Former State Senate Pro Tem Don Perata is making
a good living in his second career as a lobbyist.
ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL | Following Don Perata’s unsuccessful bid in 2010 to be Oakland’s next mayor, one of the East Bay’s political giants was out of the game. But, like many well-connected politicians before him, he turned to a lucrative career in lobbying. The relationships built over the span of four decades are now currency for Perata. Since registering as a lobbyist in 2013, Perata has quickly earned more than $600,000.
The California Infill Builders Federation has retained Perata’s services, as have the health-care firm Ramsell Corporation and Intelligent Sign Network, LLC, both in Oakland, along with rail operator SSA Marine, among others. Yet the city of Alameda stands as the biggest client of Perata Consulting, LLC.
In 2013, the Alameda City Council broadened Perata’s portfolio when it approved a one-year $90,000 contract for the services of his firm, which appears to be a one-man shop consisting only of the man both lovingly and derisively known as “The Don.” Last December, the council approved a three-year extension of his contract, worth an additional $270,000.
A majority of the issues now on his plate appear to be extensions of the previous year’s work, including road improvements, funding for tsunami preparedness, and pushing through Oakland traffic mitigations designed to reduce congestion of the Webster-Posey Tube. Lobbying for additional ferries to the island will be Perata’s top focus this year, according to the scope of services he provided the city in December. Perata has a long history of favoring an expansion of aquatic transportation, even though it is the least cost-effective form of major Bay Area transportation.
Perata’s ties to Alameda are well known. He grew up on the island and cut his teeth in local politics during the fight in the early 1970s to limit housing construction. As his career blossomed as an Alameda County supervisor and State Senate Pro Tem leader, Perata was no stranger to controversy. A lengthy five-year FBI investigation into Perata’s business dealings ultimately produced no criminal charges, but the stigma sullied his image. Later, a number of ethics violations involving campaign finances tainted his image further, and suggestions arose questioning Perata’s allegiance to his closest allies.
Some in Oakland also howled in late 2013 when Perata led one of his newest clients, the Oakland Raiders, on a tour of the vacant Concord Naval Weapons Station as a possible site for a new stadium. This came at a time when city and county officials were actively working on a plan to build a new venue for the team in Oakland.
However, Perata’s past never surfaced during council discussions over his consulting contract in 2013, or last December, and city officials speak of him in glowing terms.
“Don delivers,” Alameda Councilmember Tony Daysog said with a smile. “I’m unapologetic about having Don as a lobbyist, given his extensive contacts.”…