By KEVIN McCALLUM
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
An ordinance requiring lobbyists to register with the City of Santa Rosa and pay an annual fee will go into effect Jan. 1 as a result of the city council’s approval Tuesday.
With no comment from the public and little more from the council, the new ordinance passed 7-0.
“I think the overriding goal here is transparency and making sure the public is aware of who is conducting the public’s business,” Vice Mayor Gary Wysocky said.
The law requires anyone who is paid to influence the council, board and commission members and city staff on administrative and legislative matters to identify their clients and pay a $90 annual fee.
Mid-year changes to lobbyists’ client lists would require an additional $30 fee.
The law defines lobbyist as anyone who communicates with a city official “in an effort to persuade” city officials to take any action on a “municipal question.” No specific lobbyists were identified during the brief public hearing on the matter late Tuesday night, but in the past council members have said they had individuals like Herb Williams in mind with the new law.
Williams is a campaign consultant who also represents various development and business interests in their dealings with the city.
Some council members have said they haven’t always been aware of Williams’ role in lobbying for a project until told by a third party. Williams says he makes no secret about his work or his clients, but has said he’ll be happy to abide by the law.