Anaheim to Consider Hiring Heavily-Fined Lobbying Firm

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Up for consideration in Anaheim this week is the city’s contract with a lobbying firm that was recently hit with a record fine from the state’s political watchdog.

Sloat, Higgins, Jensen & Associates and its founder Kevin Sloat were recently fined $133,500 by the state Fair Political Practices Commission for illegally providing state legislators with liquor, wine, cigars, sports tickets and flowers.

That led Orange County Transportation Authority board members to fire the firm earlier this month, with Director Jeff Lalloway saying the violation “goes to the very essence of what they do for us here.”

Now, the Anaheim City Council is set to discuss its $150,000-per-year contract with Sloat Higgins.

Similarly to OCTA, Anaheim city staff have not recommended that Sloat Higgins be fired, with Deputy City Manager Greg Garcia writing that the firm is “critically important” to Anaheim’s objectives in Sacramento.

The city staff noted that Sloat Higgins lobbyist Moira Topp has been working on the city’s legislative goals for issues like protecting “local control in land use decisions … economic development, CEQA reform, medical marijuana, neighborhood issues, state budget issues and legislation impacting local transient occupancy taxes.”

The city staff report, however, doesn’t mention OCTA’s recent firing of the firm.

Meanwhile, the OCTA board is set on Monday to approve releasing a request for bids to replace Sloat Higgins.

Tuesday’s City Council meeting starts at 5 p.m. at Anaheim City Hall.

Curious what else is happening this week? Click here to check out our rundown at On the Agenda.

Please contact Nick Gerda directly at ngerda@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

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