Battered by critics over loopholes in Los Angeles’ lobbying provisions, the city Ethics Commission on Friday began re-examining regulations covering everything from registration to fundraising. In the first of several planned workshops, Ethics Commission staff members met with lobbyists and others to determine which regulations might need to be changed to better reflect the role and activities of lobbyists. “This city has had some regulations on lobbyists in effect since 1969 and has been a leader in looking at their activities,” Ethics Commission Director LeeAnn Pelham said. “But it’s been some time since we have had a re-evaluation of it.” The city’s lobbying laws have gained increased scrutiny since the November passage of Measure R, which gave City Council members the option to run for a third four-year term and was designed to limit the influence of lobbyists on City Hall decisions. Under current laws, lobbyists are required to report that they are hosts of events if they pass an e-mail on to at least 25 people or are involved in telephone conversations regarding fundraisers. That rule applies even if they have no significant hosting role in the event. Limits on lobbyists’ political activities long have been a concern of local officials. Concern escalated under former Mayor James Hahn, whose administration was embroiled in allegations regarding “pay-for-play” abuses. Subsequent regulations were designed to stem the role of lobbyists as political fundraisers. In one of his first acts after taking office, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also removed all lobbyists from city commissions. Pelham said the Ethics Commission review is expected to take several months to complete. [email protected] (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The measure, however, failed to address loopholes that have been used to allow lobbyists to continue to raise thousands of dollars on behalf of elected officials and candidates. Pelham said the commission’s review will include Measure R and its impact. For lobbyists, many of their complaints involve city bookkeeping rules that often require filing duplicate statements of work performed. They also want a clearer definition of what constitutes lobbying activity and any administrative work they do. Several lobbyists at the Friday workshop said most of their work has involved pulling building permits and submitting plans for approval to allow city work to proceed for their clients. The lobbyists also urged the city to adopt clearer rules on what must be reported for fundraising activities.
Minister Chuck told residents at a community meeting on Thursday, September 21, that the road improvements are expected to significantly reduce travel time in the area, which has long been plagued by traffic congestion, and generate job opportunities from the anticipated expansion of businesses. This, according to Justice Minister and Member of Parliament, Hon. Delroy Chuck, who says he has seen a private sector development plan for Barbican which includes a major shopping complex. Story Highlights A business and property value boom in and around Barbican in north east St. Andrew is anticipated from the US$4.4 million road improvement project now underway in the community. A business and property value boom in and around Barbican in north east St. Andrew is anticipated from the US$4.4 million road improvement project now underway in the community.This, according to Justice Minister and Member of Parliament, Hon. Delroy Chuck, who says he has seen a private sector development plan for Barbican which includes a major shopping complex.He told residents at a community meeting on Thursday, September 21, that the road improvements are expected to significantly reduce travel time in the area, which has long been plagued by traffic congestion, and generate job opportunities from the anticipated expansion of businesses.Additionally, Mr. Chuck said the value of properties in Cherry Gardens, Norbrook and other surrounding areas “will start to go up.”Meanwhile, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Dr. Hon. Horace Chang, who spoke at the meeting, said preparatory work, including land acquisition, is taking place for other road improvement projects programmed for Kingston and St. Andrew.He emphasized the importance of undertaking sustainable road development that enables seamless traffic flow and overall commuting, and facilitates heightened private sector activities through increased investments and productive capacity in the communities where they operate.The four-month Barbican Road improvement project, which got underway in August, is being implemented under the Administration’s Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIPD) with funding support from the Government of the People’s Republic of China. It entails significant upgrading of 1.1 kilometres of the 3.75-kilometre roadway.This will involve major improvements along the stretch between the intersections at Jacks Hill Road and the roadway leading to Russell Heights as well as East Kings Road to the Barbican Centre, which will be widened to a four-lane carriageway.Other features will include: conversion of the one-way sections of Barbican Road and the south-bound part of East Kings Road, by the Barbican Centre, to two-way traffic; the installation of traffic signals at the Birdsucker Lane, East Kings Road and Jacks Hill Road intersections; widening of the Bustamante Bridge (box culvert) at the intersection with Jacks Hill Road to accommodate four-lane traffic; construction of 1.5-metre wide sidewalks and medians; the installation of drainage pipe/culverts and LED lights; and new signs, road markings and pavement markers.These engagements comprise the project’s second phase, following the completion of land acquisition and boundary wall construction activities.The project is being spearheaded by Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation through the National Works Agency, and will be executed by China Harbour Engineering Company Limited.Complementing this will be a $131 million water and sewage infrastructure installation project which will be implemented simultaneously by the National Water Commission, and executed by Surrey Paving and Aggregates Limited.