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Don Perata. Mayor of Oakland? Can He Win?

There's a lot of talk about the possibility of California State Senator Don Perata running for Mayor of Oakland.  I love Don.  Great person who's done a lot for California, the East Bay, and Oakland.  But I think Perata running for Mayor of Oakland would be a big mistake.

I think he'd lose.  

The seeds of my educated guess based on study were planted in the last election of two weeks ago when, Oaklanders voted for "change" candidates:  Barack Obama for President;  Rebecca Kaplan for At Large City Council; Dennis Hayashi for Alameda County Superior Court Judge.  

The last person, public interest lawyer Dennis Hayashi, should be of note because he ran against San Leandro Prosecutor Phil Daly.  Daly was backed by Perata and a host of local judges -- and lost.   By contrast, Hayashi was supported by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, California Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, and a host of liberal elected officials.  (Liberalism's back, so I'm using it instead of "progressive")  

Moreover, At Large Candidate Kerry Hamill also got Perata's backing.  She lost to Kaplan, who had the support of many of the same people, including Swanson and Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson.  Lee didn't file an endorsement in that race.  

Hayashi and Kaplan won because of the Lee / Swanson / Dellums political machine.  

The what?  

Yep.  It's the same set of relationships that led to Oakland City Attorney John Russo's 2006 election loss to Swanson for the assembly seat he now holds.  It's a power-structure that -- if one looks at it -- has a great record of election wins.  I see no reason why Perata's entry would stop the win streak.

The problem Perata presents for himself is he's seen by many as part of an "old guard" establishment and no, not because he's White.  I don't "do" code words, and I will not start now.  But for decades Perata has been painted as the politician who pulled the strings -- the "Don" as the East Bay Express once painted him.  He's not seen as a "change" candidate, when Oakland needs change.  

Mayor Ron Dellums may not be well-regarded as a Mayor, but he's well-regarded as a person.  He's still a legendary figure in American Politics, and in California.  My point is, people listen to Dellums and he has his legacy of elected officials all over the place around here.   Dellums and his group are not seen as the establishment.  

I'm not about to state that Dellums could win another "go" as Mayor, but someone else, someone with his backing could.

Let's speculate.

Suppose.  Just suppose that Oakland Council President Ignacio De La Fuente decided to run for Mayor and had the support of Mayor Dellums, and was able to get Congresswoman Lee and Swanson behind him?   And just suppose Perata ran against De La Fuente.   Just work with me here, ok?  Don't say "It'll never happen" -- never say never.  

Do you think Perata could beat that combined liberal, coalition of color?  No.  Perata would get clobbered by the weight of that grouping and the constant pounding by Robert Gammon of the East Bay Express, who's an expert on all-things-wrong with Perata. 

Plus, my prediction is there will be so many candidates running for Mayor of Oakland, that some will chip away at Perata's base.  The result would be a win for De La Fuente or some dark-horse candidate.

Just supposing.  You know?  

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