Do cities hire their own lobbyists? Yes, they do, and the alarming information was found at the Secretary of State's website.
We continue to hear about various cities scrambling for revenues to fund municipal obligations such as public safety, parks and recreation, programs designed to meet the expectations of the residents in any given community.
Taxpayers may not be aware that some of those revenues are allocated to consultants who serve as lobbyists with "in-house" shops in the capital of Sacramento.
According to the California Government Code Section 86116 and 86116.5:
All state and local agencies that file reports pursuant to Sections 86115 and 86116 shall disclose, except for overhead expenses, all payment of two hundred fifty dollars ($250) or more made in a reporting period...
The disclosed quarterly reports are filed with the Secretary of State and turn up these startling statistics:
- The City of Diamond Bar spent $204,707.94 on lobbying activity performed by Joe Gonsalves and Son for 2009-2010.
- 55 cities had lobbying activity performed by Joe Gonsalves and Son for 2009-2010.
- The City of Fullerton spent $120,000 on lobbying activity performed by Townsend Public Affairs in Irvine for 2009-2010.
- 16 cities had lobbying activity performed by Townsend Public Affairs for 2009-2010.
And the hiring of lobbyists doesn't stop with cities. Special districts, community college districts and even redevelopment agencies hire them as well, all on the taxpayers dime.
It makes so many wonder with this sobering question: "Who is minding City Hall with regards to the expenditure of taxpayer dollars on lobbying activity?"
So, the next time you are at city council meeting it is best to ask your councilmembers with these questions:
Why is OUR city hiring a lobbyist?
Is our local Assemblymember and Senator fighting for OUR interests?
The answers will surprise you!
Allen Wilson volunteered countless hours of his time for my 2010 City Council campaign.