As it moves into the final stage of crafting recommendations to present to the West Hollywood City Council, the Ethics Reform Task Force held a final meeting for public comment on Jan. 6.
Attendees primarily expressed concerns about a recommendation for heavier regulation on lobbyists in West Hollywood. At the state level, lobbyists must register with the state and disclose who their clients are and the matters for which they lobbied in quarterly financial reports. West Hollywood only requires lobbyists to register and does not require this type of reporting.
“We really, really want lobbyists reporting who is being paid by whom to do what,” said Joseph Guardarrama, head of the task force and a governmental ethics attorney. “West Hollywood is a leader in a lot of things, but with ethics reform, it really needs help.”
The task force decided to hold an additional meeting with the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce on lobbyist regulations before presenting their final recommendations to council.
Genevieve Morrill, president of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, said many chamber members would have to register as lobbyists if the recommendation is approved and that she would like the definition of a lobbyist to be narrowed.
“I know for the chamber just the reporting requirements alone would be burdensome for us, for a small team,” Morrill said.
Guardarrama responded that the capacity Morrill serves in makes her a lobbyist, not a government advocate.
“In our estimation, the chamber is probably a lobbying organization and should have to register and report, whether your staff is big or small,” Guardarrama said.
The chamber will have three months to craft suggestions for the task force to consider, although no meeting date has been set, and was instructed to propose a threshold for the appropriate amount of time someone can participate in legislative advocacy activities without being registered as a lobbyist.
All other recommendations will move forward, including requiring the filing of campaign communications, enforcing campaign finance laws, creating a code of conduct for city contractors, and requiring elected and appointed officials to disclose any positions they hold on nonprofit boards.
The task force will also recommend that the city continue allowing campaign officials to serve as lobbyists.
“We had no compelling reason to regulate in that area,” Guarddarrama said.
Additional concerns were expressed by Ted Green, a campaign consultant and West Hollywood lobbyist, about the requirement to file all campaign communications, and will be included in the presentation to council.
However, Guardarrama noted that the measure would be similar to other jurisdictions’ ethics reform and that the city of Los Angeles already enforces this policy. Many of the recommendations from the task force were modeled or borrowed from cities with progressive ethics reform such as San Francisco and are meant to bring West Hollywood “up to par,” Guardarrama said.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.