For years, state Senate President Don Perata has cultivated the image of a Mafia kingpin. Last Friday, according to one well-placed source, Perata continued to foster his mob boss mystique during a Democratic rally for the massive infrastructure bond package he brokered with Governor Schwarzenegger. On a sun-drenched Pier 30 in San Francisco, Perata strode to the podium wearing his sunglasses and said, "I'm not running for re-election, so I'm going to keep the glasses on -- it doesn't matter if I look like a hood."
"The Don," as he is sometimes called in homage to the fictional mob boss Don Corleone from The Godfather, has made no secret of his love for that movie and for the HBO show The Sopranos. According to a 2002 Oakland Tribune story, he once had a life-size photo of James Gandolfini, who plays Tony Soprano, posted on the wall in his Senate office. Also on his office wall was a plaque that read The Peratas, written like the logo from The Sopranos with a handgun in the place of the "r," the Tribune reported. Perata, by the way, carries a gun himself; he has a concealed-weapon permit from the Alameda County Sheriff's Office.