A lobbyist with deep ties to California state government, who was hired by City of Milpitas earlier this year to advocate on its behalf in Sacramento — including for state-level legislation to bring a San Jose card room to town –will see his contract terminated by the end of the month.
Milpitas City Council voted unanimously on consent Dec. 2 to authorize the city manager to close out a $100,000 contract agreement with Perata Consulting LLC for consulting services.
Approved for hire by the city in February, the Orinda-based government relations and public affairs firm run by former state Sen. Don Perata had for the past several months worked on implementing the dissolution of redevelopment, asset management for city properties and economic development programs.
Perata Consulting’s work included advising and recommending strategy to the city manager on specific potential legislative options to offset funding lost from the statewide repeal of redevelopment in 2011. That included what became the controversial card room Measure E. The measure — supported by Milpitas city officials and police and fire unions who hoped to see a gambling operation contribute more than $8 million annually to the general fund — aimed to relocate San Jose’s Bay 101 Casino to Milpitas near the McCarthy Ranch shopping center.
But on Nov. 4 Measure E was soundly defeated by 9,983 votes against, or nearly 76 percent of ballots cast.
“Since the voters rejected Measure E there’s no need any longer for his services,” Milpitas City Manager Tom Williams said Monday.
Although that revenue-generating idea was nixed by the public, Williams stressed Perata aided the city greatly in dealing with former redevelopment agency issues. That included helping City of Milpitas settle two related lawsuits that claimed the city illegally transferred or kept millions of dollars of its former redevelopment agency monies following dissolution of redevelopment statewide more than two years ago.
Ultimately, last summer, the city paid out $41 million to settle legal cases involving County of Santa Clara v. the Milpitas Economic Development Corp. and the Successor Agency to the Milpitas Redevelopment Agency v. John Chiang, the state’s auditor-controller.
“He’s done a great job,” Williams said of Perata’s work.
A Democrat and Alameda native, Perata is the former Senate Pro Tem leader of the majority party of the California State Senate who served for four years, ending in 2008.
The following year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation concluded a years-long public corruption probe against Perata and family members with no charges filed.
In 2010, Perata ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Oakland but lost to Jean Quan. Since then, he’s done public affairs consultancy work for private companies as well as other cities, including Alameda.
According to Williams, for his efforts in Milpitas and per the terms of the contract, Perata will be paid $100,000 by the end of the year through the city manager’s budget.
“He’s been paid $60,000 to date,” Williams added.
Although Perata’s contract ends, the city manager claimed this consultant may be rehired by the city in the near future — namely to deal with lingering contentions between the city and the largely county-manned Milpitas Oversight Board of the Successor Agency over city-owned properties.
Williams said the board, established to oversee the select activities of the dissolution of the Milpitas Redevelopment Agency, is currently pushing Milpitas officials to sell the Sal Cracolice Building at 540 S. Abel St. and the 1.6-acre vacant parcel dedicated for park space north of Milpitas Public Library.
“There’s no question I would hire him again,” Williams said, adding it all depends on the city’s needs in coming months. “It’s to be determined.”