ALAMEDA -- Securing support from state officials to improve local ferry service and for funding a new fire station will be among the tasks that former state Senator Don Perata is expected to tackle now that the City Council has hired him as the city's lobbyist in Sacramento.

The 69-year-old Democrat also will work on gathering support for legislation on tax increment funding for Alameda Point and for transportation improvements, including at Broadway and Jackson Street in Oakland near the Webster and Posey tubes.

The council unanimously approved the one-year contract, which lays out eight lobbying areas and pays $90,000, on Tuesday.

"In recent years, the city of Alameda's lobbying efforts in California has been focused on Alameda Point," City Manager John Russo said. "While that needs to continue, it is also necessary, now that the Naval Air Station has been conveyed to the city, to broaden our efforts to meet other needs."

While Perata will become the city's point person on statewide issues, the lobbying firm of Joe A. Gonsalves & Son will focus on Alameda Point funding under the package approved by the council.

The Gonsalves contract is for $36,000. The firm's client list includes a host of California cities, including Concord, Hercules and Carlsbad.


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Among Perata's jobs will be to try and secure money to install license plate readers on police cars, an effort which comes on the heels of the council deciding to allow police to seek grants for the devices in October. The department must come back with a draft policy on the devices, however, before they can be used on the street.

Other areas where Perata will work including securing funds to develop a tsunami preparedness plan and for building a new fire station to serve the center of the Island. The current building on Grand Street has been closed for more than a decade because it's not earthquake safe, forcing crews to work out of a nearby former family home that the city rents.

The decision to have Perata lobby on the city's behalf to expand ferry service comes as local officials are working to create a "town center" at Alameda Point, a proposal that includes a ferry terminal and the promotion of recreational uses along the shoreline.

The Gonsalves lobbying firm will also work on expanding water transit as part of its brief for Alameda Point.

Perata served as the state Senate's president pro tem from 2004 to 2008, and unsuccessfully ran for the Oakland mayor's office in 2010. He was a state senator from 1998 to 2004; an assemblyman from 1996 to 1998; a 1994 primary candidate for state controller; and an Alameda County Supervisor from 1986 to 1994.

A native of Alameda and a former high school teacher, Perata launched his political career with an unsuccessful bid to become Alameda mayor in 1975. He also ran unsuccessfully for Oakland mayor in 2010, losing to Jean Quan.

The political heavyweight's career was marred, however, when he was the subject of a lengthy probe by the FBI into his financial and political relationships; the investigation ended in 2009 with no charges filed.

Reach Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654 or follow him on Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty.

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