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$3.5 Million Spent to Lobby City Leaders, Panel Says

June 04, 2002|SEEMA MEHTA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Nearly $3.5 million was spent trying to influence Los Angeles leaders in the first three months of the year, with the largest expenditures coming from cellular phone companies and developers, according to the Los Angeles Ethics Commission

The amount is a slight dip from the same period last year.

More than $292,000 was spent on lobbying by cell phone service providers and related companies. As cell phone use has increased, providers have built new towers to improve service. The bulk of the money was spent on lobbying to get permits for those towers, according to the commission.

Additionally, the Los Angeles City Council is poised to discuss guidelines for new cell phone towers on public rights of way.

The developers of Ahmanson Ranch and Playa Vista came in second and third, spending more than $125,000 each to advocate their large developments during the first quarter of the year.

Washington Mutual Bank and its subsidiary Ahmanson Land Co. have proposed building 3,050 homes in the Simi Hills north of Calabasas. Although the land is outside Los Angeles, the project has fueled concerns about San Fernando Valley traffic effects.

Battles over the Playa Vista development on 1,087 acres at the foot of the Westchester Bluffs near Marina del Ray have raged for nearly a quarter of a century.

Pacific Bell, which is working with the city Planning Department to electronically expand the number of telephone lines and expand the reach of its DSL lines, spent $70,000 on lobbying.

More than $51,000 was spent on lobbyists by the Anschutz Entertainment Group and its affiliates, which have proposed building a $450-million downtown football stadium. The group already has an agreement with the city to create a $1-billion sports and entertainment district next to Staples Center.

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