Ex-State Senator Don Perata, who is running for mayor of Oakland, also has been moonlighting as "a consultant" for the state's powerful prison guards' union. According to campaign finance reports, a prison guards' union campaign committee paid Perata at least $40,000 earlier this year. The committee also paid Perata's close friend and advisor Sandi Polka more than $40,000, plus $100,000 to a committee she helps operate. In addition, the prison guards' union committee cut a $50,000 check earlier this year to an Alameda-based non-profit of which Perata is president of the board of directors.
It's unclear exactly what Perata has done for the prison guards' union to earn such lucrative payments. According to Sacramento sources, the union was not heavily involved this summer in the fight over the governor's prison reform plan and the attempt to lessen the state's inmate population. Nonetheless, Perata's involvement with the group won't go over well with liberal and progressive Oakland voters because the union has a long history of supporting prison building and the prison-industrial complex.