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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

City Manager Seeks to Have Sacramento Lobbyists Hired for Another Two-Year Stint

• Company Said to Be Helpful with Water Boards Also Represents Evans’ Sweetwater Mesa Project


The Malibu City Council is expected to approve an amendment next week to an agreement between the city and a Sacramento lobbying firm for additional duties and a two-year extension to its contract worth $300,000.
The agreement with California Strategies, LLC, which also works for The Edge, also known as David Evans, the guitar player for U2, provides government relations consulting and advocacy services for its clients.
The firm is headed up by two top former governmental officials, Rusty Areias and Ted Harris.
The contract calls for compensation in the amount of $12,500 per month and is included in the budget for fiscal year 2011-2012.
The city began using the well-known and expensive firm in 2004 and through the years the city has subsequently amended the agreement to revise the scope of work, according to city officials.
“In the past year, California Strategies has worked with the city on several critical issues, including facilitating communications with the State Water Board about the septic prohibition and representing the city at recent Areas of Special Biological Significance hearings,” a staff report states.
“Staff is requesting the council approve amendment five to the agreement, revising the scope of work to meet the council’s current priorities and extending the term of the agreement two additional years to expire June 30, 2013.”
Some of the tasks included in the scope of services in the agreement include:
• Facilitate support from the State Water Board to help guide workable implementation of the septic ban process.
• Participate in setting up and coordinating meetings with state legislators and agency department leaders to provide the city the opportunity to meet face to face with key decision makers on pertinent city government affair issues.
• Troubleshoot the city’s governmental affairs issues, including pertinent administrative legislative and regulatory matters.
• Work with key officials (executive, legislative and local government) and stakeholders to support the city objective and selectively engage in efforts to secure grants, incentives and favorable policies
• Reach out to develop stronger partnerships with other municipalities, non-profit organizations, the environmental community and others that share similar interests to proactively work together to address issues related to the Malibu coast.
The agreement also states the lobbying firm will continue to explore legislative, regulatory or policy directions to help address unpermitted drug and alcohol rehabilitation group homes. The consultants have also agreed to assist the city with “Messaging and communications, and working with the new in-house communications staff.”

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