Alameda hires Don Perata as a lobbyist

Former state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata has a new lobbying client: his native city of Alameda.

Don PerataCity Council members voted 5-0 Tuesday night to award Perata a $90,000 lobbying contract, according to Michele Ellson, editor of The Alamedan (a great source for the island city’s news). In an earlier piece, Ellson laid out the city’s rationale: It believes it needs a higher profile in Sacramento as it pursues state and federal money for projects such as development of Alameda Point, construction of bike and walking trails and equipment of the city’s public safety departments.

State records show Alameda had hired Perata in a more limited capacity in June. Ellson reports Assistant City Manager Alex Nguyen said the city hired him to help defeat a bill that would have eliminated Alameda’s seat on the new ferry board.

Perata’s other lobbying clients include the California Infill Builders Federation, Hawkins Development, Intelligent Sign Network LLC (an Oakland business run by longtime Perata ally and donor John Foster), Mallard Farms (an Alameda-based company owned by financial advisor and mortgage broker Randy Wong), the Oakland Raiders, Ramsell Corp. and SSA Marine.

Perata, 68, now of Orinda, led the state Senate from 2004 to 2008, and unsuccessfully sought the Oakland mayor’s office in 2010. A years-long federal corruption investigation of Perata and his associates ended in 2009 with no charges filed against anyone.

Earlier, he was a state senator from 1998 to 2004; an assemblyman from 1996 to 1998; a 1994 primary candidate for state controller; and an Alameda County Supervisor from 1986 to 1994. But he was born in Alameda, and began his political career with an unsuccessful bid to be its mayor in 1975.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.