OAKLAND -- After spending enough cash to help Don Perata bust through Oakland's voluntary spending cap in the race for Oakland mayor, the Sacramento-based Coalition for a Safer California appears to be amassing a new war chest for a last blast before the Nov. 2 election.
And guess who's helping out? Lew Wolff, owner of the Oakland A's, recently contributed $10,000 and his partner, John Fisher, contributed $15,000, according to campaign finance documents filed with the Secretary of State's Office late last week.
Wolff wants to move his team to San Jose, so maybe the contributions aren't surprising given recent published comments in the Tribune that Perata thinks the move is a done deal.
But Wolff said Wednesday that Perata's stance on the A's and the team's future home had nothing to do with his decision to try to help him win the election.
"We've known Don forever, long before this," Wolff said. "We appreciated his views on transportation for California when he was a state legislator; his personal dedication. I think he would be an excellent mayor."
Wolff reiterated that the owners have "spent a heck of a lot of time trying to make it work in Oakland," but that all the possibilities have been exhausted. But he also pointed out that with all the recent talk during the campaign about possible sites for a new stadium, the owners hadn't seen one proposal. "Whether we are staying or going, we feel Don would be a good mayor for Oakland," Wolff said.
According to the latest campaign filing period covering Oct. 1-16, the coalition, which is controlled by longtime Perata associate Paul Kinney, has made $141,481 in independent expenditures on behalf of Perata and $1,261 on behalf of Councilmember Patricia Kernighan, who is running for re-election in District 2. An independent expenditure is money spent to aid a candidate, but without their knowledge.
According to Oakland's elections code, once a political action committee independently spends more than the $95,000 ceiling set for the mayor's race, the candidates who previously agreed to abide by voluntary spending limits of $379,000 are no longer held to that limit. The coalition said it surpassed the limit Sept. 16.
For this filing period, the coalition reported a $75,000 donation from the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, on top of the $150,000 previously donated by the group. It is the same organization that has paid Perata $469,000 in consulting fees since early 2009.
In addition to the contributions by Wolff and Fisher, the coalition received $25,000 from Eric Flowers, principal of Ramsell Holding Corp., a health care organization; $25,000 from Intertrust Beltline LLC; $8,000 from the Hotel & Motel Association of Oakland; $5,000 from ABC Security Service Inc.; $5,000 from CASS Inc.; and $5,000 from Harborside Health Center medical cannabis club.
As of Oct. 16, Perata's own campaign has raised a record $722,019, of which $140,000 were loans from his consulting company. He has spent $668,785.
When the cap was lifted, all candidates could spend what they wanted, although few have the ability to raise that kind of cash.
Councilmember Jean Quan has pledged to stay within the voluntary limits. She has raised $335,251, which includes $155,000 in loans to herself, and spent $274,918. Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan has raised $173,424, which includes $22,000 in loans to herself, and spent $157,143. Joe Tuman, a college professor and political commentator, has raised $74,281 and spent $45,680.
The Oakland Jobs Pac, which is also supporting Don Perata for Mayor 2010, spent $32,774 on a survey, a mailer and a consulting fee to aid Perata.