OAKLAND — Former state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata said Tuesday he will run for mayor of Oakland in 2010.
The 10-year state senator had hinted for months he was considering a run but said he finalized his decision after attending the funeral service for four Oakland police officers Friday.
"I've spent 22 years representing Oakland in local and state government, and it's hard to stand by and be idle," he said. Perata is a political heavyweight who served four years as state Senate president pro tem, when he was, arguably, the most powerful Democrat in state government. But candidate Perata will bring plenty of baggage into the mayor's race, too.
The FBI has investigated Perata for more than five years, trying to determine whether he took kickbacks or bribes for official favors, perhaps through a network of friends and associates.
Earlier this year, the U.S. attorney's office in San Francisco told Perata's attorneys the office would not file charges. But the FBI subsequently took their case to the Sacramento U.S. attorney's office, which agreed to review the case. Perata said he hasn't heard anything about the case since then.
He said he doubts the investigation will hurt him in the campaign and added that he will enter the race as the "most vetted candidate in the history of Oakland."
Among other things, Perata touted his work on gun control and his efforts to create a street outreach called the Oakland Peacekeepers, saying he has the experience to tackle Oakland's crime problems.
Perata himself was the victim of a carjacking in December 2007 and took the witness stand against 26-year-old Jared Adams. Adams was convicted Monday.
Perata said he came public about his decision to run to be "upfront" about his motivations.
"I just want to be upfront so people don't have to interpret my motives," he said. "I want to say, 'Here's what I'm doing, and here's what I've done.'""
Few people expect Mayor Ron Dellums to seek re-election, though the mayor never officially has ruled it out. Other candidates in the 2010 mayoral contest could include former City Manager Robert Bobb and any of a handful of City Council members. Councilmember Jean Quan (Montclair-Laurel) is expected to run and said Tuesday she is meeting with people across the city and will announce a decision in the fall.
Two-time mayoral candidate Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente (Glenview-Fruitvale), a political ally of Perata's who lost in mayoral bids to Jerry Brown and Dellums, said he is not interested at this point in another go at the office.
"There are always circumstances that could happen that might change your mind," he said, "but I don't foresee that."
Reach Kelly Rayburn at 510-208-6435.