As the budget negotiations ramp up in Sacramento, the MediaNews Sacto bureau comes out with a piece examining Don Perata’s negotiating style. According to many politicos interviewed, Perata’s reputation as a kneecapping hardass is overrated, and he can be a surprisingly nice fella. Former Republican minority leader Dick Ackerman takes credit for inspiring a Perata tradition of serving wine to his rivals during sitdowns. How did he do it? By asking Perata if there was any wine around. What a stroke of genius! On the other hand, former Governor Pete Wilson’s representative Dan Schnurr says the Don “might be the single worst schmoozer in legislative history.” So apparently it takes more than a bottle of pino noir to grease the wheels. The story ends with mentioning Senators Abel Maldonado and Roy Ashburn as the two Republicans most likely to break ranks and give Perata the two-thirds majority he needs to pass the budget.