June 25, 2011
The California Legislature has strict deadlines for proposing bills, moving them out of committee and getting them to the other house. And there are easy ways to abuse or circumvent those rules. For example, a lawmaker whose bill went down to defeat early in the session can revive it simply by stripping language from a more successful piece of proposed legislation that is headed to a vote and inserting the language from the bill that didn't make it the first time around. This tactic often seems sneaky and underhanded.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 18, 2011 |
A court-appointed overseer in a massive housing fraud case is demanding that former city councilman-turned-political consultant Richard Alatorre explain nearly $1 million in payments he received from a developer accused of bilking Los Angeles and other entities of at least $134 million. Attorney David Pasternak, the receiver in the case, said he has found scant records explaining what Alatorre did for the steady stream of payments he received between 2002 and 2010. The politically connected firm at the heart of the scandal, Los Angeles-based Advanced Development and Investment, is under scrutiny from the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. attorney's office.
May 18, 2011 |
The restaurant industry is quietly — and successfully — fighting back against the enactment of so-called Happy Meal bans, which forbid restaurants like McDonald's to hand out toys with children's meals that are high in calories. Moving under the radar so stealthily that in some cases local politicians and anti-obesity activists missed it entirely, lobbyists in Florida and Arizona backed successful efforts to take away the power to enact such bans from cities and counties. In Nebraska, a proposed statewide Happy Meal ban died in February, even before its first legislative committee hearing.
May 12, 2011 |
Hollywood's chief lobbying arm and federal trade officials are laying the groundwork for negotiations with China that could substantially increase the number of American films allowed in the country -- a long-sought goal of the major studios. Representatives of the Motion Picture Assn. of America and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative have been working on crafting a compromise in a long-running trade dispute with China, which has had a rocky history with Hollywood but has become an increasingly vital market for the media conglomerates.
May 10, 2011 |
A bit of the old Jack Valenti pizazz is back at Hollywood's outpost in the nation's capital, thanks to a new silver-haired frontman. More than six years after the legendary lobbyist stepped down, the Motion Picture Assn. of America is reviving his tried-and-true methods of tapping entertainment industry glitz to help the major movie studios make their case to Washington's power brokers. The strategy was on display the night before the recent White House Correspondents Assn.
April 5, 2011 |
My first day of work at Microsoft, 15 years ago, I wore a DOJ baseball cap that a friend had given me when she heard I was going to work in Redmond. DOJ stood for Department of Justice, which is where my friend worked. I wore the cap into the office on my first day, intending this to be a little joke. The Clinton Justice Department had recently filed an antitrust suit against Microsoft, threatening huge fines and even a breakup of the company. But I learned a lesson: Nobody thought the hat was very funny.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 4, 2011 |
Trips to Spain and Argentina, choice Lakers tickets, gourmet meals and rounds of golf are among the $637,000 in gifts that elected state officials accepted last year, many from companies and groups that lobby in Sacramento. The gifts, disclosed in statements of economic interest released by the state Thursday, reflect how loose ethics rules are in California compared with some other states. Acceptance of many of the gifts common in California is strictly forbidden in New York and Arizona, for example.
March 2, 2011 |
In his previous foray into Hollywood, former U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd played himself in the 1993 political satire "Dave. " Now, he is cast in a far tougher role as head of the Motion Picture Assn. of America, the lobbying arm for Hollywood's movie and TV studios and frequent exponent of American popular culture. Hollywood has been without a permanent industry lobbyist for nearly a year since former Rep. and Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman stepped down after a troubled tenure.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 13, 2011 |
An administrator for the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission who doubled as a paid consultant to a producer of raves also hired his own City Hall lobbyist as he sought to keep the controversial events at the stadium, according to records and interviews. A firm owned by Todd DeStefano, then an events manager for the commission, retained the lobbyist to meet with City Council members and other officials after June's Electric Daisy Carnival rave, which was marred by numerous drug overdoses and the death of a teenage girl, city records show.
February 12, 2011 |
From a distance, Jay Hibbard has been watching the emotional, never-ending debate on Connecticut's ban on the Sunday sales of alcohol in supermarkets and package stores. As the eastern regional vice president for a national liquor manufacturers association in Washington, D.C., Hibbard came to Hartford this month for a key public hearing in an attempt to persuade legislators to lift the ban. Despite watching the issue closely, Hibbard would not make a prediction on whether 2011 will be the year the ban is lifted.