Friday Must Read: Perata Thwarts Campaign Spending Limits — Big Surprise, Huh? — and School Busing Nightmare


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Oakland Mayoral candidate Don Perata once again demonstrated his low regard for the rule of law by announcing that his campaign has exceeded Oakland's campaign spending limits. The Oakland Tribune reported that Perata said he based his decision on guidance from a variety of city officials, including the city attorney. "John Russo told me that as far as he was concerned, the cap had been broken," Perata told the paper. But a spokesman for Russo said that is not true, and the Trib report diligently noted that the city attorney's recent legal opinion on the subject would seem to confirm that. Perata is exploiting a loophole in the city's toothless contribution limits that allows any candidate to spend whatever he wants once an independent outside campaign committee has done so. "Independent" allies of Perata, who just happen to get their money from the same places he does, say they have — ooopsy!!! — exceeded the spending limits. The former state senator says, er, well, this is all, like, some kind of total coincidence.

The new system that AC Transit put in place when it abolished its old student discount pass program is a bureaucratic nightmare that requires the mobility-challenged students to schlep their way to downtown Oakland with proof of their birth date and then wait several weeks for the transit agency to mail them a new photo ID card, the Tribune reported. In the meantime, many students have been forced to pay the full price for bus service. The paper didn't say whether the extra cost has resulted in greater truancy, but if it has, that could end up costing the schools state funding.

Immigration lawyers interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle say that GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman did not violate the law by continuing to employ her former housekeeper even after receiving a letter from the Social Security Administration that questioned her immigration status. Whitman eventually fired the housekeeper many years later after she was shocked (shocked!!!) to discover that the woman is in the country illegally.

Federal lawmakers voted Thursday to extend a provision that allows home buyers to secure government-backed jumbo loans of up to $729,750, the Trib reported. The measure is attached to a temporary spending bill that the president is expected to sign.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed seven major health care bills including two companion bills that will set up an online statewide exchange designed to let consumers comparison shop for coverage, the Associated Press reported. Democratic Assembly Speaker John Perez of Los Angeles said the measure would help make health insurance more affordable for Californians. With signature of the new laws, California becomes the first state to pass such legislation under the recently enacted federal health care reforms.

And in West Bay news, the SF Giants' magic number is one.