Apparently, the Santa Monica City Council, the Planning Commission, school board and Rent Control Board want people who attend their meetings to register as lobbyists. Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights is an association wherein the key staff members are probably paid no sum of money. The Action Apartment Association and the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles also have members, and some of their directors and officers often attend meetings; however, they are not paid a fee.

Attorneys have many clients.

Not every attorney is paid a specific fee by a client to travel to City Council or the rent board on behalf of an issue. The attorneys are paid a fee to resolve a difficulty or address a municipal matter.

Therefore, many believe there is a constitutional problem wherein setting up an arbitrary fee system for lobbyists would prevent others from addressing their government. It would also require attorneys to violate and breach their oath of confidentiality to the client wherein they need to identify the client who has paid them a sum of money to represent an interest or point of view.

Simply stated, the lobby proposal is unnecessary, unconstitutional, and would probably compromise every attorney’s ethical arrangement with the California State Bar.

Michael Millman
Santa Monica