Son of Lobby Reform on Supervisors’ Agenda

A recent meeting of the Orange County Board of Supervisors. (Photo by: Violeta Vaqueiro)

It’s back …

Next Tuesday — for the second time this year — the Orange County Board of Supervisors will consider adopting registration requirements for lobbyists working the county hallways.

Many governments, including the state of California and Los Angeles and San Diego counties, require individuals who lobby public officials to register and then make that registry public. Orange County does not.

The ordinance on next week’s agenda, which was introduced by Supervisor Bill Campbell, would require quarterly reports with the clerk of the board requiring lobbyists to tell the public who they are.

Yet the proposed ordinance doesn’t require disclosure of conversations between lobbyists and elected officials.

That seemed to be a big sticking point earlier this year when former State Sen. Joe Dunn (also chairman of the board for Voice of OC) publicly pressed county supervisors to adopt a much more transparent lobbying ordinance.

“It is time that Orange County comes in line with other counties and allows sunshine on those who lobby our county elected officials,” Dunn said Thursday.

When Dunn made his proposal, county supervisors dismissed the need for lobbyist registration. Supervisors were also upset with Dunn for bringing the issue forward publicly without first talking to them privately about it.

Since, Campbell said he has enlisted the help of the Orange County Business Council through its president and chief executive, Lucy Dunn, to facilitate negotiations between himself, the lobbyist community and Joe Dunn.

The hope, Campbell said, is for supervisors to craft a workable ordinance rather than having all sides spend their time, energy and money battling it out over a ballot initiative.

So far, Campbell said, “nobody’s happy with it, which is how it happens with legislation.”

It will be fascinating to see how everyone lines up on the issue on Tuesday.