May 25, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica May Ban Lobbyists From Serving on Boards and Commissions

City Council instructs staff to draft ordinance to bar paid policy advocates from serving on board, commissions, task forces  

By Sam Catanzaro

Santa Monica may ban lobbyists from serving on City boards and commissions. 

On July 13, Santa Monica City Council unanimously approved a motion by Councilmembers Phil Brock and Christine Parra that instructs staff to create a formal definition of a lobbyist and then prohibit such individuals from serving on City boards, commissions and task forces. Current City law requires paid lobbyists to disclose their clients and compensation with the City. 

“Our city government functions to serve the interests of all citizens,” Brock said during the meeting. “This is another way to make sure that everything that is done in our city is forthright and above board and that the residents of the city have the right to influence our Council, influence their boards and commissions, but people who are paid do not have the same right.”

While the motion passed unanimously, there was some debate as to how encompassing the legislation should be. Mayor Sue Himmelrich raised concern about part of the Beverly Hills ordinance which considers unpaid individuals who raise over $5,000 for a cause as a lobbyist. 

“As I read the Beverly Hills ordinance, I think it is a much larger net that could capture some of our advocates here who may raise money or do other things for various causes,” Himmelrich said. 

Brock responded by stating he does not want the future legislation to ban such people from serving on boards, commissions and task forces in Santa Monica. 

Councilmember Kristen McCowan made the suggestion of allowing paid lobbyists to serve on City boards and commissions if the subject matter is different from their area of work. 

“These are sometimes some of our best policy experts,” McCowan said. “They are still residents, they still care about the city and they bring an expertise I think that might actually be beneficial to a commission that isn’t what they are paid to do.” 

Brock, however, opposed this suggestion, arguing that being on a board or commission gives an individual increased access to City staff across all departments. 

“I was a city commissioner for 18 years almost in the City of Santa Monica. I knew that I had more access as a City commissioner to staff than I would have if I was just a citizen who was not part of City Hall. Now even though I was a volunteer, if I needed something at Planning or wanted to talk to someone in Community and Cultural Services or another department, I was able to do that by nature of being a commissioner,” Brock said. “I don’t want an Arts Commissioner walking into Planning and walking by and say ‘let’s talk about this project,’ because they are already a lobbyist. I believe that we have enough residents who want to be on commissions and boards in the city. We don’t have a paucity of participation.”

Three members of the public called in during the meeting, all in support of the proposed ban, which is modeled after an ordinance in place in Beverly Hills. Among the residents who called in was Marc Verville, who made the case that any ban would only be effective if properly enforced. 

“Designing and implementing radical transparency in the City’s decision making process is long overdue. The financial stakes get high every year, and the importance of transparency grows exponentially,” Verville said. “The most stringent rules are meaningless if they are not enforced. Discretion must be radically minimized with the letter of the ordinance driving the review and, if necessary, enforcement action.” 

in News
Related Posts

John Adams Middle School Student Selected to Perform at Carnegie Hall

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

JAMS Student Grayson Fitzgerald named junior finalist for the 2022 middle school honors performance series at Carnegie Hall By Staff...

SMC Student Film “The War Within” Accepted into 2022 American Pavilion at Cannes

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

Three Santa Monica College Films Will Screen at In-Person Festival, including 2021 Best Student Film Winner “Broken Layers” and 2020’s...

Santa Monica City Council Looks to Shorten Meetings

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

Council to consider changes at Tuesday meeting By Dolores Quintana Santa Monica lawmakers are considering taking steps to shorten City...

Landmark Theater Official Closes on Pico

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

Pico Boulevard location closes Sunday By Sam Catanzaro The Landmark Theater on Pico Boulevard in Westwood has officially closed.  The...

Road Closures Expected During Demolition Of Parking Structure Three: Santa Monica Beat – May 23rd, 2022

May 23, 2022

May 23, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* Free Donuts At Randy’s Donuts For National Doughnut Day* Road Closures Expected...

Los Angeles Metro Sees 15.9 Percent Increase in Median Rent

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Median rent of $2,258, according to recent report By Dolores Quintana The ongoing pandemic has exacerbated the issues of housing...

New Renderings for Frank Gehry Hotel Development in Santa Monica

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Project would include hotel, apartments, retail and a museum By Dolores Quintana Slowly but surely, plans for a  Frank Gehry-designed...

Shared Mobility Plummets in Santa Monica

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Recent report also shows that nearly half of riders make over $100,000 By Sam Catanzaro Shared mobility use in Santa...

Christopher Dishlip Selected as Santa Monica’s New Assistant Director of Public Works

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Public Works Director Rick Valte announced the selection of Christopher Dishlip as Santa Monica’s new Assistant Director of Public Works....

Letter to Editor: Response to Himmelrich’s “We Walk the Talk” Column

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

By Beau Marks As a Santa Monica resident, I am dismayed by Sue Himmelrich’s response (“We Walk the Talk,” Santa...

Motional And UberEats Launch Autonomous Deliveries In Santa Monica

May 18, 2022

May 18, 2022

There Are Plans For Expansion Into The Rest Of Los Angeles Motional, a global driverless technology leader, and Uber Technologies...

Winston Pies Opening Third Location In Santa Monica

May 18, 2022

May 18, 2022

The restaurant used to be known as ButterCrust Pies Winston Pies is staying in Santa Monica when opening their third...

Only 10 Vaquita Porpoises Survive, But The Species May Not Be Doomed

May 17, 2022

May 17, 2022

Hope remains for the porpoise species not only survive but thrive with human help. By Stuart Wolpert The vaquita porpoise,...

The American Cinematheque Brings “Bleak Week” To Santa Monica’s Aero Theatre And The Los Feliz Three Theatre

May 17, 2022

May 17, 2022

33 Films From 18 Countries In One Week. By Dolores Quintana Sometimes when things are tough and you’re feeling down,...

Man Who Murdered His Family Members Pleads Guilty To Five Other Killings

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Escobar injured an additional seven other people as well.  By Dolores Quintana A man, Ramon Escobar, has pleaded guilty to...