Don Perata Interview – 2010 Oakland Mayor’s Race Interview With The Man Who Almost Won
But for rank-choice voting, Don Perata, and not Jean Quan, would have been our Mayor of Oakland. Don, best known as President pro tempore of the California State Senate, and later President of Perata Engineering (a lobbying company), was the front-runner in the 2010 Oakland Mayoral Election, and the expected next CEO of Oakland. Then, rank-choice-voting had its say.
Rank-choice voting, or ranked-preference-voting, was and is a way of voting designed to eliminate the need for run-off elections. But what it really does is allow coalitions of people who may be opposed to a popular candidate to round up just enough votes against that person by advancing someone else as first choice, second choice, or third choice in the Oakland example. A candidate has to gain over 50 percent of the first place votes to stop the round-counting process.
In Don’s case, he received 35 percent of them, but a campaign teaming-up between then-Oakland District Four Councilmember Jean Quan and then and current Oakland At-Large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, where they advocated for first-and-second-choice votes for each other, resulted in Quan winning.
Then, Oakland City Attorney John Russo told me on the Thursday after the election in 2010, that there was “no way” Quan, who was the next in line behind Perata, would get enough second choice votes to win. But John was both correct in calling out what Jean needed, and wrong about her chance of getting them – she got the two-thirds of all second choice votes.
What put Jean Quan over Don Perata was not just the team up, but bloc-voting by Oakland voters in Chinatown, as well as her district.
We can have a lot of fun talking about Oakland under Don Perata as its Mayor of Oakland. For one, I think Don would talked the Golden State Warriors out of leaving Oakland. Indeed, he played a powerful roll in working to get the Oakland Raiders to gain a new stadium in Oakland, when he was hired by the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority in 2016. That was the same year a set of new stadium designs surfaced at Raiders Headquarters. They were made by an architecture firm hired under the utmost secrecy and not revealed until this vlogger’s work in 2018: MEIS Architects in New York. But, I digress.
Under Perata, there would have been better attention paid to economic development, and, in my view, a better effort to challenge then-California Governor and former Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown’s effort to end California Redevelopment. A move that costs Oakland hundreds of millions in lost affordable housing development money.
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