The transportation players

Dave Ackerman, lobbyist
President of his own lobbyist firm that counts industry-giant Associated
General Contractors of California as a client, Ackerman also works for the
Chamber of Commerce on transportation issues. A former undersecretary for
the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, Ackerman also serves as
executive vice president of Californians for Better Transportation, a
coalition of highway and transit advocacy organizations.

Andrew Antwih, lobbyist city of Los Angeles
After serving nine years as an Assembly transportation consultant, Antwih
joined the ranks of the lobbying core last December as chief legislative
representative in Sacramento for the city of Los Angeles. He advocated for
the state’s largest city in this year’s bond negotiations and is still
leaned on for his transportation know-how in the building.

Bob Balgenorth, president of the State Building and Construction Trades

Elected president of the council in 1994, Balgenorth has been an influential
voice for organized labor on transportation policy for more than a decade.
He previously served as vice-chairman of the California Transportation

Tim Cremins, lobbyist for Operating Engineers; Daniel Curtin, California
Conference of Carpenters; Jose Mejia, lobbyist for Council of Laborers

This trio of labor representatives–often dubbed the “three musketeers” of
the transportation world–spend their days working the Legislature and
advocating on behalf of their members for more labor-friendly provisions in
transportation projects. And in a Democrat-dominated Capitol, they are often
successful. Curtin and Cremins also serve on the Industrial Welfare
Commission, the Schwarzenegger-resurrected commission to examine the minimum

Jim Earp, executive director of the California Alliance for Jobs
Earp’s California Alliance for Jobs spent $1 million to gather signatures
this spring to pressure the Legislature to put a so-called Proposition 42
“fix” on the ballot. They succeeded. The Legislature placed Proposition 1A
on the ballot as part of the infrastructure deal. Now, Earp will serve as
chairman of the umbrella campaign for the five-part infrastructure package.
John Ferrera, chief of staff Sen.

Denise Ducheny
An assistant secretary for the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency
under Gov. Gray Davis and then deputy secretary under Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger, Ferrera is one of the few California transportation experts
with experience in Washington, D.C. Ferrera worked as a congressional
staffer in the early 1990s and now works for Sen. Ducheny, who sits on the
transportation committee.

Gary Gallegos, executive director San Diego Association of Governments
A former district director for Caltrans, Gallegos is respected both by local
officials and at the state level in his roles as executive director of the
San Diego Association of Governments, a post he assumed in 2001.

James Ghielmetti, California Transportation Commission
Vice-chairman of the California Transportation Commission (CTC), Ghielmetti,
a Democrat, was appointed to his post in 2003 by then-Gov. Gray Davis and
reappointed last year by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. If passed, the
transportation bond leaves much of the project decision-making authority to
the CTC, putting Ghielmetti, who is seen to represent Northern California
interests, in a crucial position.

Eric Haley, director Riverside County Transportation Commission
A former Riverside council member, Haley has served the transportation needs
of the Inland Empire with positions at the San Bernardino Associated
Governments (SANBAG), the Southern California Association of Governments
(SCAG), and now as director of the Riverside County Transportation
Commission. He was voted “Person of the Year” by the California
Transportation Foundation in 2003.

Steve Heminger, executive director Metropolitan Transportation Commission
At the center of the planning and finance agency for the nine-county San
Francisco Bay Area, Heminger is in the thick of transportation planning for
California. A former staffer both in the Legislature and Congress, Heminger
has been with the MTC since 1993 and was recently appointed to a national
transportation commission by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Richard Katz, board member of Metropolitan Transportation Commission
From his post on of California’s largest local transportation board, Katz
has returned to the world of transportation. A former Assembly majority
leader and 10-year chair of the Transportation Committee, Katz authored
Proposition 111, which served as a 10-year Transportation Blueprint.

Brian Kelly, Senate transportation consultant
Officially a principal consultant for Senate leader Don Perata, Kelly has
been the Legislature’s go-to-guy for the nitty-gritty of the transportation
bond, both during negotiations and sorting out the pieces afterward. As the
top transportation staffer for a transportation-inclined leader, Kelly is
involved in most of the Capitol’s critical transportation conversations.

Will Kempton, director Caltrans
As director of Caltrans, Kempton manages the operations of one of the
state’s largest agencies, with an annual $9 billion budget, 22,000
employees, and more than 50,000 lane miles of state highways. He now runs
the agency he first joined in 1973, though his career has taken him in and
out of the public sector, including stints as a lobbyist and city manager
for the city of Folsom.

Assemblywoman Jenny Oropeza, D-Long Beach
The chairwoman of the Assembly Transportation Committee, Oropeza won a close
Senate primary in June and is likely to remain a player in the
transportation world for at least the next four years.

Sen. Don Perata, D-Oakland
Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, was a driving force behind
this year’s transportation bond, introducing an infrastructure package more
than a year ago and well before it became a buzzword in the Capitol. The
Oakland Democrat was also a lead negotiator in the delicate Bay Bridge
negotiations and has put transportation issues at the front of the caucus

Sen. Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch
The former chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, Torlakson has long
taken the lead in transportation issues. He is the author of this year’s
Proposition 1A, which would prevent future legislators from raiding
earmarked transportation funds for other purposes. Torlakson also is taking
a lead in fund-raising for Proposition 1B, the $19.9 billion transportation

Mark Watts, lobbyist executive director Transportation California
A former undersecretary in the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency,
Watts is one of the state’s leading transportation lobbyists. He represents
cities and serves as executive directo r of the influential Transportation
California coalition. He also spearheaded the signature gathering for the
“Prop. 42 fix” this year.

Dave Watts, chairman Granite Construction
Watts serves as chairman of the board of directors one of the biggest
construction firms in California. Granite is a major player in Sacramento,
heaping $143,000 in political donations and nearly $125,000 in lobbying last
year. Watts, who has been an executive with Granite since 1987, also serves
on the board of directors for the California Chamber of Commerce.

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