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A Strange Action: Perata Drops Out Of First Oakland Mayoral Debate
Anybody But Perata Website
In what has to be considered one of the strangest actions of this early campaign season, Oakland mayoral candidate Don Perata announced on Monday that he would not participate in Thursday's mayoral debate, the first scheduled debate of the Oakland mayor's race. The debate is being co-sponsored by 100 Black Men and OaklandSeen.com online newspaper along with community partners Black Women Organized For Political Action (BWOPA) and 100 Black Women.
In a signed letter released on his campaign website on Monday, June 7, Perata wrote that he made his decision out of consideration for Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, who has not yet announced whether he will run for-relection.
"I regret that I will not attend any mayoral forums until the official filing deadline for mayor has closed and the full field of aspirants is known," Perata wrote. "Holding mayoral debates before all candidates are declared is undemocratic and misleads voters. In particular, Mayor Dellums has yet to announce his intentions as is his right as an incumbent. The mayor is running for re-election until he says he's not, or when filing closes in August. Ron Dellums has served our community for almost four decades. He's well entitled to such consideration."
Why do we think this is such a strange action?
First, let's throw away the idea that Perata dropped out of the first mayoral debate to try to be "fair" to Mayor Dellums. Perata has never been known for running a "fair" political campaign. (For an example of how Perata is running his campaign for mayor of Oakland, see the East Bay Express story "The Cancer In The Oakland Mayor's Race."
Second, from all available evidence, Perata originally committed to participating in the 100 Black Men-OaklandSeen mayoral debate. In a June 1 posting on the OaklandSeen.com website ("OaklandSeen And 100 Black Men Host First Oakland Mayoral Forum"), OaklandSeen website founder Aimee Allison listed Perata as one of the seven confirmed debate participants. And in late May, Perata was listing the 100 Black Men-OaklandSeen mayoral debate as one of his "upcoming campaign events" on his campaign website (the event has since been taken down from Perata's website).
All the arguments Perata makes in his June 7 letter about why he's not participating in the 100 Black Men-OaklandSeen mayoral debate (that filing has not yet closed and Dellums has not yet announced his intention) were true the week before when Perata was committing himself to the debate. We can only conclude, then, that the reasons Perata gave in his June 7 letter are not the real reasons why he decided not to participate in the first Oakland mayoral debate.
Why did Perata drop out of the 100 Black Men-OaklandSeen mayoral debate? We don't know. We can only say, as we said in the beginning, that this has to be considered one of the strangest actions of this early campaign season.
You can contact the Anybody But Perata For Mayor website at firstname.lastname@example.org