CITY HALL — Two member of City Council would like an ordinance created that would require lobbyists to register with City Hall.
The ordinance would “require lobbyists representing clients who seek benefits or contracts from the City to register with the City and provide other information that will help promote transparency.”
Mayor Pro Tempore Tony Vazquez and Councilmember Sue Himmelrich put the idea forward to be discussed at Tuesday’s meeting.
If a majority of the council members support the idea, the city attorney will come back with a specific ordinance to be considered next year. In the city of Los Angeles, lobbyists are already required to register.
“Any individual,” reads L.A.’s website, “who directly communicates with a City official for the purpose of influencing ‘municipal legislation’ (as defined in the ordinance) and who is compensated to spend 30 or more hours in any consecutive three-month period engaged in lobbying activities must register as a lobbyist with the City Ethics Commission.”
Himmelrich had said during her campaign – she took office this month – that this was one of the first moves she’d make once on council
“Different people have different interpretations of what a lobbyist is,” she said. “I think we want to capture as many people who are trying to get benefits from the city as we possibly can. In conjunction with that, I think we should be registering everybody seeking something for a client, including nonprofits, including – to the extent they aren’t practicing law – lawyers.”
Himmelrich is concerned that residents aren’t aware who is being paid by whom.
“This is not about anything other than transparency for the people who live here so they know who’s in and out of City Hall and how much they’re being paid to do it,” she said.
Big Blue Bus routes reconsidered
Council will consider a series of changes to Big Blue Bus routes as they pertain to connecting with the incoming Expo Light Rail.
“BBB currently serves four rail stations, including three light rail lines (Expo Line, Purple Line, and Green Line) as well as the regional Amtrak and Metrolink station in downtown Los Angeles,” city officials said in a report to council. “Further expansion of the Exposition Light Rail Line in 2016 will increase the number of stations served from four to eleven, and bring rail from the fringes of the BBB service area into its center.”
Council will study proposed changes on Tuesday. These changes could go into effect as early as August of next year.
The proposed changes are wide-ranging and include the reorganization of routes in Downtown Santa Monica, new north and south connectivity to the rail stations, and increased access to areas beyond walking distance from stations.