Perata, Hamill, and Another Illegal Campaign? 

A Sacramento political committee with close ties to state Senate boss Don Perata has papered Oakland with two new mailers endorsing city council at-large candidate Kerry Hamill. Both mailers feature a photo of Hamill, Perata's former chief of staff, with a signed message from her — which appears to violate state campaign finance laws. It's illegal for a candidate to coordinate with an independent political committee. It's the fourth such mailer to hit Oakland mailboxes in the past week.

The most recent mailers are from a new political committee formed last month -- Californians for Good Jobs, Safe Streets and Outstanding Schools. The committee's phone number is the office of Sandi Polka, Perata's personal political consultant, and the committee's treasurer is Mark Capitolo, a former Perata staffer. It's well-known in Sacramento that Polka won't take a job without the senator's approval. The Hamill mailers cost more than $34,000.

Most of the donors to the new committee are among Perata's regular stable of contributors. They include Foster Interstate Media, which is owned by Perata's longtime close friend John Foster, and Ellis Partners and Harold Ellis, developers of Jack London Square. Foster gave $10,000 and Ellis donated $2,500. In addition, Gap clothing store magnate and Perata donor Donald Fisher contributed $25,000, while the California Dental Association Independent Expenditure Committee, which has ties to the senator and has employed Polka in the past, donated $50,000.

Hamill did not immediately return a phone call, inquiring as to whether she coordinated with the new committee. But last week, she told the Oakland Tribune that she knew nothing about another committee, Oakland Jobs Pac, an Oakland-based group that also papered the city with a mailer on her behalf with a signed message from her.

The new Sacramento committee also reported spending $12,647 on behalf of Brian Rogers, a Republican running for the Oakland school board. Rogers is the son of T. Gary Rogers, the longtime CEO and chairman of Dreyer's Ice Cream, who has been one of Perata's top contributors over the years. A third candidate the committee is supporting is Assemblywoman Loni Hancock in her bid to replace Perata in the state Senate. Perata has endorsed both the younger Rogers and Hancock.

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