As no doubt you’ve heard by now, Don Perata officially announced today that he will be running for Mayor of Oakland. My thoughts of Perata aside, his entry into the race was well timed and reminded me how well he knows how to play the game of politics:
Former state Sen. Don Perata said the events of last week have persuaded him to run for mayor in 2010.
“I wasn’t trying to be coy (on a mayoral run), but this just galvanized it for me because you just can’t stand there and do nothing,” Perata said. “People know what I’ve done to ban assault weapons and other things I’ve done, so they ought to know that I’m running for mayor.”
Perata, who attended the Friday memorial, said he was stunned by the decision to leave the mayor without a role in the service.
Many people I know thought Perata would wait longer to announce, but Dellums being asked not to speak at the memorial service for the slain Oakland police officers was just too perfect of an opportunity to pass up. I’m not entirely cynical about his candidacy though. I think Perata probably does care a lot about Oakland and is very upset by the way things have been going here. And I’m not sure that anyone could argue that Perata will do a worse job than Dellums.
It’s been bothering me for many months now that Perata might not have any competition. And now that he’s declared so early, I’m even more concerned that his announcement may have cleared the field. I really can’t blame any potential candidates for shying away from going up against Perata. He has huge name recognition, limitless sources of campaign funds, and a fair amount of support from the Democratic establishment. Anyone running against him would clearly face an uphill battle.
So all day today I was a bit down, especially when a friend of mine said he thinks Oakland is doomed to always have mayors who swoops in from state or national office to “save” Oakland.
But tonight, while I was watching the City Council meeting, I was reminded that Perata will not have the field all to himself. Paulette Hogan, a District 6 resident who comments on almost every item at almost every Council and committee meeting and who V Smoothe introduced many of us to back in December, is also running for mayor.
Now if you haven’t seen Paulette in action, you should really check out V’s post with some footage of her or check out any upcoming meeting to hear her speak out. Tonight she was in top form. During public comment on the consent calendar, she went off on the Council, asking how they could just sit there when so many African Americans in Oakland were dying from HIV/AIDS. She also revealed that she recently got a recommendation for medical marijuana and thinks Oakland should legalize marijuana. And of course, she explained that when she is elected mayor, things will be different.
And you know, for a minute there, she really had me going, and she got the audience pretty riled up too, leading them to cheer for her when she had finished.
After the awesomeness of her preaching wore off, I had a beautiful thought. I imagined a debate between Don Perata and Paulette Hogan, and honestly, I can’t think of any other political match that would be as entertaining.
But then I brought myself back to political reality and started to think – who would I want to be mayor? And who, if anyone, could beat Don Perata? Unfortunately, I don’t have any easy answers so I wanted to see what you think. Stay in reality or fantasize a bit and share below who you want to see run for mayor, and why.