Don Perata





Last spring , the City of Oakland was facing a severe financial crisis. The city was facing a $30.5 million budget deficit for the 2010-11 fiscal year, with projected deficits of $51.2 million in the 2011-12 year and $54.6 million in 2012-13.

With no way to bring in any new money soon enough, the Oakland City Council had to find a way to cut the budget by the beginning of July. And with 85% of the available city money being spent on public safety, the Oakland Police Department portion of the budget was the main place they could go.

The Oakland City Council and the mayor's office opened up negotiations with the Oakland Police Officers Association police union, trying to get the police officers to contribute to their own pensions. Currently, the city has to put up all the money for the police pensions, with the police officers themselves giving nothing. But OPOA refused to make the deal, and the City Council voted to lay off 80 Oakland police officers in order to balance the budget.

Now San Francisco Chronicle columnist and Don Perata booster Chip Johnson says that Don Perata had a plan last June that would have balanced the budget and saved the police cutbacks, but the Oakland City Council wouldn't go along with it.

"Perata said he gave city officials a list of dozens of potential ways to save money and save cops' jobs," Johnson wrote in a September 3 column ("Perata Using Failed Oakland Government As A Foil."). "Those were ignored, and the city laid off 80 police officers this summer."

Johnson went on to give some details of the Perata budget proposals.

"Perata's proposed cuts included eliminating the Police Department's civilian neighborhood service officers to save $3 million and preserve sworn officers' jobs," Johnson wrote. "He [Perata] recommended suspending boards and commissions except those required by law, and saving $500,000 by closing the Public Ethics Office, created more than a decade ago to justify a council salary hike. The list goes on and on."

At the Anybody But Perata website, we are a little surprised by this information from Chip Johnson about a list of Perata budget recommendations that "goes on and on," since we've heard little of this from Don Perata himself.

Last April, Don Perata suggested at an East Oakland campaign appearance that the Oakland Citizens' Police Review Board and Ethics Commission could be abolished as a way to balance the city's budget. But after that information was reported on this website ("Perata Calls For Defunding Oakland's Citizens' Police Review Board And Oakland Ethics Commission As Cost-Cutting Measures"), Perata appeared to stop talking about specific budget cuts at his campaign appearances.

And we can find no mention of any specific budget-cutting plan on Perata's campaign website. On the page where he talks about "Why I Am Running For Mayor Of Oakland," for example, Perata says that "I want to be mayor of Oakland to help get this city back on track and reach its full potential." But he doesn't say how he plans to do it.

If Don Perata did have a specific plan last June to balance Oakland's city budget and prevent the police layoffs, we think he should share that with the Oakland public. So far, Don Perata's campaign has all been about generalities. But Perata's budget-balancing plan would give Oakland voters a better idea of Don Perata's priorities for the city of Oakland, what he would propose to fund and what he would try to do away with, and what kind of city this would be if we elect him mayor.

What's the big secret?

Show us your plan, Mr. Perata, and tell us exactly how you would save our city.

Oakland voters would like to know.

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While He Was State Senator, Don Perata Took A Half A Million Dollars In Mortgage Broker Contributions While Trying To Kill An Oakland Ordinance That Would Have Saved Many Oakland Homeowners From Foreclosure

West Oakland family talk of eviction from their home by a mortgage lender in a 2009 press conference (from the article "Foreclosed And Evicted In West Oakland," BayView Newspaper, July 30, 2009)

It was called the home foreclosure crisis of the last decade, and an Oakland ordinance might have prevented it.

According to a recently-released story in New America Media, "between 2006 and 2009, one in four mortgages in Oakland, affecting 14,941 property owners, began to enter into foreclosure." That is the finding contained in a recent report by the organization Causa Justa Just Cause, "Rebuilding Neighborhoods, Restoring Health.”

“Communities of color are the worst hit,” Alameda County Public Health Department Deputy Director Dr. Sandra Witt told New America Media. ("Foreclosures Are Making People Sick" New America Media, September 3, 2010)

It was called the foreclosure crisis, with both new and long-term homeowners losing their homes to banks and mortgage companies, and it swept across Oakland and across the entire country.

In 2001, the Oakland City Council passed a "predatory lending" ordinance that would have stopped many of these foreclosures. It would have helped many Oakland families keep the homes they had owned for many years. It would have stopped many Oakland families from getting into bad deals when they tried to buy homes, and would have kept their home ownership dream alive. The 2001 Oakland "predatory lending" ordinance would have helped slow down—and maybe even helped to prevent—the mortgage foreclosure crisis of the last 10 years.

Don Perata tried to kill Oakland's "predatory lending" ordinance.

Perata—who was a State Senator representing Oakland at the time—worked against the Oakland ordinance in the state legislature while taking more than half a million dollars in contributions from Ameriquest, a mortgage lender that was opposed to the Oakland "predatory lending" ordinance.

"[I]n the late summer of 2002, when it looked as if the subprime industry was going to lose [a] court battle [against the Oakland "predatory lending" ordinance] and Oakland's tough law was going to go into effect, Perata sponsored a bill that would have killed it and a similar ACORN-backed ordinance pending before the Los Angeles City Council. Perata's legislation would have specifically 'preempted' cities from enacting predatory lending ordinances.

"At the time, the senator was taking large donations from Ameriquest, an Orange County subprime lender that strongly opposed Oakland's law. According to campaign finance reports, Perata and political committees closely associated with him accepted at least $200,000 in contributions from Ameriquest before he sponsored the bill that would have shot down Oakland's law. In all, Ameriquest donated at least $591,000 to Perata or committees closely associated with him from 2001 until late 2006, when the company went out of business because of its history of giving out lots of bad loans and preying on low-income borrowers who couldn't afford to pay them back.

"In fact, Perata and the committees continued to take hundreds of thousands of dollars from Ameriquest even after the attorneys general of 49 states, including then California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, had charged the company with widespread fraud. Moreover, the Perata committees accepted more than $237,000 from Ameriquest after the company settled its legal troubles with California and 48 other states in January 2006, and agreed to pay $325 million. Ameriquest ceased operations later that year.

"After Perata's support for the legislation became public, ACORN and other consumer advocacy groups eventually convinced him to abandon the bill." [From "ACORN Foresaw The Foreclosure Crisis In 2001," East Bay Express, September 29, 2009]

Oakland's bill was eventually killed by the State Supreme Court, and hundreds of Oakland homeowners lost its protection, and lost their homes.

[For The Full Story]

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The Case Against Don Perata For Mayor Of The City Of Oakland

Back in the spring of 2008, articles began appearing in several Bay Area media outlets promoting the candidacy of outgoing California State Senate President Don Perata for mayor of Oakland in the 2010 elections.

In response, Oakland journalist J. Douglas Allen-Taylor wrote a column for the Berkeley Daily Planet newspaper giving a brief history of the political career of Don Perata, and saying why he thought Perata would be a bad choice for Oakland mayor. The column was called...


From the UnderCurrents Column of the Berkeley Daily Planet newspaper
By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
March 28, 2008

Back South, they say that if a single buzzard passes over your rooftop, don’t pay it no mind. But if you see a couple of them circling, you best check out in the yard. They’re most likely looking for easy pickings.

Not that I’m calling San Francisco Chronicle columnist Chip Johnson and political consultant and columnist Clint Reilly buzzards, but both of them—seemingly independently, but you never know—have suddenly come up with the idea that outgoing State Senate President Don Perata ought to be Oakland’s next mayor.

Now where in the world did Mr. Johnson and Mr. Reilly get that idea, one wonders.

In mid-February, Mr. Johnson wrote a column ["Oakland's Mayor Politicks As People Are Killed"] that criticized Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums for being out of town and, therefore, failing to address a recent rise in murders and violent crimes in the city. A discussion on whether or not that constitutes a valid criticism of Mr. Dellums by Mr. Johnson will have to wait until another time. But way, far down in the column, Mr. Johnson mentions Mr. Perata as someone he believes would be a good alternative to Mr. Dellums. “[Mr. Perata] will be termed out of office next year and has his own future to look out for,” Mr. Johnson writes, “and if Dellums isn't up to the job, his seat might be a good fit for a veteran East Bay politician.”

That seems like unintentionally insightful writing on Mr. Johnson’s part, the fact that Mr. Perata as Oakland mayor is all about Mr. Perata and where he needs to land after hopping out of Sacramento, rather than what is needed for Oakland. Keep that point in mind as we move closer to the Oakland 2010 mayoral election.

[To the full UnderCurrents column]

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The Perata Files

A collection of coverage from the pages of the East Bay Express newspaper "detailing the former senator's many ethical and legal challenges"




You can contact the Anybody But Perata For Mayor website at admin@notdon.org