|EXIT THE DON: Don Perata listens to a reporter's question during a press conference Thursday morning conceding defeat in the race for Oakland mayor. (PHOTO Steven Tavares/EBC)|
By Steven Tavares
Former state senator Don Perata said Thursday morning he will step back into the role of citizen and do whatever he can for the city and its mayor-elect Jean Quan.
"The results are pretty clear," Perata said in a press conference in front of the Eastmont police station in Oakland. "Those are the rules of the game and I play by the rules." The registrar's unofficial results through ranked-choice voting give Quan a two-point advantage over Perata despite receiving the highest number of first-place votes.
Perata said he is ready to move toward helping the city in a private role and will not contest the results. He also recognized the work of Alameda County Registrar Dave Macdonald during the grueling past 10 days where residents in Oakland and San Leandro have waited to see whether they will have new mayors. "I have no quarrel with the election," Perata said of Macdonald. "He certainly went out of his way to leave no stone unturned."
A reporter asked if Perata had called to congratulate Quan he said, "No." When pressed why Perata smiled and said, "Because I was busy writing this speech."
At times, Perata spoke to his frustration of losing within the new rules of ranked-choice voting. "If it was a normal election, I would have been the landslide winner," he said adding he received over 11,000 more than Quan representing 78 percent of all precincts. Perata also called for a closer look at the voting system that debuted this election season. He pointed to claims some people were confused by the ranking of their preferences, especially the "unsophisticated," elderly and non-English-speaking voters. "Generally, they had a hard time."
The long, successful, oftentimes controversial era of politics in East Bay may be winding down for the man many simply call "The Don." "I'll do whatever I can to help us go wherever we want to go," he said, including serving on Quan's transition team.