In a letter to the San Francisco Chronicle published over weekend, ex-state Senator Don Perata denied that he played a crucial role in the hiring of new Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts. Perata's letter appeared to contradict a report by Chronicle columnists Matier and Ross, who said last month that Perata deserved credit for alleged behind-the-scenes maneuvering that supposedly helped lead to Batts' appointment. But Perata wrote in his letter that while he believes Batts "is an excellent choice," Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums deserves all the "credit for his hiring."
Dellums' choice of Batts has received widespread praise, mostly because the police chief put together an impressive record of reducing crime in Long Beach. The selection also has spurred some rumblings in City Hall that Dellums may seek reelection. Dellums, however, has yet to decide whether he will run again. So far, Perata is the only announced candidate in the race, although Councilwoman Jean Quan is exploring a run.
Perata also deserves credit for stepping up and setting the record straight. It would have been easy for him to allow Chron readers to wrongly believe that he was responsible for Batts' hire, when he wasn't.