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.

Baldwin Park mayor subject of District Attorney review


So the District Attorney’s office is reviewing allegations of a conflict of interest involving the mayor.

The agency received a complaint in September and have been probing the issue since, said Dave Demerjian, head of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office Public Integrity Division.

The allegations stem from a 2007 trip Manuel Lozano took to China as part of a speakers delegation. The trip was never claimed on Lozano’s statement of economic interests.

He claims the trip was paid for by a bank executive from Rowland Heights.

Local businessman Greg Tuttle – who has had it out for the council for more than a year – filed a complaint with the FPPC in September. He said he did NOT file a complaint with the DA, and the DA won’t tell me who did.

More to come in Thursday’s paper.

And the winners are….

I just got this e-mail with the results of theAltadena Town Council June 21, 2008 Election. It’s listed here based on census track. The winners are in bold:

*Eugene Sund – 75

Okorie Ezieme – 118
Regina Grimes – 52
*Mabel Duncan – 31

Alice Wessen – 65
*Walter Olszewski – 49

*Dr. Sandra Thomas – 24

Tecumseh Shackleford – 108
*Bobby Thompson – 46
Rev. C. R. Tillman – 4

*Allan Wasserman – 29

Ruth Neilan Edwards – 96
*George Lewis – 27

*Susan Goldman – 11