By the Numbers: $26,000
Until San Jose began sending out email reminders last year, some of City Hall’s biggest lobbyists routinely missed reporting deadlines. As a result, they racked up hefty fines. The San Jose Earthquakes ran up a $26,000 tab before paying it off last year. Hopkins & Carley, the law firm that employs former Mayor Chuck Reed, owed $22,000. Tom Saggau and Dustin DeRollo let charges stack up to $4,000 before City Clerk Toni Taber sent them a past-due notice to pay up. Frustrated with the missed deadlines, the city began accepting email filings and registration, which along with email reminders has dramatically improved compliance. This week, the City Council made another change to the local lobbyist ordinance. Instead of requiring quarterly reports listing the public officials each lobbyist met with and why, the city will require weekly updates. Though the reporting requirements are more frequent, they’re less strict in another sense. Taber says her office will monitor compliance through random spot checks. So despite the steady stream of information, it appears there’ll be less accountability for a group that often flouts the rules in the first place.
Rules without enforcement are worthless.
That said, a weekly reporting requirement seems a bit oppressive.