The question of lobbyists

Now that Barack Obama’s stimulus plan has been signed into law, we may be seeing more and more cities signing on — or reinstating — contracts with lobbyists.

La Puente is one example: they recently approved a contract with Joe A. Gonsalves and Son for lobbying services through the end of the fiscal year at $3,000 a month. Officials say the service will help ensure La Puente’s stake in stimulus money.

Joe A. Gonsalves and Son is one of the biggest lobbying firms in California, with a long list of San Gabriel Valley clients including, Irwindale, Industry, Diamond Bar, Glendora, Arcadia, the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the San Gabriel Valley Water Association. They also represent the Willdan Group of Companies, parent company of Willdan Financial Services — of which La Puente interim city manager Frank Tripepi is CEO and president.

This story I wrote for Tuesday’s paper basically breaks down the debate on lobbyists: some argue they are a waste of money, while others argue lobbyists do work that local legislators can’t always do.

Obviously, some SGV cities see the need because their paying big bucks for the service. For example, in 2005, state records show Industry paid $52,000 to Joe A. Gonsalves and Son, and Irwindale paid $57,200.

  • Question

    If the City of La Puente wanted to get federal funding from the Obama Administration, shouldn’t they have hired a federal lobbyist instead? Why hired a highly paid state lobbyist? The state is broke. Who is running City Hall?