Alameda Assistant City Manager Alex Nguyen lists the city’s state legislative agenda Tuesday before the Alameda City Council. PHOTO/Steven Tavares
ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL | Alameda is turning to one of the most notorious local politicians in recent memory to lobby Sacramento in its best interests. The City Council approved, 4-0, Tuesday night a $90,000 consulting contract to former State Senate Pro Tem Don Perata.
“We wanted someone who knows Alameda and knows Sacramento,” said Alameda Assistant City Manager Alex Nguyen. Perata, an Alameda native, spent 12 years in the State Legislature before an unsuccessful run for Oakland mayor in 2010.
In contrast to a request for proposal issued by the city for a federal legislative consultant, no outreach was attempted for the statewide bid. Nguyen said while city staff is far more in tune with local issues than Washington politics, he added, “These are things we can’t do on our own.” Enter Perata and his one-man consulting firm, which only registered as a lobbyist last February, according to the Secretary of State’s Web site.
Tuesday’s contract is also not the first time Perata has lobbied for the city. He earned $25,000 for lobbying state legislators last June, according to state records. In the past year, Perata Consulting, LCC has earned $274,000 through Sept. 30 from companies such as the California Infill Builders Federation, Ramsell Corporation, SSA Marine, Intelligent Sign Network, LLC, and the Oakland Raiders. The addition of Tuesday’s contract makes the city of Alameda Perata’s number one client. Perata did not show for the council meeting.
Perata, though, has also amassed a sketchy reputation for corruption, in addition, to a promulgating an image of himself as a mobster, hence, the nickname, “The Don.” During his political career, Perata has been investigated by the FBI for allegedly receiving kickbacks and payments for his work. A five-year investigation, though, led to no arrests or indictments. He has also been accused of carrying water in the State Senate for insurance and Indian gaming interests, along with allegations he routinely misused campaign contributions to fund an extravagant private life.
However, none of Perata’s unscrupulously behavior was mentioned during Tuesday’s council meeting. Councilmembers Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, Stewart Chen and Tony Daysog all expressed faith in Perata’s ability to bring more state funding to the island. Councilmember Lena Tam was absent for Tuesday’s meeting.
“I have no qualms about my vote tonight,” Daysog said after the meeting. “I made it with eyes wide open and I do see much upside.” Daysog then added a common refrain among Perata supporters, “He gets things done.”